Tuesday, August 11, 2009

DeStress Your Life - Part 4

Allow time to get where you are going.

Tell me, how do you feel when you are headed to an appointment and all of a sudden you are stuck in traffic and going nowhere.....just stopped? Think of all the horns honking, the hand gestures. Think of the knot in your stomach.

I have numerous friends who always arrive late and exasperated by the traffic/weather/stuff in the road/car situation (fill in the blank) that held them up, time and time and time again. They are so tense after this desperate race against the clock that I think they will surely pop. Why?

Of course, I also have a friend for whom time is merely an aspirational goal, who always arrives late and who does so casually and without stress. And for those who love her, we are the ones who plan extra time so we don't get stressed waiting for her. When I meet her, I usually give her a time one hour before we are supposed to be there, and I bring a book to read while I wait.

Back to my de-stress tip 4.

My father, a career military man, used to say, "plan for a flat tire," in other words, allow your self enough travel time that you could change your tire, or call AAA to do so, and still arrive on time.

Living in SW Florida, I plan for traffic and weather. It takes me one hour, door to door, to get from my home to the synagogue. If I am going to a class or to conduct the service, where I need to be there from the beginning, I allow myself at least two hours. Rarely does it take that long, but my drive is leisurely and without stress.

Now you might ask me, since I am so concerned about not frittering away time, aren't I wasting the extra hour, since rarely do I need my back up time? I always travel with books, my journal, CD's, a camera -- various ways to occupy the time. I can read/write/study on either end of the trip. Why not do it upon my arrival so that I arrive relaxed and without stress.

And by carrying my "survival kit" of stuff to entertain myself, I am also okay during a traffic jam. If traffic is stopped and I am stuck, I can either pop in a CD of a book on disc, or a lecture, or my favorite music if we are slowly rolling along. Or if in fact we are actually stuck at a stop, I can read or return my cellphone calls.

And if, by some chance, the standstill is so severe that I will in fact be late, then I revert to the Serenity Prayer --- is there anything I can do about it? No. The world will still revolve and the sun will still rise and set, and I don't feel guilty because having left giving myself at least an hour of extra time, I feel that I have done my part in assessing a reasonable travel time.

So suggestion 4 is to travel with a survival kit of things to entertain yourself upon arrival at your destination: things you would have done during that interval prior to leaving if you had not planned to leave early; then allow plenty of time for the unforeseen, which, in traffic, are actually foreseen incidents. Stress from these deadlines is now removed.

breathe in the glorious air and savor the moments.

1 comment:

kayak woman said...

This is a great series! We discovered a few years ago that our landline ringer had been turned off for a month. We have kept it to catch spam and "problem" relatives and give our cell phone numbers out selectively. I don't pay a whole lot of attention to news either, although that wasn't really a conscious decision.