De-Stressing on the Mesa

I haven’t felt much like running lately. I’m making excuses: It’s too hot, I have too much going on, I don’t wanna.

They are all true, it is too damn hot, I have a ton of balls I’m juggling and I really don’t want to run right now. But, I know running is exactly what I should be doing. If I can get over the heat, it will help me clear my head, boost my endorphins and keep me motivated.

And, lately, motivation is in short supply around here:

Today, I told Huckleberry to knock off the couch potato act for a few hours so we could go for a hike. Now let me define “hike” for you: hiking is walking around in the greater out of doors area, usually on a trail, with a refreshing green tea in hand.

Some of my friends view hiking a little differently. For example, hiking with JW is like racing up the Rocky Mountains during the Gold Rush, you know when people were in a rush. There is no time for iced tea.

Since it was just me today, I rallied the beagle, grabbed my iced green tea and drove over to Spruce Mountain. Spruce Mountain isn’t a real mountain, it is a mesa, but it makes for a nice day hike, especially for hikers like me.

When we got up the trail a little ways, I stopped to admire the view while the beagle wheezed and coughed and showed general signs of out-of-shapeness.

He was a good sport though and we kept going.

Like running, hiking and walking give me a good chance to clear my head, but also slow down and appreciate things. I noticed little things that I wouldn’t have seen if I was just rushing by, like these berries:

Plus, there is a significant smaller chance of tripping over roots.

Taking my time today gave me some time to make peace with a few of my current stresses that have been bouncing around in my head:

1. My Current State of Ironic Homelessness – The irony comes in the fact that I actually have 2 homes right now. I signed my lease for a Denver condo as of August 1st, and I’m still bunking at my Mom’s house. I’m in a sort of limbo since I am waiting for the Coast Guard to release and deliver my household goods to my new residence. I’ve been in regular contact with the totally unhelpful office that I feel is holding all of my earthly possessions hostage, and every time I hang up the phone after talking to them, I want to dissolve into a puddle of self-pity. Today, I shifted my focus. I have people and they are going to help me. My mom is going to help me move all of my clothes up to Denver this weekend, AS my future roommate is going to lend me some dishes and kitchen necessities, and B has an air mattress she’ll lend me. So, starting Friday, I’ll be “roughing it” in a swanky condo in capitol hill. I’ve never been much of a camper, but there is a first time for everything.

2. My Current State of Joblessness – Ever hear the phrase, “You’re just way overqualified for that job?” It is kinda like hearing, “You deserve so much better than that douchebag who dumped you.” While it is usually said with love, it does little to ease the pangs of rejection. Working at a coffee shop has been a dream job of mine since I was 14.  Now, with my B.S. in Marine Environmental Sciences, 5 years of leadership experience in the Coast Guard and a national level Public Relations award under my belt, I can’t get a job frothing skim milk for people’s skinny lattes. Today, I worked on letting that dream go and focusing my efforts on other part time jobs to help me get through school. AS phoned in a favor on a job opening with her company and I have an interview Friday.

3. My Current State of Carb-less-ness – Mom and I are doing South Beach Diet together. We’re just completed day 9 of the first 14 days without carbohydrates. We get to eat them again starting Monday. The first few days were rough. I tell you, carb withdrawals are serious business, not to be combined with lack of sleep and aforementioned stresses 1 and 2. Things are much better now, I don’t crave sweets and breads anymore, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to strangle my skinny little sister with her own Lo mein noodles when she orders a midnight snack and eats it in front of us.

Of course, I took my time to pout about the unfairness of stars alignment in the universe:

Then, I took a deep breath of the clean, crisp light Colorado air and I let all my stress dissolve into it.

I usually don’t think I control the cosmos, but as soon as I had actually expelled all of my negativity into the atmosphere, I heard a loud thunder clap. The dark skies were getting closer, it was time to turn back to the parking lot.

The storm came at the perfect time, actually. I’d somehow gotten lost on the “loop” part of the trail and was feeling a little anxious. I was glad Mother Nature gave me the excuse to bail out early, rather than trying to force a lost trail. Don’t ask me how it is possible to get lost when going in a circle. It just is.

How do you deal with the stress in your life?


7 responses to “De-Stressing on the Mesa

  1. when i run i am dealing with it well… but usually when i am stressed running is the first thing to drop. then, in my angsty, sleepless, sugar craving, caffeine-bleared stupor, i procrastinate, take looooooooong showers, and read novels. if it’s a boy problem, i change my hair. most famous? chopping about 17 inches of hair immediately following a broken engagement. ugh. your hike is sounding better and better.

  2. Nothing like getting outside to take some stress off. I love taking hikes with my dog…no racing up mountains for me either! We meander through the wooded hills of our local state forest..I oftentimes will bring a backpack with some water and my journal so that midway through we’ll stop by the water somewhere along the river that runs through the forest and I’ll write down some thoughts. Definitely an effective way of gaining some fresh perspective and letting one’s heart rest.

  3. Unfortunately stress in my life is met with a slice of cake and a scoop of icecream… must do better than that. I know, I’ll read an Erin Blog and while laughing hysterically or smiling profusely, I’ll let all that stress just poof into the air. Love your writing Ms. Dixon… please keep it up. Hugs, Patti

  4. I handle stress through exercise and prayer. It’s a perfect combination! Don’t think I could do the no-carb thing, though. There wouldn’t be enough exercise and prayer in the day to keep me from stressing out because I can’t have my toast! Blessings and best of luck in your new place!

  5. Hi Maureen:
    Understand your not wanting to exercise. I get it. It can be so easy to roll over and go back to sleep when my alarm rings in the morning. Fir the past two weeks I’ve been getting up at 430 AM to walk w/a friend and we both motivate each other. Also doing Yoga to keep my back from seizing up on me. There were times not long ago when I could hardly walk because I was in so much pain.

    Now that I’m doing yoga it has REALLY helped. No longer have back pain and now that I’m walking three days a week I’m doing better.

    Good to see you here, Maureen!


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