Stress Tip: Give up the Battle and Win the War!

Spring comes late to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where I live. We had snow twice this month, and it is MAY! But now that the snow has thankfully retreated (and we pray it will stay gone for a few months), the first thing to pop up is dandelions. The war of the weeds is on! They are the first reminder that in addition to our regular work, we now have to maintain the lawn, garden, deck, exterior of the house, etc. For my plant-loving sisters, this is good news! They can’t wait to start planting and fussing over their gorgeous gardens. They find it stress-REDUCING to putter in the garden. Unfortunately I missed the gardening gene – my idea of enjoying the great outdoors is a garden of no-maintenance perennials, a great book and a glass of wine in my hand! BLISS!

I used to stress that my garden wasn’t perfect, or that it wouldn’t measure up to my sisters’ or my neighbours’ perfect gardens. Now I’ve come to realize that instead of piling more stress on MYSELF (yes, it was me, not them piling on those expectations), I can enjoy the outdoors in my own way. I can hire a gardener, painter and lawn service to handle the maintenance, while I kick back and enjoy the sights and sounds of a well-maintained outdoor space without guilt or a sore back. Or maybe I should invest in plastic flowers for my planters? After all, with only 12 frost-free days a year, why do I spend hundreds of dollars on flowers every year? The options are MINE! I can enjoy a hike in Kananaskis Provincial Park instead of spending every minute trying to keep up with the Joneses (or Gellately’s). I can truly appreciate the beauty of my sisters’ gardens without comparing myself or my garden to them and theirs.

Speaking of spring maintenance, after a loooong winter of hibernation (aka laying around in thermal clothes, watching tv, eating popcorn, barely exercising, going on several all-inclusive tropical vacations) my spring clothes look like over-stuffed sausage casings! So now I am putting still more stress on myself to exercise, eat right and get slim IMMEDIATELY! Bikini boot camps, drill sergeant personal trainers and diet regimens that rival famines are screaming for attention. However, the all-or-nothing health battles that I have been raging against myself are so tiring and debilitating to my self-esteem. What would it take to just relax and practice some self-care such as gentle exercise and healthy eating? A little self-love will go a long way toward stopping the battle yet winning the weight-loss war.

Choose your battles, or the stress of fighting every battle with no rest will do you in. Enjoy the warm weather and relax outside! I choose my favourite place on earth – my deck – to unwind. How about you – how do you deal with the pressure of summer maintenance? I’d love to hear your story!


  1. LOL. I’m laughing WITH you, not AT you. Promise. I have mixed feinelgs about gardening. I like it, but I’m sort of terrible at it. Kind of like photography. Although I’m actually OK at container gardening my pots are pretty nice. Lots of trial and error over the years, but I finally have the back deck to show for it. But anything I try to put in the ground either dies or becomes massively overgrown. There’s just no happy medium. Mainly, I just watch HGTV and wonder when I’ll win the lottery so I can pay someone else come in and give me an outdoor makeover.

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