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Feeling Overwhelmed? Take A “Strum Break”

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I woke up today with a TO-DO list that was a mile long.

Ok… maybe not a MILE long, but there was a sizable list that was waiting for me beside my computer. My email inbox had A LOT of new unread messages that all required a response. I had a few new voicemail messages that needed immediate attention. It’s a busy week here in NYC. And it’s a busy time of year.

Lots of REALLY COOL new projects int he works. Lots of REALLY COOL potential projects in the wings.

And that’s not even counting the “normal, everyday life stuff” that NEEDS to be done, as well.

Let’s face it: Being busy can be tough!

But I can’t complain.

There was a time in my life when I was BORED. I mean REALLY BORED. And when I’m bored, I’m exhausted. It felt like I was waiting around for the next thing to come along… I looked for high and low for something that could make me feel like I was alive. Some kind of creative outlet that was healthy. Something that would replenishmy energy reserves instead instead of depleting them.

And then the ʻukulele and Hawaiian music came into my world and everything changed–for the better!

So instead of complaining about how I felt overwhelmed, I took a “Strum Break.”

You know how people take “coffee breaks?” Well, it’s pretty much the same thing…

I literally stopped what I was doing and picked up my ‘ukulele and strummed a song. Still feeling a bit overwhelmed, I decided to strum and sing another.

And you know what? It helped!

There’s something transformative in those four little strings.

I’m not an ʻukulele virtuoso. My “picking skills” leave a lot to be desired. I play simple songs. I strum simple chords. But I know there’s something in the sound that brings me back “home.” It makes me feel centered. I breathe more deeply.

And best of all, I smile.

Yup. Life’s pretty great at the moment. I’ve been LOGGING THE JOY a lot. But even the “good stuff” can be overwhelming. And when it all seems to be “too much,” I stop and strum. It’s a basic need in my world. Part of my daily routine–like brushing my teeth.

Strumming is good medicine.

It edifies my soul. I’m living proof of how it can turn a life upside down–and make it better! And it makes me laugh. (Ask your doctor about the healthy benefits of a good laugh and a smile!)

So I strum. (**NOTE: Sometimes I need to strum A LOT!)

Now, back to my TO-DO list...

Do you guys ever take a “strum break?” How do YOU deal with stress?

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