Monday, March 11, 2013

Her Majesty's School of Stress Management.

On my window sill in the kitchen stands The Queen. Grey haired, tiara in place, with a fixed smile day and night. You might be surprised that I display something that kitsch there and amused to know that she waves. 
          All day! 
Yes, my Queen is solar powered. On her handbag (purse) is a solar strip, that keeps her going longer than the Ever Ready Bunny. 
And why is she there in perpetuity?

Because every time I walk into the kitchen and see the Royal wave, I laugh.

Now that you know about my little bit of 'silly' you need to know why I have her at all. My friend Suzette, a Canadian by birth, who lives round the corner, bought her for me for my birthday. It was a perfect gift from her because we both adore British humor and laugh a lot together. We laugh on the phone when we speak most Fridays. We laugh when we watch Downton Abbey and Maggie Smith makes a cutting comment and we ached with laughter, when we took a cake decorating class together. (You would have too if you'd seen our icing (frosting) efforts.)

Now in case you are thinking that all we do is laugh, that just wouldn't be an accurate description of our friendship. Like everyone, we both have our life challenges and we often talk about them. You've read about some of mine on this blog and Suzette certainly has hers. Suzette's eldest, Jeremy  has Autism and at 27, lives at home. I do not think a day goes by without Suzette worrying about his wellbeing and quality of life.

Sometimes, When Suzette calls me, I can hear from her voice, the moment she says hello, that something is troubling her. We have both had those moments. From sharing tough news about a friend's health journey to worrying about her Dad's surgical recovery from lung cancer, we have listened and consoled each other.

 But almost always some laughter creeps in. In an instant that laughter helps us to switch gears and take a momentary break from whatever heaviness is ailing. The laughter acts like a safety switch, cutting in when issues are very tough, not deflecting from them, but giving us a moment's reprieve before we delve back in, a little refreshed from the intermission.

And now, The Queen does that for me every day. As I walk into the kitchen and catch sight of her metronome hand, my stream of consciousness is interrupted by this silly sight. And for a minute, I find my self amused and refocused as she keeps waving undeterred, (except perhaps by sundown).

Each time the Queen (bless her) has broken my worried train of thought and made me smile, I take a breath and feel my whole body relax.

 She is like a soothing pat on the arm,

 a tickler to take a break,

 a pause to stop and smile 

and all without a word! 

Just a wave.

And what I have realised is that we could all do with a version of the solar Queen in our lives. Something that releases the tension in our bodies and minds, even for just a moment and allows us to switch gears. A reminder to shut down  for a few seconds and

smile, giggle or laugh.

There is so much scientific evidence that smiling and laughing release positive chemicals in our bodies, lower stress and help us to problem solve, because stepping away even for a minute or two can calm our thoughts.

As parents and caregivers, in high powered jobs with stressful lives, young children, aging parents and long work hours, I think we do not realize the buildup of tension in our bodies, until either we get sick or we do something in such contrast that we realise how different we can feel.

 With that time crunch we all live under, a quick wave from Her Majesty might be just what we need, to give ourselves a giggle, our brains a break and our bodies the Royal treatment.

Suzette and my other dear friends are often there to give me that pause, but since none of them would agree to stand on my kitchen window sill and wave all day, The Queen is a pretty good stand in. 

                                Long live The Queen! (and as Suzette said to me "Long may She wave!")

Please take a minute to let me know what helps you to take a break from the stresses of life and if you liked this post please remember to share it and laugh.

Talk to you soon.


If you enjoyed this post you might also like

The Queen's English
The Jigsaw Puzzle of Life
Pondering On The Porch

 Please email me at or leave a comment on this post below. I'd love to have your feedback. 

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  1. Gilly, reading your blog is one of the ways I take a break from life's stressors to recharge and refocus. I often find myself reflecting upon something you wrote that has touched me. As a result, your words have given me new insights that I have applied to being a better parent, wife, friend and neighbor.

    1. Thank you! That's lovely feedback.i really appreciate you taking the time to tell me and glad that the blog is helpful in that way.

      We all need breaks. I just read about an app called StandApp that reminds you to take a break from your computer & stand up! I think we need to create an App that encourages us to find a way to laugh several times a day. Although one of my friends on Facebook manages that with ( most of) the jokes he posts through the day! Perhaps he has a future with this! (David??)


  2. So glad you have th e Queen waving to you. I agonized about bringing one of these models out to you but couldn't find one when I wanted to buy it. Lovely piece I did enjoy reading it . Your aged parent!!-

    1. SO glad you enjoyed it! Your message made my day. I really need a Prince Philip to stand next to her ( Where would they hide his solar power???) but I'd rather have Kate -if you can find her! Thanks aged parent -better known as my wonderful British Mum!

  3. Thanks for the reminder, Gilly! It's amazing what a big ole' belly laugh will do to my spirits! It's so true. Sometimes I just have to take a break, stand back, and just look at my kids and smile at how cute they are...especially when there being big ole' pests!


    That made me laugh.

    1. Yes. We just have to remember to do that! Sometimes I just get caught up in a worry or other emotion & now my waving Queen breaks the spell! Little kids can definitely do that too! Glad that works for you.

  4. Wonderful! My book on self care just got published after 8 years! You are speaking my love language :-)

    You have a wonderful writing style.

    p.s. I just ordered waving queen.

  5. Hi Lucille,
    Congratulations on your book! So glad you enjoyed this post and you will have your own waving Queen very soon! Did you buy her on Amazon? I hope she has the same effect on you,as she does on me.
    Thanks for stopping by.