Keeping the Peace

My professional aspirations consist of working in the field of international affairs*, specifically related to conflict and conflict resolution. I could go on all day about what drives me but this space isn't really for that. However, what I do want to ask is, how do you keep the peace within yourself? One of the most important parts of being a practitioner who works in high stress situations is taking care of oneself. And we're not just talking about hygiene.

I'm not going to get all preachy (my "religious beliefs" pretty much consist of simply tolerance, respect, and honesty) or touchy-feely (well maybe just a little touchy-feely) but this is a serious issue. What do you do to take care of yourself? While life would be all well and good if we could simply "leave" our jobs at the office, that's certainly not the case. Coming from a long line of people who help others handle difficult situations for a living, I'm more aware of this issue than probably the average person.

So, let's bring it back. Friends rock. Vacation is a must (who wishes we were more like the Europeans with 8 weeks a year?!). Hobbies and other activities that you love to do can help bring that peace. This is why I've been quilting/sewing/knitting so much. I'll be honest with you, this is a pretty tumultuous time in my life right now and being crafty helps me feel productive. Each day is uncertain and I've been in transition, so to speak, for what seems like forever. Making something, even if it's just for me, helps me feel like I'm moving forward. I also read, play with Louie (SO much research about the benefits of pets to stress and anxiety), and spend time goofing off with my sweetie. I need to get back into running and yoga. I'm learning about mindfulness and meditation (and so psyched to hear the Dalai Lama speak next month!). These things help me keep the peace. Without them, I might just stay hidden under the covers.

I know that this isn't some groundbreaking revelation or anything. It's pretty simple: do the things in life that make you happy. This is something that I will try to internalize so when I'm finally doing what I really want to be doing professionally, I'll already be able to manage the stress. Well, hopefully. For now, it's keeping me sane.

*For more about my background and experience in conflict resolution, check this out.


  1. Your journal heading caught my eye while catching up on blogs. And your query as to how does one take care of that inner turmoil reminded me of days a number of years ago...First off, I managed a very busy psychotherapy office & was on the 'front line" handling those first crisis calls. Kept a serene photo by my desk of a log cabin in the mist. Then decided I needed something more "calming", so opened up my own business (quilt shop)& ended up working 90 hour weeks/365 days a year. Sometimes I would just go for a drive in the country to clear my head. You know what, on one of those drives I found 40 acres and we had a that log home built where we are now retired! I continue to quilt - at my own pace. A person has no idea how much stress and pressure they have been under until it is finally relieved. This is a pretty long comment but "that's my story and I'm sticking to it." (:o) Thanks for listening!

  2. I am at that place right now where I have so much stress in my life and it is driving me crazy. I usually spend some time alone but it seems like to keep everyone around me happy they get all the time they need alone and I get none in the end. I feel like screaming lately....so would welcome any stress relief at this point!!! But to answer your question, Quilting and some ME time! For sure!

  3. Quilting is my savior lately. I am so happy I decided to revive it after 5 years and so far this year I have made 13 quilts. No joke. I had only made 4 before that. Crazy. I realized last week that the more stressed out I get at work, the more I sew. And it's working out well because it's 'my thing' and I love it. I hope to make a business out of it and just maybe if it sticks I get to be crafty all day instead of keeping the IT world on schedule. (I'm a master scheduler by trade). Recently I've come to realize that most of the people I work with are driven to come in each day only because it pays the bills. Really? You don't want to do better and learn and be good at your job and take responsibility for your actions and be good to your colleagues? I guess I am naive to think we all want more from our lives but I know now I'm one of the few. And that is not only annoying, but heartbreaking because I feel like I am trying too hard; being myself is not worth it. How depressing, really. And that's no fun at all. So now I put my caring into my quilts and expect less from my esteemed colleagues who are only living their lives as they wish to live them. I focus on what I can control, and try to lead by example at work. And when I get super annoyed at them, I talk about quilts so they can roll their eyes at me and my craftiness and wonder how in the world the one that keeps the IT world on schedule can do something so creative and peaceful when she's not at work. :)


Kind words, funny stories, and recipes are always welcome. :)