Just Breathe: 5 Ways to Combat Stress
In addition to April being the month that most American adults have come to loath thanks to a 3 letter government bureau that personally made this year a real "celebration” for me, it also happens to be National Stress Awareness Month... Coincidence or irony? You be the judge.
Anyway, in honor of a month where tension is flying high, and bank accounts are dropping low, I thought I'd offer up some unconventional ways everyone can reduce stress. By the way, if by the end of this post you're feeling like you can breathe deep again, which could potentially then lead to you feeling generous, I would be more than happy to accept a "donation" via PayPal for my brilliant ideas and own outpouring of generosity... It's a win win situation, and at least one person will feel less stressed... NO? Okay. Keep reading.
1) Donate Your Time to a Friend. Speaking of donations, sometimes, the best way to relieve stress is to give to others. When you're feeling wound up or upset, turning the attention of yourself and on to someone else that may need support can be the best remedy. I find that when I'm having a sh*tty day (month, quarter, year), calling a friend and talking about what's happening in their world makes my drama seem insignificant. In a short amount of time, I've forgotten about my own worries and have helped a friend in need. And I've remembered why I never liked her husband and thought it was a mistake from the get GO!
2) Play Hookey. Look, I'm not saying to do something that puts your job in jeopardy or leaves your family in a lurch. I'm just saying do something that takes you away from both/either obligations for a little while so that you can unwind and regroup. As queen of using your child as an excuse to get out of things, one of my favorite moves is to send an email or call at the crack of dawn to your supervisor and let them know your kid was up all night with the (flu, vomit, hives, teething, etc etc) and you are trying to get him/her in to doctor in the morning. By the time noon rolls around (and "the doctor" can't see him) you'll be off the hook and playing HOOKEY... in the park with just a book or at the movies with a partner in crime (see below) or shopping. (seriously BELOW).
3) RE.TAIL.THER.A.PY. It works every time, people. EV.ER.Y.TIME. This past weekend, there was an event that took place (Grandparent collapsing at a birthday party) that was quite stressful and scary (for both adults and children). I needed to find a way afterwards to help my 4 year old decompress and for me to calm down. I found a mall minutes from the park we were at with a Ferris wheel... AND a huge Forever 21. My son and I took a ride on the Ferris wheel which did wonders... feeling the wind in our hair and looking at all the small buildings below made us feel weightless and carefree. Then afterwards, mommy made an executive decision to keep "the party" going and dashed down to the Forever 21 next to the Ferris wheel for a little $25 splurge on an adorable beach tote and summer dress. By the end of our 45 minute mall moment, we were both calmer AND at least one of us on the road to being cuter.
4) Girlfriend + Popcorn + Movie = Perfection. As moms, it's almost impossible to get away let alone stay current on new releases and movies. But if you're in panic mode or just entirely PMS'd, the best remedy can be grabbing a good girlfriend and heading to the movies to see a chick flick or an art movie that your husband or boyfriend will never see in a million years. Add popcorn, candy, and a huge icy Diet Coke to the mix and you've got my version of stress free heaven.
5) Have Sex. With someone else, yourself, whoever. Whatever. Just do it. Seriously, I know you're tired and I know you're stressed. But a little sexual release will go a looooong way. Trust me. Whether you have to take matters in to your own hands (Oh yes, I'm going there), or you have to rally your equally tired and stressed "bed partner," there is nothing more satisfying and important, really, then having a fantastic orgasm. Talk about mind blowing....
So there you have it. Some stress reducers that won't break the bank. If you really go for it and dive into #5 though, it's possible, however, you could break the bed. No worries. You'll get a new one, donate the old one (see #1) and write off the expense next year... When we come up with a whoooooole new set of stress reducers. Again.