• Dr. Thom

Shaking Off Stress


Photo by Rebecca Campbell on Unsplash

Growing up I had a cockapoo named Darby who hated getting baths, especially as a puppy. He had thick cream-colored fur that was a mess to clean and he was a bit stubborn, like his owners. After getting out, he would do the horizontal spin cycle, wet fur flying left and right and all of us shielding ourselves from projectile water droplets. But then, my favorite part was how he would madly race about the house like a tiny soaked Secretariat, periodically dragging his wet cheeks across the carpet and snorting loudly.


One of the reasons Darby did this was relief. He absolutely hated the confinement and the loud echoing noise of the bathtub shower, and generally resented this entire routine to begin with. This pent up anxiety had to go somewhere and so . . . off he went.


For us humans, we have a tougher time dissipating the stress of the daily demands and mental confinements in which we find ourselves. We sometimes hold it in, afraid that we’ll burst at the next person who side-eyes us. We eat extra food our body doesn’t need so we can receive some glucose-driven relief, even if only temporary. And if it gets to be too much, we retract and isolate ourselves as if hiding in a turtle shell, just hoping things will pass and get better on their own. And it has only gotten more challenging with the stress brought on by a seemingly never-ending globe pandemic.


As we approach the first few weeks of fall break for many GEC students and families, it is important to be intentional about how we can shake off the layers of stress we have been carrying around with us. Disconnect, spend quality time with your family, and sure, why not run around the house flailing and laughing. It certainly couldn’t hurt.

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Note: many thanks to our friend Joanna Dixon, founder of the Matters of the Heart Counseling of Hendersonville, Tennessee for inspiring this post.


We will be out of the office on our own fall break this next week and we hope that you give yourself permission to do the same. Thank you all for your support of the work we do at GEC and have a great break, whenever you can get one.


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