The Release Valve

(3 min read)

These last days have brought heat, rain and the first serious hatching of mosquitos. Somewhere around April 14th I decided not to complain about the heat this summer, after all we had just gotten nearly 20 inches of snow. An April blizzard makes you promise things you would never normally consider… Anyway, so far it has proven slightly more difficult than expected with six days in a row of 90 degrees plus. It isn’t even June.

During weather like this, plants are a concern because even when I watch them closely, they can still get water-logged. This year one of my gardens is a portable raised bed on my deck. It is filled to the brim with various greens. The bed comes with a release knob that with the turn of the wrist allows all the excess water to be drained. It has been made to measure the correct amount to leave in the reservoir and drain the remainder onto the ground. It is not automatic; I have to turn the knob to allow release. The morning after the big rain I opened the valve and let it run. It ran, and ran, and ran. And then it ran some more. It was amazing how much water was sitting under the surface of the dirt and the beautifully lush green plants. If I neglect draining the container in a timely fashion, the plants would surely drown.

I wish I had a release valve like this for my life; one that would hold the excess stress, and when the level became dangerously high, a flick of the wrist would drain the stress out right out of me.

This invention doesn’t exist. At least not as described above. Yet there are gauges within our bodies that give us clues as to the level of stress. More than normal grouchiness, impatience, drinking/smoking/toking/eating/working/etc. or withdrawing and isolating – all these can be symptoms that our stress level is elevated. Tightness in the shoulder, chest or gut can signal to us the need to make a change. The turn of the knob might equate to a few deep breaths, getting out into nature, talking to a friend, slowing down enough to make a cup of tea – all these are ways to turn the stress knob of life and allow some of the stress to drain away.

The more stress builds, the more complex it becomes and the more interventions needed to lower the stress in your life. Start early – even before you think you are stressed. Remember the raised bed? All those plants looked fantastic. You may look fantastic. Do not let looks fool you. You can appear good on the outside and be very stressed, to the point of burnout on the inside.

Turn the release vault often. Even if it is only a trickle at times – let it flow from you. Take a moment. Consider simple ways you can open the release valve. The first step to avoiding burnout is to release stress as it comes; which means we must be aware of what is going on inside us. If you are in a place of burnout, release allows one to begin to move toward healing. Open the valve often. You are worth taking care of. You are the only you that you have. You are also the only You that we have.

Create the weekend you want to experience,



3 thoughts on “The Release Valve

  1. Thank you, Andrea! I don’t know you but I sure like how you think. Thank you for sharing you wisdom in care for others!

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