HS-Editor 7-18-06 Do It For Yourself To say it's been a tough year is an understatement that borders on absurd. To believe we've recovered from the trauma of Hurricane Katrina and that our battle scars are healed is hopeful, but naïve. The reality is that all of us -- at least everyone I know or encounter -- are carrying heavy loads of Katrina fatigue; some people just camouflage it better than others.
Because summer for many of us this year holds little of its traditional trappings of carefree vacation months, I suggest we all take some time (even if it's a half-hour) to pamper ourselves and ratchet down the stress level. It doesn't have to cost a lot of money. Draw yourself a deep, warm tub of water and shake in some dead-sea bath salts (or Calgon if you're on a budget) and soak away some of the stress. If you cover your eyes with a washcloth and rock your legs, you can almost imagine you're seaside with waves gently lapping the shore. (Hey, work with me here!)
If you can't pull yourself away from repairs and renovations, then try to incorporate a little relaxation and fun. Working in the dirt (garden dirt, not the sludge you've been sweeping out of flooded houses) can be very therapeutic, especially if you plant something colorful and very alive. Personally, red and yellow flowers make me feel hopeful, but choose anything you like. Paint your shutters or window moldings a playful color, get a new Welcome mat, hang a picture that emanates frivolity, go to a water park (even if it's just a wading pool in your backyard), whatever floats your boat. Just do something. We want you to be around taking our sometimes questionable advice for a long time.