The “Stress Free Zone”

“Have fun not playing golf,” mocks my Bostonian son, cognizant that I prefer nature through the window. With my destination, a Maine resort, known for its 18-hole championship course, my vacation choice must have seemed bizarre.

What it does have, however, is a “Stress Free Zone,” at least that’s what it says as
you drive between the two signs mounted left and right on brick columns. Could I actually attain that level of peace? The possibility seemed remote since even everyday annoyances have a way of becoming volcanic. The noisy guy at the next table who won’t shut up during breakfast is one example, and I’m sure you know who I mean since doubtlessly you’ve met him too. Then maybe a total lack of stress is stressful in itself, I consider.

Still, I try. The tai-chi instructor explains the proper technique in breathing: first let the
diaphragm (belly) expand and then let the air flow up into your chest like a wave. Okay … wave, ocean, relaxation. And voilà–PEACE; at least, until the end of class, that is.

There are two kinds of vacations as I’m sure you’re aware: #1) the doing-stuff-till-you-drop type where you cram every moment with activity and #2) the do-nothing type. I prefer
the latter since the first leaves me with the need to take a second vacation upon returning home.

By “nothing” I don’t mean sitting on your ass all day, waiting for the sun to set
or watching your nails grow; rather letting the time and pace of your choices flow
with the wind, letting the yin and yang, like the Taoists recommend, balance
out into a soft “Om.” Sounds nice, but did I achieve it? Yes and no, in other
words, sort of. I managed to lower the noise in my head to a beelike hum, but
the damned all-you-can-eat buffet gave me a stomach ache. No, a week with the
goal to eliminate tension, whether physical or psychological, is not possible,
not for me anyway, but I’m always ready to settle. Second best is good enough and
with the hurricane predicted along the East Coast, I left a day early, proving “good
enough” would have to do. And if I learned anything for future reference from
the Stress Free Zone, it’s not to stuff myself with two desserts, no matter how
yummy, how tempting, with every meal. Did my pants shrink, or what?


About waywardweed

I am a consumer and parent of two sons, one with a mental illness and the other a third-year law student.
This entry was posted in Mental Illness, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The “Stress Free Zone”

  1. Nice post. I think that you’re wise to go with what’s good enough for you. Letting “good enough” be “good enough” is one of the biggest things we can do to reduce our own stress

    Lots of times, stress comes out of us setting impossibly high conditions for things we are to achieve or the way the world is around us, and then chosing to be stressed when that perfection doesn’t happen. We set ourselves up to fail. But “good enough” can help us let go of that and be happy and relaxed, no matter what is going on.

    That is, of course, easier some days than others (that guy at the next table IS very loud…) but, from a quality of life standpoint, still worth trying.

    I’m currently running a series of posts on 5 minute meditation on my blog, if you think that might be of use to you. Please feel free to stop by and look around

    Wishing you easier days to come


  2. Justine-Paula Robilliard says:

    Hi There…
    I am not sure if either would suit me as a vacation, as I cannot get away from the noise and the fighting that goes on in my brain, with the 10 000 thoughts racing, crashing!! I get confused, I cannot understand people, and then they get mad at me, as if it was my fault…Yes it was my fault for being born..I chose my brain… I make all my own is my fault… blame me, pick on me, abuse me.. I am just a human, and some humans are less than others….

    I hope you will be ok.. mental illness sucks.. and it sucks worse when the medical unprofessionals claim to know but when push comes to shove, they are clueless and wonder why the medications so not work.. MD’s =medical dummies…..I have no faith in anyone in the mental health area of medicine….

    • Justine, I used to have problems with the racing brain that wouldn’t slow down. I found that environmental recordings (recordings of a gentle rain or songbrids singing) played in the background of my home helped a lot with this.

      Don’t know if this would work for you (everyone has their own special needs), but figured it was worth suggesting. I hope it helps


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