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  • Karen Stoner, LMT

Find Your "Away"

Ok, I'll admit it: I love going to the grocery store. Yes, people are cringing at the thought of this chore. It can be frustrating to find the time, make the list, deal with the cart with the funky wheel that doesn't roll straight, and then groan when the checkout total comes up. However, I like it, and actually look forward to it. Why?

When I go to the grocery store, I am on my own time. I can walk through the aisles without anyone talking at me, asking me to do things for them, or telling me what I should be doing. I also look at grocery shopping as a mental challenge - I love looking through the sales and coupons to see if I can maximize my savings. It also lets me unleash some of my creativity and imagination in that I can explore exotic ingredients and wonder what I can make with these foods for my family. (Although, those exotic ingredients usually go unpurchased because I have a family of picky eaters, but hey, I can still imagine!) Plus, when I do purchase food to bring home, it makes me feel good that I am providing for the needs of my family. It gives me a place where I can get away from my home life that isn't work and give me some head space, even if it is only for an hour or so.

One thing experts across the board say when it comes to personal health and well-being is to find some time for "you". Everyone needs to find a place to get away from their lives every so often. Some people have the luxury of being able to take girls' weekends, mini vacations, or date nights. Perhaps it is setting aside time to exercise, meditate, or read a book that is their time "away" from life. Others don't have the luxury of time, girlfriends, or a family that lets them have a moment of peace. So everyone's version of what it takes to get away from the everyday stress and take time for themselves is different. Some people need dead silence, some take the opportunity to do something they have always wanted to do. Some are happy to just have nothing happening around them. It is important for our physical and mental health to get away from the constant stimulus and routine we are bombarded with every day and just recover for a bit.

My Preferred "Away", but I'll take what I can get!

So the takeaway from this is basically - find your "away", whatever it is, and embrace it. Even if your "away" isn't traditional, everyone needs the time to get some space and stimulate parts of themselves that they end up suppressing because they are just getting through the day-week-semester, etc. Even though my personal "away" can still have the potential to be stressful (rushing through the store with limited time, the checkout line is long and slow, or that darn cart with the funky wheel), it is still my time that I look forward to, and I usually feel better when I leave because I know that as soon as I get home, my phone will be ringing, my kids will likely be fighting with each other, and my husband will have a list of stuff he needs me to deal with before I've even hung up my keys. Determine what allows you to get some space and make sure you allow yourself to get "away" regularly.

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