I travel around the country, giving talks on health and wellness, emphasizing those five non-negotiables: sleep, stress, diet, mindset, and movement. Stress is an ongoing concern for all of us, but it’s one we can manage. 

Earlier today, a client came in for a session. As we exchanged hello’s, I asked about her morning. She told me about an experience she had that was very stressful and how she beautifully transformed this moment into an act of self-care. With her permission, I’m sharing her story:

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“I’ve been arguing with my insurance company for over a month about covering a claim and have been trying to get reimbursed on this bill for weeks to no avail. 

“Giving up is not an option,” I explained, somewhat firmly, to the chipper young insurance rep on the other end of the phone. “‘I intend to file a complaint.”

“I could feel my temper rising. I was so annoyed and needed a distraction, so I went downstairs and folded some laundry. When things get to me, it helps to walk away from the stressful situation. Not very exciting, but it was the least-stressful activity I could think of just then. A friend mentioned she washes dishes when she needs to calm down, so I thought ‘Why not get the laundry done?’


“I was still a bit on-edge when I finished the laundry, so I went into the garden and picked some chard for dinner. I just stood there for a moment or two, inhaling the scent of basil bushes and tomato plants, bursting with life.  Being outside with my bare feet, “grounding” on the grassy strip between two raised beds. There, I could forgive and let go.

I could feel my breathing slow as the tension in my jaw released. I noted the sunflowers we’d planted “just for fun.” They were just beginning to form, tiny, delicate tendrils curving over. 

When I came back inside, I had two messages on my cell phone, both from the insurance company. Apparently my practitioner had written my name wrong and decided to overlook the error and process my claim. 

I just shrugged, went into the kitchen and made a salad, clipping some dill and broccoli greens from the window box by the sink. I added some basil, because it smells wonderful.”

“Anyway, Amanda, that was my morning. I’ve decided gardening is my new therapy.”

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I truly love this story because it is a perfect example of how we all can find a positive response to our stressors. Sometimes, stress gets to us, but when we remember those five “non-negotiables,” and use them, stress doesn’t have to stay there. We can send it on its way. When it's no longer a struggle, life becomes a joy.