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When Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Who coined that phrase, anyway? Doesn’t the same go for Daddy, too? It does at our house. At the end of the day, my husband can set one foot in the door and I know immediately whether he is relaxed or stressed. He can do the same with me. In 23 years of marriage, we’ve learned how and when to give each other space.

It’s a beautiful thing when partners learn to read and respond to each other’s stress signals—even better when we learn to do that for ourselves. Now that science has so clearly shown the mind/body connection, we finally understand how the little things we do to manage stress can make a difference in overall health.

Here’s what’s been keeping me sane through one of the most stressful winters of my adult life:


Robert IndianaChange your routine. I do yoga almost every day at home, saving part of my practice for prayer. Last Saturday morning, I switched things up by attending a yoga class at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. From my spot in the gallery, here’s what was in plain view: a famous Georgia O’Keeffe and the brilliant entrance to a Robert Indiana exhibit. As a bonus, I made a new friend, Debbie. Early in the practice, she turned to me and whispered, “I love this!” She expressed my exact thought. Debbie’s Saturday included two funerals. The class had been her good start. Mine, too. It reminded me that private yoga should be complimented by corporate yoga. Moving a regular habit to a new scene with new people can be a really good for your brain. So much the better when it’s something like yoga, designed with relaxation in mind.

Audreys portrait

Here’s my work. I know what you’re thinking: “Don’t quit your day job.”

Get creative. When I was five-years-old, a prissy art teacher scolded me for coloring outside the lines. (I’ve been doing it every since!) Despite the discouragement, I’ve always wished that I could draw or paint. When I learned about a Wine and Canvas event that involved painting Audrey Hepburn, I immediately thought of one of my closest friends, another Hepburn fanatic. We’ve been cooped up all winter, so we signed up together, hoping to blow the cobwebs out of our brains. Midway through the event, I looked at Julie and caught a glimpse of why we came: she was totally engrossed in her work—and so was I. Don’t drink? Don’t worry. These events aren’t all about the alcohol like some are. Order a soft drink and get lost in something creative. It’s one of the the most liberating things you can do when you’re feeling stressed. Resist the urge to rate it or compare it to everyone else’s creative work. (Remember your yoga thoughts?)

Remind you of anyone...possibly?

Remind you of anyone…possibly?

Look forward. I refuse to think about the latest winter storm coming our way. From now until spring, I’m only thinking summer thoughts.

I’m taking golf lessons, so I’ll be ready to play when the season starts. My husband gave me 20 lessons as a Christmas present. (My first thought: Gee, am I that bad?)

I ordered a Warby Parker kit of sunglasses. It’s an affordable way to buy prescription or non-prescription glasses, including sunglasses. They let you order five styles and send them to you to try before you buy. I’m leaning toward the oversize Reilly, which contributes to the vintage look above. For fun, I styled this after a certain film star with the initials AH. Can you guess who it is?  Notice the flip flops? Read on…

I acquired a pair of flip flops. What is summer without flip flops? I am amazed at the selection at The Flip Flop Shop in Castleton Square Mall, where I discovered flip flops are more than they used to be. Two brands caught my attention: 1) Sanuk, offering super comfy styles, made with tee-shirt fabric and yoga mats. 2) OluKai, known for providing orthopedic support without compromising style. If you typically avoid flip flops because they don’t offer enough support, the OluKai line may cause you to rethink that. It’s one of the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. I must admit that I only walked around the store in the OluKai, but they were mighty tempting.

Silver flip flops

I found three possible alternatives, but which pair? I couldn’t decide, so I did what any reasonable woman would do when she can’t make a choice. (No, I didn’t buy all three!) I asked myself, “What would Audrey choose?” I’m not saying Audrey would wear flip flops, but if she did, I think she might like these. (One has to be so careful when making assumptions about an icon.)

Stressed out? Get yourself to a Flip Flop Shop! And enter my Flip Flop Shop sponsored giveaway!
Did you know that people who wear flip flops have lower levels of stress than those who don’t? At least that’s the word from Alexander Babbage, a consumer research firm

While you’re shopping, please support the Flip Flop Shop’s charitable campaign, Heart to Soul Creating a Stress Free America. Donations fund an American Heart Association initiative devoted to helping Americans reduce stress with healthy lifestyle choices. Since stress is closely linked to heart disease, combat your risk for heart disease in flip flops!

Meanwhile, I’ve got good news for readers who are flip flop fans. (I’ve always been a fan of alliteration!) Thanks to the Flip Flop Shop in Castleton Square Mall, I’m giving away TWO pair of flip flops! To enter my giveaway, leave your favorite stress reduction tip by March 14 as a comment to this post.

If you live in Indianapolis and you win, you’ll have the advantage of visiting the Castleton Square Flip Flop Shop and selecting your own. (Prepare to be confused by the options.) Winners outside the area can give me their size and request a certain color. I’ll select something on your behalf.

I dedicate this post to Stacy King, a friend of mine who died much too young on Sunday. We weren’t the closest of friends, so I don’t know enough to write a whole post about her, though she certainly deserves it. What I can say about her is this: she was all heart, as beautiful as a summer day, and she left no doubt about whom she loved and where she was headed. I loved her and I know that she loved me. If you’re reading this and you know Stacy, please leave a comment and help me remember her just the way she was. Mercy, weren’t we blessed to know her? If you’d like to make a lasting tribute to Stacy, here’s the cause she cared most about.

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.

*This post was sponsored in part by The Flip Flop Shops in Castleton Square Mall, Indianapolis, Indiana.