We've been having a stressful time here lately.
Lost a friend, suddenly and far too young, a few weeks ago.
Then lost another a few days ago, this time with a few days warning, but still far too soon.
And to top it off, that same night, we came home to one of our cats dying.
Add to this the typical financial stress, time stress, relationship stresses, and a variety of other stressors, and it all adds up to a potentially explosive combination.
Except what usually happens is it adds up to people being demotivated, depressed and unable to get anything done... which adds more stress.
I thought I'd devote a little space and time here today to talk about stress relief.
Not that this is a topic that I am particularly good at.
Most of the advice I get has to do with "pamper yourself a little," which sounds great, except I don't know what that really MEANS. Most of the things people suggest in that category (dinner out, a massage, a glass of wine, a long bath with aromatherapy candles, etc.) I either can't afford, or have no interest in. And most take time, which is one of the things not in abundance here.
So I need quick, inexpensive little things I can do, or think about, that relieve stress.
And generally, they need to be things I can do by myself, either because I don't have anyone to do things with, or because what I need is some private time.
Here is my current list of most typical things I do to attempt to relieve stress.
1. Sleep. Take a nap. It tends to help, for several reasons. One is it can get my mind off whatever one-track stress path it is focusing on. It can create a time separation between whatever triggered the stress, and... later. And sometimes, I just need more sleep.
2. Read. Sometimes, some "guilty pleasure" novel is just the thing.
3. Write. This can take several forms, from blogging to journaling to focusing on other things I need to write. Blogging when I want a more publicly-available forum, journaling when it's no one else's business, and I just need to write some stuff out to help myself focus, or just to get it OUT.
4. Cook. This works for me because I enjoy cooking. This time of year, it also helps because I enjoy not being cold, and cooking or baking something will heat up the kitchen and the surrounding areas.
5. Go outside. This one, it depends on the weather, and on my particular mood. There are some outdoor places that I love, that can be very stress relieving. But some days, if it's too hot, or too cold or too buggy, it is less appealing. I know a lot of people for whom that would sound ridiculous, because they are outdoor people who enjoy all kinds f weather and aren't inhibited by even the worst of it- but I'm apparently not one of them.
6. Help someone else. Not only can it get my mind off my own problems, it usually is enjoyable, in its own right.
7. Make something. Creation is powerful. Knit, crochet, build, paint, whatever.
8. Work out. Strength training is very meditational. Walking can be. Running... I hear it is for some people, but not for me.
I'm sure there are more, but those are what immediately came to mind. I'd keep going, but a thousand things are calling for my attention, I need to get ready to go to work, and I have to pay the bills before I go, etc.