Having just recently stepped over the threshold into a new year, I started thinking of all the possibilities a new year can bring and I can’t help but get a little excited.  A lot of people make resolutions and try to better themselves in a myriad of ways—losing weight, quit smoking, try something new, visiting a new place, going back to school—the list goes on and on.  One thing always on my list is to learn something new, read as many books as I can get my hands on and try to be as stress-free as possible.
     I always feel the need to “clear the clutter” before moving forward with any new plans, so for me that means making a list.  Starting with the small items first I check them off one by one so that all old business has been taken care of and I can officially “close the door” on last year.  Next, I like to start a list of items that need to be done for this year and put a “D2BA” or date to be accomplished beside it.  Now, one thing I know to be true is Murphy ’s Law–anything that can happen will happen–and all the planning and good intentions in the world can go out the window when life decides to throw you a curve ball.  I have learned to be flexible, try to be patient, say a prayer, take a deep breath and just keep moving forward.  It really is all we can do after all—and it’s amazing that once you have pushed through that difficult patch and look back it seems silly how much we can be put out by a situation. 
     A friend of mine once told me that the way she approached stressful situations was to decide on a way to give herself a “treat” once she got to the end of a project.  It could be taking a mini-vacation, a day of shopping, a day at the spa—you get the idea.   This was a way to take the focus off the stress and push her toward receiving her “reward.”  I thought this was very clever and I have decided to adopt this method as my own because I know what it means to be so stressed that you can’t see “the forest for the trees.”  I think the overall lesson to be learned here is “be good to yourself”—stress is inevitable, but how we manage it is up to the individual and when looking back it can define how we view our year as good or bad.  For other ways of learning to master stress you can check out the skillport site at http://georgialibraries.skillport.com/  and search “Managing Stress” to find an option that works for you.  I choose for this year to be a good one–I hope it will be for you as well and as Spock says—“Live long and prosper!”

Wendy Cobb