Friday, September 27, 2013

Stress Less: Tips and Tricks from A Flighty, Reactive Person

At one point today I was:

1. Recording minutes during a leadership meeting
2. Receiving texts stating my youngest needed to be treated with a ventilator at the doctor's office
3. Receiving texts stating my oldest was locked out and alone after arriving home from a half-day at school
4. Answering emails about a missing yellow folder that needed vital signatures
5. Responding to a request for assistance with an executive-level presentation needed yesterday
6. Trying to eat a salad covered in high-fat dressing
7. Attempting to ignore guilty feelings about said salad high-fat dressing

I got in the car about an hour past my normal commute time and as I sat in the consequential traffic, I ran through my mental task list. Tick, tick, tick....Yes, did it...yep, knocked that out...waiting on that....finally completed that...totally didn't do that...need to do that....completed that...dang I forgot about that....sigh.

Everyday. This is life, everyday. Go, go, go.....lists and calls and demands and pressure. It's not just me. Change a few words up there in that task list and you've got any person, on any given day, minus maybe that old guy from Up.

After a long day like today, I can think of nothing I'd like more than to relax. Unfortunately, it's not that easy for me. Most relaxation techniques just make me pass out like a narcoleptic.

Oh, read in bed! 
Yes! Oooo I've got this great book I....DEAD.

Take a long bath! 
How nice! Bubbles and....DEAD.

Get a massage! 
Ahh, that feels gre.....DEAD, DEAD. 

I guess it's ok to fall asleep...I mean, I wouldn't fall asleep if I didn't need the sleep, right? But I find myself bummed out about it later.....I don't want to pass out, I want to consciously have that time to decompress...knock some "me time" things off my list (yea...I've even got a list of to-dos for relaxation...I hate you Pinterest...I hate you so damn bad). 

I'm not one to categorize myself into a "fitness" person or a "crafter" (read more about why categories like this suck by clicking here). I'll try just about anything at least once. So I've explored a little, attempted a ton of different relaxation techniques, and tried to stay open to just about anything. What follows is a list of my favorite tricks; all of them keep me awake and completely distract me from the day's chaos:

The BodMan: Move your body in a way it's normally not moved. I'm not saying exercise.....although I do exercise, the very thought of it adds to my stress. Exercise has its place (specifically, the good feeling after you're DONE exercising has its place)..but that's not what I'm talking about here. I'm saying find something you don't always do, but can mindlessly wrestling a dog, dancing around your living room, sitting at a barstool without slouching, painting a wall, attempting something new with your hair (seriously, that makes your arms BURN!) moving some furniture around, tossing a frisbee, laying down with your feet up in the doesn't matter what it is as long as it feels different and requires absolutely no thinking on your part. Sometimes I lie on my floor and check out what's under my couch. No jokes here, people.

The Task Killer: I have a list that literally haunts's the "house" list. There's ALWAYS something to do around the house. Every now and then, I'll pick one to-do, and I'll actually do it. Moving boxes. It takes no mental effort and I feel good afterwards. Sweeping out the garage, stacking logs, picking weeds, wiping down and organizing may not be fun, but it takes my mind off the insanity of my day and leaves me with one less item on my house list. I know it sounds crazy, but the next time you're overwhelmed, toss in a load of laundry and then wipe down the tops of the machines. Seriously.

The WalMart: People watching and clearance aisle. 'Nuff said. 

The Outside: This one is obvious, but important to mention. I'm not big on bugs, heat, or extreme cold. I do, however, like taking two minutes to step outside, breathe in some fresh air, and then come back inside. Sometimes just running down to the end of my driveway to grab the mail works. My latest trick? I planted some mums in my front yard. They're pretty and I like looking at them, so I will go outside and walk around, just looking at my flowers. It's not thrilling, but that's the point. I'm doing nothing. I like doing nothing. 

The Gamer: Video games are incredible because they allow you to escape. I love video games. I love them so much, I wrote a blog post about my favorite video games. Check it out by clicking here!

The Pandora: Ever feel like you should have a soundtrack? Me too. So I tried it out once. Turns out, your entire perspective changes with a lil bit of music. I grabbed my earbuds, put on my Florence and the Machine station on Pandora, and ate dinner with my music. It was crazy! My peas were like little green orbs of bouncing joy. I couldn't do it for too long...the fam was kinda getting creeped out by my spastic glares and shoulder shrugs. Nonetheless, it was a neat way to clear my head. Careful which channel you pick, though. Wouldn't want to go all emo.

The Big Bang Theory: Absolutely nothing on this show reminds me of my own life. Not a thing. Glorious. It is creative, funny, entertaining, and plays over and over on the one channel I get with my antenna. Other incredibly distancing shows include White Collar, Law and Order, and How I Met Your Mother. I know TV is not a creative suggestion, but it's a huge standby for me and I would be lying by omission if I didn't throw it in there. 

The next time you find yourself running through lists and wanting nothing more than to run away, try one of these techniques. If you hate it, you've lost nothing but a few minutes of your time. If you love it, you've gained an important tool in your stress-less kit.

Thanks for reading everyone and HAPPY FRIDAY!



  1. perfect. want to read over and over

    1. :) Thanks Mia! :) I am so happy to have you as a reader!!

  2. Amazing idea!! I really like the music one. I love to clean watching Mama Mia. It is my secret guilty pleasure. The music is silly and upbeat and then my house is spotless and somehow my shoulders are a little bit less slouched. And definitely the outside. I love a drink (even water) on the patio on a Stressful Friday night.

    Another Great post!! Thanks.

    1. Thank you Sarah! I love a good, tall glass of water on the patio, too! :)

  3. gahhhhhhhh i needed these today gahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. MONDAY. gahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.