Shane and I both have pretty stressful jobs. He is in law enforcement and I am an IT manager. Not a day goes by that we don’t feel the overwhelming stress associated with our jobs. Do you hear the squeak of the world tiniest violin? Anyone want to give me some cheese for all this whine? Or can you relate? Face it. We ALL have stress. Whether it is our jobs, our kids, our significant’s. We all have to deal with it.
I think the technical age in which we are living adds to our stress. 200 years ago our ancestors worked hard from sun up to sun down and by evening they kicked back on the porch with a jug and a fiddle. They worked very hard and went to bed early. They had stress but it was different than todays. In today’s world, we go all day, work through lunch, and in the evening we have to rush to cart the kid to one activity or the next. That device in your hand, keeps you connected to your boss and co-workers 24/7. For example, I left work yesterday at noon for a doctor appointment. From the time I left work until after my appointment, I responded to 10 emails and answered 7 calls to troubleshoot issues for my job. Tonight a coworker called me with a problem at 7:30pm, and I let it go to voicemail. Just now, my laptop just notified me that another co-worker was logging into our server. I mean come on people! Your OFF, why are you working? Dude, go spend time with your wife and family already!
Face it: There is no escaping work these days! and the bottom line is we stay connected and therefore we feel as if we don’t get a break from the dreaded four letter word, “WORK“.
Returning from vacation, a worker feels refreshed and it is about 6 weeks before that same person really starts feeling the urge to throat punch someone.
It’s a Fact!
Yep! He is right
I conducted an experiment. I started paying attention to what my body and mental state were telling me. All is great when you first return from your lovely holiday, you are ready to help anyone with anything and all is wonderful in the world. Then about 6 to 8 weeks in you utter the words, “Imma kill somebody“.
Realistically we can’t take a vacation every six weeks. We ain’t Kardashian’s (I just threw up a little just typing the name) or any other insanely rich person. So how can we have a mini vacation without spending a ton?
Here are a few ways we get out of our rut and feel better.
- Camping – Camping is expensive at first. But once you own the supplies it only costs the park’s fee and food. You have to eat whether you are in the woods or not.
- Visit Native American Sites – 5 Native American Sites to Visit in Georiga (Thanks Explore Georgia for this list!
- Play Pooh Sticks – If you haven’t played Pooh Sticks you aren’t living! My girls and I used to play “Pooh Sticks” on a small bridge over a creek by their Nana’s house. Great times!
- Step 1: Find a park with a creek and a bridge.
- Step 2: Select sticks from the ground.
- Step 3: Stand on one side of bridge facing upstream
- Step 4: On count of 3 everyone drops (not throws) their sticks into the water
- Step 5: Rush to the other side and see who’s stick emerges first and is crowned the “winner”. This never gets old.
- Visit One of Georgia’s State Parks – They are awesome! Seriously!
- Go on a Mural Hunt – There are tons of murals in the city of Atlanta. Check out the BeltLine, Cabbagetown, and Krog Street for starters.
- Take a Train Ride – Hop on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway or the SAM Short Line for a wonderful afternoon. The trains go from point A to B and back again. Stopping at small towns for a bit of shopping in between.
Pick fruit – There is something very satisfying about picking your own blueberries, strawberries, peaches, or blackberries. All these can be done in Georgia, check your local area for farms.
- Connect with animals – Visit an animal rescue or rehabilitation center like Noah’s Ark, Dauset Trails, North Georgia Zoo, or The Wild Life Sanctuary. The animal’s personalities will raise your spirits and if you leave a donation you will feel very good about it.
Enjoy Silence – I have this great hammock swing in my backyard. On nice days, you can catch me outside relaxing with a good book.
Be Alone with Nature – There is a quiet trail near my kid’s schools that I like to hit by myself. It is kind of creepy being alone in the quiet woods and I must admit as I approach, I pull my earbuds out so I can be more aware of my surroundings (Michael Myers might be waiting for me in there, I need to be prepared to run screaming). As I walk through the small trail between the two schools, I hear the rustling of leaves, squirrels running from tree to tree and birds chirping. It pulls me in and centers me. Always be aware of your surroundings when exploring alone and have your cell phone on in case of an emergency.
Find a Hobby and Do it in a Park – Shane and our daughter Julia are artists. Recently we visited the Goat Farm in Atlanta where Julia sat and sketched the old mill’s buildings. Shane likes to take his painting supplies to the woods where he gains inspiration. Me? I do jot ideas for my blog while engulfed in nature and have started painting rocks with things that I see in the woods.
- Visit an Outdoor Museum – Try the a living history museum such as Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village, or Westville . You could also check out some outdoor art – by visiting Pasaquan, or the campus of the University of North Georgia’s outdoor-sculpture exhibit.
- Find a Weekend Festival. There is always something going down somewhere. Check my blog for ideas, I try to post once a week what is going down.
- Walk a Lonely Pup – The city of Augusta’s animal shelter has a dog walking program. Check out a pooch and hit the Augusta Canal trails for a morning or afternoon constitutional. Contact your local animal shelter to see if they allow people to take their pup’s for a walk. The dog will enjoy it. You will feel great and the shelter will thank you. A lot of shelters also allow people to come love on the kitty cats if that is more to your liking. These babies need love and while you can’t take
them all home, you can give them the affection they so desperately need no strings attached.
- Take a “Photo” Trip – Recently my oldest daughter, Emily, her friend Morgan, and I went on an afternoon photo trip, taking photos of abandoned churches in Shadydale, Monticello, and Jackson. Find a topic, hit the road for photo ops. Need ideas for your area? Ask me in the comments. Here are a few: Libraries, street art, birds, old iron gates, architecture, machinery, abandon buildings, exotic animals at a zoo, or flowers in a garden to name a few. Note: I did some research on locations before hitting the road.
- Find a Covered Bridge – There are 16 covered bridges in the State of Georgia. Make a list and start crossing them off. Use this map to locate them! NOTE: Callaway Garden bridge is not open to the public.
- Hike to a Waterfall. – Pick one, pack a lunch, grab some water and go! Use this link to Google for the closest waterfall to you.
- Start a blog about what you see and do! – That’s what I did! I feel better just typing this and sending it out on the interwebs! Thanks for letting me share, I no longer want to smack someone upside the head.
Keep the Lust for Wandering Y’all!
Fran & Shane