Folks, we are 18 days away from The Challenge. I had been calling it "My D-Day" but then realized that's totally disrespectful to those who actually participated in the real D-Day. This isn't anything remotely close to that, but my body definitely feels the stress of Solo Contest where I sit at the piano for about 6 hours, accompanying roughly 75 students for a judge's score on the first Saturday of March. The Challenge has been accomplished the past 4 years and now, in my 5th year of teaching, you'd think it'd be a cake walk. It's getting more smooth, but the stress is still there, because thankfully, we are growing:
Year 1: 17 students
Year 2: 50 students
Year 3: 55 students
Year 4: 65 students
Year 5: 75-80ish students

So, what do you do to relieve some of that stress, you ask? Well, for any other Stress Sufferers out there, I thought I'd lend some ideas to The Internet.

1. Read a Psalm (or TEN!)

2. Do stretches while focusing on inhaling deeply.

3. Shovel the driveway. (Which, by the way, wasn't all that tough this time because I've been working out. Bob Harper would be proud.)

4. Lay stomach-down on the floor and play itsy-bitsy-spider with your pup by crawling two fingers on the floor in front of her. It's sure to entice a game of play.

5. Write thank you notes to people you see working hard and serving others. It cultivates an attitude of gratitude. (And after my last two weekends where I wholeheartedly depended on rock-star volunteers, who could neglect to say THANK YOU!?)

6. Have a staring contest with aforementioned pup. This especially works if you need a self-confidence boost because you will invariably WIN.
7. Lastly, watch Downton Abby Series 1 on the DVD set your awesome husband gave to you for Valentine's Day. Oh yes, ladies. Gerard has upped the ante for other husbands out there and has succombed to actually enjoying the show himself. This is one lucky girl.