Does anyone remember the old bath oil bead commercial with a lady in a bathtub and the jingle that said, “Take me away!”? It boasted that taking a soothing soak in their product would relieve the stresses of everyday life. Back then I lived in an older home with an authentic cast iron claw-foot tub. I went through boxes of those bath oil beads! It really relieved stress from my busy day and relaxed my achy muscles.
Not so many people have a big tub anymore to take a lavish bath. They barely have time for a quick shower. Even with all the advances in technology we have available to us, I think people are busier and more stressed now than they have ever been.
So, what do you do when you need to be taken away from the stresses of daily life? I pondered that question after seeing this post on social media the other day. It asked the question; Who wants to shut off their phone, drive to the beach, forget everything, and just listen to the waves crashing? I, like millions of other people, would love to do just that. In fact, it would be at the top of my list of the best ways to relieve stress.
When I lived near the ocean, a walk on the beach was my favorite thing to do. The moment my feet hit the sand, life’s stresses seemed to melt away. The calling of the water birds drew me far away from the world. If I could live at the beach, I would. But life sent me to Tennessee, where the ocean is only a fond memory. So, what do I do now? I can recall fond memories of the ocean. Our minds are beautiful things. All we have to do is close our eyes, be quiet in the moment, and we can plant ourselves anywhere we want to be.
That’s one way I can take myself away from the daily grind. There are many others. Talking on the phone to one of my grown daughters is another. Paying more attention to what is going on in their lives instead of my own, even if it is only for the length of a phone call.
I’d have to say my most favorite thing to do since moving to Tennessee is to simply take a long drive in the country. I live in a very rural area made up of many small towns and farming communities. Any direction I go, I am driving with countryside all around me. Back roads are our only roads, and I for one am very appreciative. Driving to my heart’s content, enjoying the sunshine and nature at its finest. If I pick the right time of day, there is usually zero traffic. I adore it!
I wouldn’t be truthful if I said I didn’t miss that big ole claw-foot bathtub. We just have to make the best of what we’ve got. Maybe someday I will live near the beach again, or by a stream in the mountains, and maybe I’ll have a big ole tub in which to soak. But until then, I will continue “getting away” in whatever way seems to help. I hope you do too.
From My Front Porch by JoAnn
Drive it Off
When we first moved to our little town in West TN, I was 9 months pregnant with our youngest daughter Chelsea. A lot was being thrown at me that I had to adjust to quickly. I had always been a very nervous driver. Even though I was now in a much smaller town, the challenge was big for me. Having only driven in a large city before, I now needed to learn to take long country drives to just about anywhere I needed to go. Winding back roads, curving into what felt like an endless maze with no direction. The thought of driving the 19 miles to the “local” Wal-Mart, brought with it much anxiety. My new baby girl would soon solve my problem.
Chelsea did not like taking naps! But when I placed her in her car seat, and started my engine, she would sleep for as long as I drove. So, I decided to put nap time to good use. I made a daily schedule of going for a drive 1 1/2 to 2 hours before I had to pick up my two older daughters from school. Chelsea would have a healthy nap, and I would learn my way around the country roads of West TN.
Not only did I learn my way around, these drives became as therapeutic for me as they were for my baby. I was driving in the middle of the day, on long stretches of rural scenery, and rarely passed a fellow driver. I began to use this quiet time to pray, meditate, and to think over problems that needed to be solved. I felt the stress of being a young mother & wife, alone in a new and very different environment, melt away. I began gaining confidence in my ability to drive and pretty soon, the kids and I were making weekly trips to that “local” Wal-Mart. What a joy that was for all four of us. It really was! These experiences came in very handy as my three daughters grew older and had more and more activities to attend. I became the All-American Mom’s Taxi Service.
However, I got very use to seeing my sweet Chelsea in the rear-view mirror as I drove. It gave me comfort. But the day came when she was out of that car seat and sitting beside me in the front passenger. I still miss her little face when I drive those curvy scenic roads. Alone now with no one in the rear-view mirror but the road behind me. I still drive for therapy, it melts away stress, and it’s always a sweet remembrance of how it first began. began.