Not to be Debbie Downer, but I have been under a not-insignificant amount of work stress of late. Doesn't being a grown-up suck sometimes? Sigh. Anyway, I've been giving a lot of thought to how I personally deal with stress and wondering how others cope. Here are a few things that usually help me:
- Make lists. I usually feel stressed when I'm not completely in control of something in my life. Yes, I'm sure there is some analysis-worthy issue there, but setting that aside for the moment, making lists of the things I need to accomplish typically helps me break down the stressful items into manageable chunks. Plus, crossing things off is a highlight.
- Pick an organizational task to accomplish. This one also falls into the control freak category, but I feel less stressed when I have things in order at home. When I'm fretting about something at work, it helps me relax to clean out a drawer, or sort the mail and recycle things we don't need, or throw out moldy vegetables in the crisper drawer. Being stressed about something else usually fuels me with restless energy I need to channel into a project of some kind, and mindless organization often fits the bill.
- Iron. This is kind of out of left field, right? I almost never iron. Well, I only iron when I'm in panic mode. Something about ironing is soothing to me: you pick an item, lay it down, get rid of the wrinkles, hang it up, DONE. The simplicity comforts me.
- Get outside with my kids. This is one of the most effective ways for me to de-stress. Something about getting out of my normal environment, being outside in the sunshine and letting the kids roam around the park or playground helps me to regain perspective and realize that this is just a moment in time, and that my life is really pretty awesome.
- Read. I always have at least one book going, so when I know I'll be particularly stressed about something I will sometimes splurge on a new book. I mostly read fiction, which helps from an escapist perspective.
I would LIKE to be a person who works out when I feel stressed, but so far, I'm not. Rather, after I've done all the above, I tend to browse shoes online while watching reality television (see above re: escapism).
Now it's your turn... what do you do to relieve stress in YOUR life?