Lifelong learning: Releasing your pressure valve

I am back! Some of you might not have even noticed or missed me, but some of you may have noticed I haven’t written in a few months. In fact, I have been asked by some people why they hadn’t seen any new articles in the paper or on my website in a bit. The answer is simple. I was tired. I wasn’t sleepy tired, although there have been a few days. I wasn’t depressed tired. I wasn’t tired of writing. I was just busy, pulled in many directions, mostly at work, and I was giving everything I had left (which wasn’t much sometimes), to my family. But I am back!!! Still tired, but back! Therefore, I think it’s appropriate that my first article back is about making sure we release our pressure valves when we need to.

I read an article by Emily Tipping in Recreation Management, April 2022, called “Thank Goodness for You”, where Tipping talks about pressure valves. She talks about how we all feel pressure and how it comes from a combination of sources: friends, family, co-workers, job stress, goals, fears and ourselves. She mentions that we don’t intend to cause ourselves and others stress, but sometimes we feel the need to do more and more and we forget to take a few precious, necessary moments to unwind.

We all have stress, fatigue, worry, doubt, anxiety – and while we try to keep our chins up, adjust and adapt, we feel overwhelmed. That, according to Tipping is when we really need to find pressure release valves. By definition a pressure valve is designed to protect from excess pressure. It controls or limits pressure surges and helps to protect from failure. For me, my workouts help a lot. For some people it’s as simple as curling up with a blanket and a good book. For others, it might be surrounding themselves with family and friends, watching a good movie, going shopping, taking a walk or eating good food.

I don’t like who I am when I am extra stressed. I get short with people. I get grumpy. I sulk. I have zero motivation. I want to be alone. I have been acting like this quite a bit lately. So, today as I write this, I am going to try to relieve my stress and any pressures I am feeling in healthier ways. I am going to find better ways to release and relieve my pressure build up.

A while back I had posted reminder on the side of my printer about which direction to insert letterhead. I wrote “Head first, facing up”. I think I needed that reminder today. When under stress, I put my head down and I want to pull back from things. But, as I try to relieve built up pressures, I need to approach them head first, head on, head up – looking right at my challenges and finding a positive way to “get through” especially when I may not want to.

I used to watch the TV series, “Bones.” In one scene, the main character, says, “Up and forward are only two directions. We need to look at things from every direction.” And Orville said, “We don’t live in straight lines! Find joy in your journey.” Things don’t always go the way our way and we all have many responsibilities, obligations, plans, goals, opportunities and tasks throughout our days. When things do “go our way,” we are happy and cheerful but when they don’t we grump, pout, complain and stress.

As for me, I am going to TRY to react better when I find myself starting to stress. I plan to take a minute and reflect on how I am reacting to the situation I am in and then decide if it is appropriate or if I need a pressure release. I don’t like when I intentionally or unintentionally take things out on others. Because then, frankly, that ADDS to the stress. So, as I return to my writings and acknowledge my stressors, (and write this article, really for myself, as maybe a pressure release for me), I hope you will take a moment and mentally find your pressure releases so they are available to you when you need them most. Have a great day!


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