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NATIONAL WHAT MONTH?: This might stress you out — but the football guy will make you happy

Angela Accomando
Angela Accomando

I recently watched a news program featuring spring vacation ideas.

The spokesperson mentioned April is National Stress Awareness Month.  

She went on to explain how we all need to take a vacation; how it helps stress, etc. AND THEN … she gave the prices for these “affordable mini-vacays.” HA! Her words stressed me out. Does she not realize most of us are living paycheck to paycheck — hand to mouth, if you will — and we have neither the money nor time off from work to take advantage of these supposed travel deals that almost always involve double the cost when all is said and done?

A trip to the Bahamas for $299? Sure! Count me in. Oh, but wait… airfare, luggage fees, food, activities … and so on and so on. Suddenly the $299 per person is $1,299 per person — and that stresses me out.

(I’m guessing local travel agents could do better for us.)

My husband and I have never had a “real” vacation. 

Our honeymoon was spent at a local resort for two nights and the family “getaways” we have taken in the last 25 years have always been within Illinois or the bordering states. I would absolutely love a “real” vacation — one that requires a booking, an airplane and maybe even a passport — but it is just not in the cards. 

Fortunately, Starved Rock Country offers many opportunities for a weekend “staycation.”

We have many nice places to stay and play, but it is nice to get out of your own ZIP code once in a while and see what the rest of the world is doing.

And in regards to stress, do I have plenty!? I thought when my kids were older I would have less stress. Silly girl. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I don’t have less stress, I have different stress. I still worry about the same crap — kidnapping, parties, wrong crowds, wrong place/wrong time, etc., but NOW I worry about ALL of that plus more. 

Can they pay their rent/mortgage? Are they managing their car payments? Did I raise them right? Will they come visit? How is my grandson? Do they lock the doors and turn off the burners at night? 

Holy crap. Do I have any Xanax? 

Stress, unfortunately, is a part of life. Tell me one person you know who doesn’t have stress and I have some really prime land in Florida to sell you. 

But here’s the good news — there are ways we can effectively deal with it. 

Firstly, there are wine and books, two of my favorites. Well… books and magazines, anyway. I recently learned I have an an allergy to the sulfates in my $20 box of wine, so there goes that, but books and mags are always around. Plus, there’s hard liquor, but that’s a whole other column. 

Also, there are healthy options. I actually woke up this morning, stretched and thought “Wouldn’t it be great to get out of bed and do a little exercise before I start the day?” Thank God I fell back asleep and forgot about that.  

Seriously though, yoga and healthy eating are good choices for anyone, at any any time. I hope I get there soon. It’s my goal. I know getting healthier physically and organizing things will reduce stress.

And here is some more good news.

I’m pretty sure spring is here. How do I know?

The “football guy” is back!

If you live on the South Side of Ottawa, you know exactly who I am talking about. He appears every spring on the common, grassy area along Route 23, near The New Chalet restaurant.

I’ve never met him and I don’t know his name, but this guy — whom my husband and I have affectionately named “Joe Whats-his-NAME-iTH,” can be seen almost any time the weather permits.

He is fit and buff and tosses that pigskin like nobody’s business on his own for hours. He is a happy sight and a friendly reminder warm weather is here.

In my imagination, he goes to a beautiful villa in sunny Florida for the winter months and returns to Ottawa when the birds start singing again. I am always so glad to see him because I know happy days are here again, so to speak.

As for my own stress, I am hoping to get back into shape, get out of this cabin fever and maybe even get in to the YMCA for some stress relieving classes.

But until then, let’s hope April showers do bring May flowers like the old adage states. Stress does affect our bodies and we need to be aware of it. It is NOT just an emotional thing. As my kids would say, “You better check ‘yo-self’ “ and make sure you are healthy inside and out. Life is too short to borrow worries that may never come to pass.

And, as the stress-procrastinator I am, I always say, “Don’t borrow worries. Why worry today about what you can put off until tomorrow?” Be well and be happy, Times readers.

ANGELA ACCOMANDOa correspondent to The Times, has found herself wondering, “It’s National What? Month.” Follow her each month as she digs into some of the special designations and causes that fill the calendar. If you have a day, week or month observance you’d like to see addressed, call 815-431-4073 or email

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