The Ultimate Stress Management Strategy from the Dog

This is probably the busiest and most stressful time of the year. There's so much that needs to get done on top of the stuff you already have to do. And work? Well, there are just as many demands there as ever.

So, I thought I would introduce you to a very good friend of mine who has taught me a great deal about how to deal with stress. His name is Cecil, and he is my 3 year old golden retriever. I'll bet you're asking yourself what a dog could possibly know about the challenges of balancing work and life. As a matter of fact, I think he is probably a leading expert in this area.

You see, Cecil is no ordinary dog. He is my seeing eye dog, which means he has a high-stress and incredibly demanding job. Navigating buses, escalators, elevators, busy intersections, and a multiple of sidewalk obstacles while ensuring my safety at all times are part of Cecil's daily duties.

On the flip side though, Cecil knows how to let off steam and play. As a matter of fact, unlike most humans who experience workplace stress, Cecil incorporates play into every single day. And, he is very insistent about having his play time.

When Cecil came to live with me over a year ago, I was given a string of bells to hang by the door so Cecil could indicate when he needed to go outside for "business duties." Little did I know then that he would also use this bell to "demand" play time. But, that is exactly what this bell has become. He rarely uses it for anything other than to indicate he wants to go out to play. And, he will keep ringing the bell until he gets his way! How many people do you know that are that insistent about having play time after a hard day at work? Are you?

What usually happens when you get stressed is you forget to do the very things that can help you alleviate that stress. Why? Because to do those things takes time away from all the things that absolutely MUST get done; time you simply do not have.

The truth is that if you take a little time to play when you are most stressed, you will find that you have more energy to handle the things that need your attention. This means that taking time out to play has made you more capable to handle work and life demands, and not actually cost you a thing!

So, take a little time out each day and play. It does not have to be something elaborate. Just have a little fun and hang a string of bells by your door so you will not forget!