Who ya gonna call….

Stressbusters.

When life gets stressful, which it will, what do you do?

I’ve whined of late about how my head is going to explode as I watch my family, my friends and myself get through some tough times. And we all need coping mechanisms to get us through the tough times. Today, I’m going to give you the things that work for me.

  1. reading very light novels (they make me smile and remember that there will be silly moments in my future, and happy endings)
  2. organizing things (it helps to make order and calm out of something)
  3. exercise (nothing makes me feel better than breaking a sweat, or lifting weights or just putting one foot in front of the other- you and your body are stronger than you think)
  4. hot bath (lavender salts, your troubles just float away)
  5. cooking/baking (you have to pay attention to a recipe- you don’t have time to worry.  My family has gotten pumpkin scones, pumpkin cookies and yellow cake with chocolate frosting over the past three weeks)
  6. music (I put on music and my shoulders drop down about six inches)
  7. talk to a friend (the other day I just spit out my whole list of stresses to my friend. After I did it I fully exhaled for the first time in a month)
  8. Writing (this blog and my journal have been brain saving)
  9. puzzles/games (this is another example of getting your mind occupied for a little bit so that you’re not dwelling on whatever issues ail you)
  10. getting a good night’s sleep (seriously- lack of sleep isn’t good under the best of circumstances- when you’re stressed it’s worse)
  11. Photography (taking pictures calms me- I’m thinking about light and angle and framing- nothing else)
  12. Playing with my dog and cat (come on- they’re cute and furry and snuggle)

So- what are your favorite methods of stress relief? How do you cope when everything is piling up?

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You’re Stressing Me Out

I used to have a high stress job..  I used to love this high stress job.  And then one day I looked in my desk drawer, and looked at the mountain of Tums and Pepto and Advil, and I began to wonder, why do I love a job that constantly leaves my stomach upset and my head pounding? That was the beginning of the end of my days in finance.

Now, I try to avoid stress.  But because life is what it is, stress just keeps coming at you. And though I try to manage my life so that it is low stress…but…well, sometimes stress doesn’t listen and it comes at you full throttle.

I’m in one of those full throttle periods now.

Personally, I have about a thousand things running through my head. Stress, stress, stress and more stress.  And if it was just my angst, maybe I could manage it better.  But the problem with being a mother, wife and friend means that the you start to absorb the stress of the people in your life.

My daughter: well, she is just about ready to implode. The weight of her classes, the college application, the essay…Let’s talk about the essay for a moment…My daughter wrote what she thought was a really good essay for the common app.  My neighbor proofread it for grammar, and she asked my daughter the dreaded question: “Do you think this is enough?” So now my daughter is questioning here essay.  Which makes me question her essay.  An essay that we both thought was good…I looked it over with her yesterday- and I watched her make a few tweaks…but is she going to keep questioning it? Which means I will keep questioning it…You see what I mean?

Husband- well work has not exactly been a big ball of fun for him.  He comes home tired and cranky.  Trust me, this is not a good look.  I try to talk to him, but I can’t make the situation any better.  And I try to take care of all the little details of our household…but you know….

Friends.  I ‘m watching all of my closest friends go through things.  Health issues.  Family issues.  Relationship issues. My most optimistic friend has had a few just really lousy things happen to her, and even she said she was trying hard to keep a smile on her face. I’m there to listen to all of them, and not being able to make any of their situations better is sort of crushing me…I know that everything can’t continually be rosy, but can my friends just get some slack?

I’m doing all my stress busting things.  Exercise. Eat healthy. See friends.  Text friends. Reduce caffeine. Do something fun everyday.  I’m doing them all.  But yet…my head keeps spinning.  My thoughts are non stop.  The angst…here’s the thing: I’m either going to weigh 3 thousand pounds or 3 pounds…I tend to be a stress eater, so I could just start inhaling bagels, or, my stomach could be so knotted up that I lose all my body fat… it really can go either way…

Meditation. Yeah.  I know about it.  First off, I can’t sit with my legs crossed.  So the even vaguely lotus position is out.  And secondly- I just can’t shut my mind and concentrate on breathing.  My mind won’t stop.  My brain doesn’t shut down when I’m sleeping either.  every night I look at my blog topic and I have no idea what I’m going to say or how I’m going to present it.  Yet, when I wake up, the format is right there before my eyes, the words flowing through my fingers onto the key board, into WordPress and onto your devices…I know my brain is prewriting my blog as I sleep…

So what am I to do?  Try to relax.  Try to stop my mind from running. Try to make sense out of things that don’t make sense. Do my best to hold it together one minute at a time.  And I guess scream if I need to….

One second at a time…

One minute at a time…

One hour at a time…

One day at a time…

Until it’s a little better…

Reboot

I took Friday off from life.

Well, not entirely.  I fed the pets.  But for about 10 hours, I sat and did nothing.  It was perfect. Since  I’ve been wound a little more tightly than usual of late, I realized that I needed to chill out for a bit.  The revelation came to me when I wanted to throw my Husband out of the window.  He’s been on my nerves a little, but that’s a whole other blog….come back tomorrow if you want to see that post.

Friday  was the perfect day to step back from life.  Daughter had plans to go black Friday shopping with her friends, and was leaving the house at 9am.  Husband was leaving the house at 1 to go to a bar and watch college football (?- I think it was college- honestly I didn’t care- I knew it would occupy his time and get him out of the house-)

And what did I do in that time?

I made a lot of tea- English Breakfast.

I read at least one issue of Real Simple.

I read at least one issue of Good Housekeeping.

I played Sudoku.

I watched a Garage Sale mystery I had on DVR.

I watched a mystery on Hallmark with Kellie Martin (also taped even though I do not remember the name of the series.  The name doesn’t matter- someone dies, a  plucky heroine solves the crime.  I don’t need anything more)

I received my stitch fix box and tried on everything (OK- this was a winner again- I think the stylist reads my mind- long comfy cardigan, gorgeous booties, the best leggings ever, a shimmery pale pink shirt (which is not my style on the shimmery, but fits well and is just festive enough for the holiday season) and a black faux suede dress.  on a side note- I already wore three of the new items over the weekend.  Seriously love the concept.

I put moisturizer on my feet, wrapped them in thick socks and used my foot massager.

I added full calorie preserves to my greek yogurt.

I took a nap.

I didn’t cross anything off the to do list.  Not a thing.  I felt like a rebel.  I had no cause.  I just needed to not be productive for a little while.

And it worked.  It only took a few hours, but I felt so much better.  When my daughter got home, I actually helped her clean her closet.  I cleaned my closet.  I got rid of clothing that I did bot love- I was able to have a Marie Kondo moment. (Seriously- did you really think I could go a whole entire day without thinking about organizing something?)  But it didn’t feel like a chore- it felt like something I needed to do to make my life run more smoothly.

So what am I saying?

I’m saying that sometimes we need a vacation from our life.  Sometimes we need to shut off the power switch and reboot.  A few months ago, my amazing friend Jay wrote about the word automaton, about how he sometimes wonders if he is one.  Well, there’s a reason why Jay and I bonded- I feel like that sometimes too.  And there is no better way to fix an operating system than by shutting it down, letting the motors cool off, and then turning it back on again.

Reboot.

People mock the concept by now.  There is a standard IT joke about it.  But, you can’t knock what works.

So now I’m back, and ready to dive right into the holiday season, which officially started when Santa closed out the Thanksgiving Day parade.  Our decorations will go up this coming weekend.  Gifts have begun to be purchased. More words will be added to the novel (said without quotes this time- yay me).  And hopefully I’ll be a little bit calmer….well, calmer for me anyway…..