This morning, I got up, put on my running pants, laced up my shoes, and readied myself for a run. But I didn't run.
I know! Gasp! What a terrible turn of events!
It wasn't raining, I had plenty of time to do it, but as I was getting ready, my brain was just buzzing with everything I had to do today. Most of the time, I would have gone on the run, because my run time is my serious thinking time. I could have quelled a few anxious thoughts out on the trail, but I still would have had a bunch to do.
So, I decided not to run, and instead took my normal running time to count my ducks.
What is counting ducks? Well, some people might refer to this process as "putting their ducks in a row." Damnit, though, I'm a mathematician. I am not okay with just lining the ducks up. I need to know how many ducks there are.
It's a number thing. It always is with me.
(Out of curiosity, I just looked up the origins of the idiom "to have ones ducks in a row." Worldwidewords.org states that this phrase possibly originated from the process of lining up target ducks at a carnival game, but the version they suggest that I like better is the process of a mother duck lining up her ducklings.)
So, I wanted to count my ducks. This is just taking a little bit of time to put my affairs in order to make life simpler. This is me lining up my ducklings so that we can safely cross the streets of Boston.
I work in academia, so my life works in cycles. Pre-semester is always busy- writing syllabi, preparing courses, doing a lot of computer work. Midterms and Finals times are also super busy, I give many tests, I grade many tests, and the next day I do it again. Right now I'm entering the last week of the Spring Semester, and like many people in my life, I'm feeling the crunch. It was good to take a moment.
What did I do then, instead of running? Well, I did some house cleaning- often times when work is quite busy, as with most people, my house can get cluttered. I've been staying on top of the clutter, but taking the time to give the house a good going over was well worth it. I swept, I vacuumed, I washed the welcome mats and the table cloths. I also did some food prepping. Because I teach so late on Mondays and Wednesdays this semester, I don't often get a chance to make lunches for the next day. So I cooked some rice that I will fluff with some hummus and cucumbers tonight for tomorrow's lunch.
I was talking with Mia today, and she was stressed about the end of her semester, too. I suggested she take a moment to get grounded. She figured out that it was really one project that was giving her stress, and the only reason she was stressed was because her classmate/partner wasn't doing their share. Realizing the cause of her stress I think helped her. I also think it was good for her to talk it out and realize that she could do the entire project on her own, and didn't need her partner. She counted her ducks.
Take a minute right now. Count your ducks. What are you stressed about? What is one thing that you could do right now that would help your stress level? If it is vacuum, then you should vacuum. If it's going for a run, you should do that, too.