friday i'm in love - alternative stress management

Hello Beautiful,

I hope that every week I can fall a little bit more in love with the world.


This mysterious dance we do on the earth, in human skin, it's like a love affair.

Deluded, yet exquisitely, perfectly real. Gorgeous, all encompassing, so beautiful. Perfect, ecstatic, unbelievably unfair and painful.

Sacred, mundane.
Prepare for transfiguration, miracles, euphoria, ecstasy, boredom, and dirty dishes. Then more ecstasy. Don't forget the mystery.

Love. I don't reserve it only for my most intimate beloveds: child, partner, buddha, pug, self, island. I bestow it widely, on many things and people and experiences - I love so much. Don't you?

SO Fridays on The Artful Life are devoted to being in love. And talking about it. This feature is all about whatever I fell in love with this week, on the interwebs or otherwise. And whatever I think you might fall in love with too. Little loves and big loves. So here we go:

This week, I'm in love with a few special alternative stress management tools.  And by "alternative," I mean, an alternative to a glass or three of excellent central coast cabernet.

Because this is what I'm personally working on for my month of moderation.

Now don't get me wrong - I'm not powerless, and my life is perfectly manageable, thank you. But I confess, over the last year or so (did I mention what a year 2011 was?) I'd become a little too comfortable reaching for the red as my first line of defense against a stressful day.

I don't intend to give up my cabernet. I just want it to resume its proper place in my life; as an occasional pleasure, and enhancement to celebration, an accent to a great meal, a special treat shared with friends. In order to help this adjustment along, I've given up the stuff entirely for the month of January. What a great chance to encourage a healthy body, and find new (or renew tried and true) ways of managing stress!

I've had some work to do re-adjusting my habits. I needed to retrieve my somewhat dusty toolbox of stress relief stuff, and get busy. I've even added some new tools to that toolbox. And right about now, I am feeling SO good... and I really am in love with these beautiful alternatives:

hot baths
This gorgeous print by artist joojoo is available here on Etsy! I'm getting one for sure.

the elliptical trainer
I know, I know. The very words 'elliptical trainer' used to fill me with a kind of nauseous dread. But that was before. Now, this is my new best friend. In case you didn't know, cardio is an awesome mood elevator.

You've heard me say it before, and you'll here me say it again. Simple mindfulness meditation is really, really powerful.

for a spring saturday
It's retail therapy without the bills. I know you have probably been on here for months - years! But I just tried it for the first time and it's so fun! Above is my first set.

Ok, now you are prepared to go forth and have an awesomely de-stressful weekend. Happy Friday, and go have a glass of cabernet for me!

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