Squeezing the Cow

“The pattern of your breathing affects the pattern of your performance. When you are under stress, deep breathing helps bring your mind and body back into the present…breathe in energy. Breathe out negativity. Breathe in relaxation. Breathe out stress.”  ~Gary Mack~

Or you can squeeze the cow.


Say what?

About a month ago, one of our office assistants announced she was leaving to take another position in the school system. “Okay, fine, no problem,” I thought as we’ve had vacancies before and always made it through to the next hire. Both of our office assistant positions are part-time and that means that employees tend to come, stay awhile, then leave for a full-time or more lucrative position. That is, unless the employee is happy in her position, lives just down the road, and enjoys having her Mondays off, which happens to be the situation of our other office assistant.

I was somewhat fine with the office assistant leaving until I realized this: The other office assistant was going on vacation the first two weeks of September, which means I would be alone during that time to serve my own position and two others.


At first, I was stressed to the max about the situation. I’ve been alone in the office before, but never for two weeks. This time would be different in that it’s the first two weeks of the month, our busiest; I would have to learn a major process that I had washed my hands of because I was too dang busy with my own crap to get involved; I had two meetings to attend during that time; and a large annual project was looming on the horizon, one which always gives me a cerebral rash and headache.

Needless to say, at that moment, I had the Chicken Little urge to run around and declare the sky was falling.

After I took a few deep, long, hard breaths, I came to the realization that I was creating my own stress for a situation and time that had not yet occurred. I needed to make a plan to get through those two weeks, one which would ultimately include a small plastic mammal.


In looking for ways to decrease stress, I considered many options: 1) Exercise every day; 2) Stay away from sugar and bad carbs…eat healthy; 3) Do not schedule extra-curricular activities after work unless they help reduce stress; 4) Pray a lot; 5) Keep in mind that I will not be fired for being short-handed and doing my best; 6) Smile every day no matter the circumstance; 7) Ask for help; 8) Stay in the present.

I adopted all of these options.

Except for this past Thursday, when I ate a cookie and a magic bar while at a company function.

And Saturday, when I gave myself the day off from any form of exercise other than walking through the farmer’s market and mega store and completing three loads of laundry. (Marathoning Season 13 of NCIS on Netflix doesn’t count except that it was good for the soul.)

One week down, one to go.

I made it through this past week without an excessive amount of anxiety. Without a doubt, I stayed busy. Several mental acuity tests were given and multi-tasking gymnastics performed. But this was done with determination that I would not take all of this to a perfectionist’s heart. I did what I could do and then I went home.

Except for one small moment on Friday, when I felt frustration perpetrated by something out of my control.

This is when Natasha’s gift of last Wednesday came into play. It was a “hang in there” gift. I texted her…“squeezing my cow, squeezing my cow, squeezing my cow.”


Yes, I squeezed my cow. The eyes bulged out three times. I felt way better.

Never underestimate yourself and the ability to get past whatever life throws at you. My favorite Mother Theresa quote is this, “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish God wouldn’t trust me so much.” For this week, though, I’d like to change “God” to my boss. No blasphemy intended, I think it fits better under the circumstances.

My fair readers, how do you handle your stress and anxiety?

Have you utilized any of the eight options above?

Do you spit and sputter and turn red in the face?

Do you keep a stash of bubble wrap to pop?

Do you quietly meditate?

Spend time with wine?

Or do you squeeze a cow?

24 responses to Squeezing the Cow

  1. Dan Antion says:

    This is a great post, Mary. I love the cow, and your advice is excellent and timely, as my daughter is facing a similar issue (I’m sending this to her). Good luck getting through week number two. I hope that cow still has eyes on Friday. Plus, Green Bay won their opener, so that has to help.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Go Pack Go! Yes, it did help that they won. Good luck to your Steelers tonight.

      Thanks for sharing this post with Faith. I hope she can use some of the advice. If she wants a squeezable cow (or pig), she’ll have to go to Cracker Barrel. That’s where Natasha found them. I only wish the cow also made a noise…like a mad moo or something. That would have been cool.

  2. loisajay says:

    Our newspaper printed a lot of Mother Theresa quotes last week and the one you quoted was my absolute favorite. For me–I have to get up and walk away from my desk for a bit. Even if it only to the ladies room–I need to get up, up and away. Good luck this week.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Thanks Lois. Our ladies’ room has a lock on the door. I suppose I could always go in there and hide if things get really bad. 😉

  3. I don’t squeeze a cow but man, I want one. Well done you for making it this far. I know you can make it to the end intact.

    The best thing I did halfway through the term was to tell work I was not available for work on Fridays for the rest of the term. Singing with my group on Friday mornings is my de-stressor. If I get called into work on Fridays not only do I have the added stress of a day at work but I don’t get my de-stress session either. It’s a recipe for a very unhappy MOSY.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Singing is an awesome way to de-stress. I usually have my radio on at work or I play CD’s during the day. I sing to the music, but not too loud…otherwise, cats would cry, dogs would howl and the cow would run away. What type of music does your group sing? Are you soprano or alto?

      • We sing all sorts – pop, rock, gospel, blues and lots of original songs by the song leader (they’re the best ones). We sing standing in a circle and tend to divide as high, middle, low. You can sing wherever you like, change each week or each song. So I sing in each of the three parts depending on which one I like best for that song. 🙂

  4. Joanne Sisco says:

    I’m so jealous of MOSY. I want to sing too. I think it would be the perfect outlet. But I can’t, so I don’t. Really, I can’t.

    I like your proactive approach to managing incoming stress. Knowing me though, I’d be abandoning the list by the 2 hour of the 1st day. Hang in there! You can do this 🙂

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I’m hanging in there, Joanne. My plan and a positive attitude seems to be working, so I’m sticking with it. It’s almost noon here and a beautiful day for a lunchtime walk. Maybe an after-work walk as well.

  5. First, I love that cow. Second, I usually don’t take stress because now with 7 years of experience in content writing I have this confidence to handle any unexpected situation. In India, we usually work more than what we are hired for. So even if the team is on a holiday we manage it. Look at the amount of holidays we have here. Someone is always on a holiday. However, if I am anxious I go to the toilet. I know this sounds crazy, but I go there, relieve myself, think about the issue at hand and solutions begin to roll out of my mind.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      LOL, Sharukh, I’ll have to remember the bathroom trick! Actually, I drink a lot of water during the day, so….

      One can also get a pig to squeeze. If that’s your preference. 🙂

      • During my school days I used to make a poster of all the important equations and theories that I need to remember and paste it on the toilet door. This way, every time I go in I can read it and make use of my toilet-time. Guess what? Everyone in my family learnt it by the end of the semester. LOL.

  6. joey says:

    I do not squeeze the cow. I wonder how much it would help? I dunno, I try to be slow and serious in the morning, because morning is madness here. Eventually all the people leave and yes, I meditate. Walk my dog. Do my yoga or stretch. Sip my coffee, stare at my trees, start writing.
    The rest of the day is like a whirlwind. Work, then home to chores.
    I need my quiet mornings. Without them I don’t do the rest so well.

  7. I NEED the cow! Read carefully, as I modified….

    Okay, I should: 1) Exercise every day; 6) Smile every day no matter the circumstance; 5) Keep in mind that I will not be fired for being short-handed and doing my best (CHANGE THIS TO FIRE ANYONE WHO MAKES ME CRAZY); 8) Stay in the present… Buddhist that I am, this is an ongoing struggle!

    I DO: 2) Stay away from sugar and bad carbs…eat healthy; 3) Do not schedule extra-curricular activities after work unless they help reduce stress; 4) Pray a lot (MEDITATE); 6) Smile every day no matter the circumstance (PRACTICE GRATITIUDE); 7) Ask for help; 8) Stay in the present (YES I DO AND STILL NEED TO DO IT MORE).

    I’ve not been sleeping, and this is adding to my stress, and dang if I know why — way more than my usual insomnia. So add SLEEP!

    Also, mu husband/partner and now my new interns will be learning to do what we do — own our emotional state. It really helps to say, “Okay, I am stressed to day, nobody’s fault if I am cranky, and feel free to tell me if it effects you….”

    • bikerchick57 says:

      You can have your very own cow or pig or duck or brain or…
      Go crazy!
      I’m sorry about your insomnia, Katie. My roommate has had the same issue since December and has been trying everything to get on a good sleep cycle. I had one sleepless night (last night) and I feel like a zombie. I can’t imagine day after day after day of that. Take care of yourself and I’ll keep positive thoughts for the decrease in your stress and better sleep.

  8. LB says:

    Your list of stress relieving measures is really great. In fact, the first 3 are at the top of the list of things that I share with my patients.
    So are you halfway through the two weeks?

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I am done with the two weeks, Laurie, but I have a major project looming that will take me to the second week of October. It is then that I hope to take a day or two off and unwind.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.