Stress 911: Take a “Stress Escape”

If you feel like your head is going to explode from stress, chances are good that you are right. So the very best thing you can do, after seeing your doctor, is to get away somewhere, whether for an afternoon or a vacation. Taking a break from the stressors in our lives allows us to reset our emotional thermostat, catch our breath, rest, get some perspective, and start implementing some new strategies.

Oh, I can hear the excuses now – I’m too busy for that, I can’t get time off work, I don’t have anyone to watch my kids, I don’t have the money, etc., etc., etc. Listen – none of those things will matter a whit if you are incapacitated by stress. This is a serious threat to your health, both physical and mental! So take it seriously! I know you are probably a successful, Type-A personality, so you know how to get things done. Make this Stress Escape a priority project, and get it done ASAP!

Minimum time required – 4 hours. Better – overnight or a weekend. Best – a week or two of vacation. Cost – zero dollars to thousands – there are so many options!

My personal favourite stress escape is a day at the spa. Im not talking about the millions of salons and nail places that now call themselves day spas. I’m talking about the real deal with what some call “humid areas,” such as pool, sauna, jacuzzis, chaise loungers. There is something magical that happens at spas, and it has nothing to do with the treatments. It is such a calming atmosphere, with soothing music, lighting, and ambiance. It is like a sanctuary where stress cannot find you, and cannot live in your body.

When you first arrive and try to relax, you will find that your mind cannot help but focus on the many and various causes of your stress – how will they manage at the office, at home, are the kids being picked up on time, etc., etc. You must consciously empty your mind, and focus on – wait for it – nothing. No agendas, no cell phones allowed, no shoulds or musts, just you with nothing but time to BE. Don’t you feel calmer already, just imagining it? A day at the spa does not have to be expensive – today I spent 6 hours at a 5 star spa for the princely sum of $59 plus tax and tip, and that included a pedicure, full access to all spa amenities, such as pools, steam room, jacuzzi, special showers, snacks, fitness programs and facilities, valet parking, and hours and hours of blissful quiet! Che k out your local spas for mid-week specials or just spa access for a day.

Other inexpensive options for stress escapes include staying with a friend (or better yet, borrowing their empty vacation home for a few days), going camping or hiking, making your own spa at home (bubble bath, candles, calm music, possibly wine), using a timeshare or cheap vacation sell-off, or even hiding for a few hours in a public library or art gallery.

More expensive options include a full-blown vacation for a week or two away, if you can swing it. But here’s the kicker – BY YOURSELF! It will not be a stress escape if you bring your stressors with you, no matter how much you love them. Listen up – if you want to be around to watch your kids grow up, or be there for an ailing family member, you must put on your oxygen mask right now and take care of yourself! You are being a great example to others that we need to take care of ourselves before we take care of others. Repeat after me – my needs are as important as their needs!

Take a minute right now to plan your stress escape – whether a few hours or a few weeks, but please do it ASAP! Your health, and possibly your life, depends on it!

I can’t wait to hear all the great ideas for stress escapes! Please share your planned escape and check back to let us know how it went! Most creative entry by September 30, 2012 (as judged solely by me) will win a spa music CD!


  1. This is just one of MANY things I miss about linvig on the East coast. The great Buckeye state where I live doesn’t have spa week! :( Maybe if I’m in the DMV, I can go w/ you! I need a hot stone massage like NOW! lol

  2. Great topic Catherine. When I’m in the middle of a hectic day and can’t take a break, I’ve developed a five minute ritual that FEELS like a mini vacation. I shut the door, and set the timer for 5 minutes. Breathing deeply I let my eyes fall upon different things in the room and note what it is about that item that I appreciate. A photo of a family vacation – I let myself feel that experience as if I were there again, and appreciate the remembrance the picture offers. The color of my office walls – I appreciate myself for going with that deep green that makes me feel so good. The clouds out my window – miraculous. How blessed are we to see God’s artwork everyday. In a short five minutes of full presence and appreciation (and the deep breaths that oxygenate my physical body) and I’m feeling revived and revved up for what’s next.,

  3. Thank you, Marilyn, great tip! I’m going to try that!

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