Minding your P’s and Q’s

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Dear Daughter,

It has been such a long time since I sent you a letter – please forgive me, I have been very busy. I hope that the last few months have been good to you and you were able to get away for a vacation.

I really wish that your job, as great as it is, did not become so hectic and cause it to be difficult for you to juggle family, career, and personal needs. But, remember that even if things are not exactly as you would like, don’t beat up on yourself and get stressed out.

Although a little stress can help us work and play harder, too much stress is really bad. You know, the stress response is a very normal response to the challenges we face everyday, it is our body’s way of helping us either fight the dangers that we encounter or run away from them. It results from our body’s ability to produce stress hormones, like adrenaline, and makes us able to respond to whatever ‘danger or stressor’ we see around us. However, if we continue to have ‘stressors’, after the ‘danger’ is passed, we will be unable to lower our stress hormone levels, and become really ‘stressed out’

Our brains might then tell us to ‘go faster’ while our bodies might say ‘I can’t’. We may even become like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland who said “the hurrier I go, the behinder I get”.

When we tie ourselves in knots and run around like the “the Mad Hatter”, we become trapped in “Mad Hatterville”.

Our response to one of the biggest stressors in today’s lifestyle – “not enough time” is to panic at the thought of all that we have to do, and run around in circles saying, “I’m late, I’m late, for a most important date”. Panic restricts our ability to think clearly.

You know, if we mind our P’s and Q, we won’t end up in “Mad Hatterville”, so ……..

• PAUSE – take a deep breath and reflect on what has to be done. We must organize our minds first before we organize our day. We must think logically and calmly and mentally prepare ourself for the next step.
• PRIORITIZE -think about how we will get it done. We can do things in sequence or in group, grouping can save us so much time. We can make lists – mentally or physically that will help us to create a PLAN.
• PLANNING – this is key because it gives us PERSPECTIVE and prevents panic.
• POSITIVE THINKING – is a helpful way to energise ourselves. Negative thoughts are downers that feeds panic and induces mental paralysis. We unleash our creative juices when we focus on the solutions and not on problems.
• QUESTION – The real question me must ask is. ….. do I really have to do that now, or can I do it later?

In November 2011, the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation made the following comment.

“The challenge of finding time is a reality for most working Canadians, or those with competing obligations,” says Dr. Abramson. “But tackling the time dilemma is absolutely critical. The disturbing statistics tell the tale: One in three Canadian deaths is from heart disease and stroke, and it is the number one killer of women. We must make the effort to find time now to do the things that will give us the greatest health benefits.”

There are two other very inter-related P’s to we must also keep in mind as well. Physical activity is an essential component of our Personal care, remember we need to take care of ourselves first. If we don’t take care of ourselves first, we won’t be able to take care of others and do all the things we want to do.

So my dear, remember to mind your P’s and Q, and as always, take care of yourself.

G’ma Trica

Pat Wright, B.Sc., M.Ed. is an educator, community activist and diversity trainer with a keen interest in people, places and things. Pat has been the Toastmasters Area Governor and was recognized in the first "Who’s Who in Black Canada – 2002 edition”.

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