How to release yourself from stress by Loren Cowley

How to release yourself from stressIn this issue I am talking about releasing ourselves from our stresses and our own expectations. I am not saying don’t aim for the moon but allow yourself to land on the stars, too. Recent research from the Office for National Statistics reveals that more than a quarter of us are dissatisfied with our work/life balance, finding some of us only relax for a mere 36 minutes per day! As the sweet balmy breezes of summer slip into our morning bedrooms beckoning us to the shores of La Grande Motte or riverbeds of Collias let’s work on enjoying life! Included in here is Rebecca’s recent fan mail. She’s seeking some helpful advice with stressful life roles and I’ve shared two ideal places where one can reconnect to what’s important — time.

 

"Hello Skippy, I am a regular reader of Languedoc & Provence Sun. The magazine and your articles have been an absolute joy to read especially throughout our relocation to Uzès since January. I felt similar links between our lives and felt a need to write to you for a little guidance. My English family and I are finding the location wonderful, language is progressing petit à petit and my two little girls are in heaven! However, personally, I am struggling with the various roles I feel I must uphold. I feel like I am a multitude of people bundled together trying to make this all work for my family. I am a mother, wife, entrepreneur, community speaker and then there’s me, Rebecca. I’m worried I have bitten off more than I can chew — did you ever feel like this? I was hoping you might shed some light on how you managed all these expectations and actually made it work in another country? Feeling overwhelmed. Seeking calmness. Thank you.

Rebecca. P"
Uzès, 30700

 

Firstly congratulations on the move! Jacques and I often visit Uzès for the incredible Uzès market at weekends. If you haven’t been it’s a truly typical provençal market.

 

Today, we live in an age of multi- tasking, multi-careers, multi-roles and multi-lives; all these multiples added onto our names like the various applications running on our phones. This new age lifestyle is without question causing a peak in stress and anxiety within our personal lives. For me and many expats, we do feel a certain pressure to make it all work and be proud of our new lifestyle abroad. Did I ever feel like you? Absolutely! We all experience that ironic blend of excitement and fear "what am I doing here?" constantly running through our veins.

 

My personal experience taught me that only I can release myself from these ‘expectations’, as neither Jacques nor your husband, I imagine, is forcing you to do it all. Sometimes we forget to lean on those around us for support. Rather than worrying about what you should/must/have to do or be, focus your mind on the Present — after all this is all we have the power to influence. The past is concrete, we cannot change what has happened and the future is unknown to all. This leaves the Present — where you are right now, today, this very moment. Realise you are not defined by roles/labels, you are defined by time. How one spends their time on this earth defines the life you live and your happiness within it. One might say, "I simply don’t have time" and this is false. What is more important than time itself?

 

Time is but a choice. You either choose to enjoy it or to waste it, it’s that simple.
Here are some magical places I recently visited where one can truly relish time, be lost in it, forget our worries and appreciate the happiness evoked within us. Last week, Jacques surprised me with a wonderful little road trip. One place was at the centre of the earth and the other at the very top.

 

La Grotte des Demoiselles was the first, an absolutely mesmerising and humbling experience. It is a large cave located in the Hérault valley of southern France, near Ganges, about 60 km west of Nîmes. The kids’ jaws will be open the entire time (matching the rest of us!) in absolute awe. There’s a certain point where you travel down into the very heart of the cave. I highly recommend you stop... and just look up. The feeling is overwhelming gratitude.

 

Les Baux-de-Provence is a French commune in the Bouches-du- Rhône department, a region most famous for its stunning lavender fields and olive groves framed by the magnificent château crowning the top of the rocky mountain. Walking up to the castle you pass through the village, abundant with provençal delights. Inside the castle, the replicas and shows captivate your eyes along with the amazing 360° view. On this day we had incredibly strong winds, so I decided to re-enact the scene from "Titanic" at the lookout. Arms out wide, head tilted back, letting the wind knock all worries out of me. I felt liberation and empowerment.

 

If you feel overwhelmed by expectations, stop, breathe, rethink. No one but you enforces them and only you have the power to release them. A great quote by one of my favourite authors, Deepak Chopra is "The way you think, the way you behave, the way you eat, can influence your life by 30 to 50 years."

 

If you have any topics/queries on life & love, please feel free to write to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. title "Skippy Mail". I’ll do my best to respond promptly and perhaps you might even feature in our next edition!

 

Bon courage everyone and enjoy the summer!