By Julie, overwhelmed in Somerville.
Friends, this time of year can be a big ball of stress for folks. Wickeds, what is your favorite way to bust stress? Naps, meditation, herbal tea, boxing–what is your secret? If you don’t have one, what would you like to try?
Jessie: I knit. I pull out a pair of needles, a ball of yarn and a pattern that is engaging
enough to hold my attention but easy enough not to lead to frustration. Within very few minutes I feel centered and much more like my best self.
Edith: Boxing! What a thought. I took a kick-boxing class a few (okay, eight) years ago and LOVED it. I remembered my karate roundhouse kicks, the horse stance, the best way to punch. I barely kept up, energy- and heart-rate wise with all the younger members of the class, but I was deeply into it … until I blew out my hamstring. I hobbled home and never went back, but you can’t beat complete exhaustion for stress-busting. Now my fresh-air power walk has to suffice as a stress-buster, or with enough snow, a good hour of cross-country skiing.
Sherry: Read! Books have been my escape for years — my drug of choice because they take me away from my problems and transport me to another world. And also walking. Because we don’t have a fenced yard I walk my dog Lily several times a day. Even when the weather is terrible it’s usually good to be outside if only for a few minutes.
Liz: I love kickboxing too, Edith! I’ve been doing a program called Combat on and off the past few years – it’s a mixed martial arts workout and it’s pretty awesome. That said, lately I’ve been more of a yoga person. Having been practicing fairly regularly since the summer, I am finding it truly is the best thing for mind, body and soul. Throw in some meditation and I might be on my way to zen in no time.
Barb: When it comes to holiday stress, I LEAN IN. If I’m not in a holiday mood, the best remedy for me is to “do all the things,”–put up the tree, decorate the house, bake the cookies, open the little doors on the Advent calendar, send out the cards, wrap the presents, have a lovely lunch in a festively decorated restaurant with good friends. By the time the big day rolls around, I am de-stressed and feeling very Christmas-y. Tradition and ritual are what do it for me. As my children have reminded me, both in words and in expectations, the years when you don’t feel like it are the most important times to do it.
Julie: Friends, as always you inspire. I am determined to get better about doing yoga. I recently knit a Christmas project for a friend, and found it really relaxing. I suspect my friends and family are going to benefit from clicking needles in the coming weeks.
Readers: What’s your favorite stress-buster?
I’m a big fan of hunkering down in a hot bath with lots of smelly stuff (Dr. Teal’s bubble bath is the best!). Reading a book in the tub is the ultimate stress reliever. And if that doesn’t work….wine, copious amounts of wine.
Going in search of Dr. Teals.
My old house had a big clawfoot tub. Perfect for soaking.
Look out the window. So far the sky is still up there!
So often we forget to look up! Clouds, eagles, lovely colors.
Yes–I love to do this–and have to remind myself.
A lovely time of year to do it–crisp winter sky is lovely. Cold, but lovely.
Read…I have escaped, lived other lives, traveled for years by reading!
Ah, the delicious escape of reading.
Don’t you love a book where you just disappear into it?
I color and read. Sometimes throw on Three’s company for the laughs.
Laughing is a great tonic!
My nieces and I love to laugh. They are on a FRIENDS spree. It still holds up pretty well.
When I’m feeling stressed I make a cup of tea and read. If I’m feeling too overwhelmed or anxious to sit down and read, I like to put on music while doing household chores. My favorite songs lift my spirits and helps me to maintain my sense of balance again.
Music can do it!
I’m discovering new to me singers and groups, and remembering how wonderful music is.
When the to-do list gets overwhelming, I pick a project and tell myself I’m going to finish one thing that day. It’s surprising how satisfying checking just one chore off your list can be. (My second answer is “watching the sun set at my Irish cottage,” but that’s a little harder to pull off. I’m missing the winter solstice there today.)
That’s a good tip, Sheila.
I respond more like you do, Sheila. I find it most helpful to do the thing that needs to be done firs and do it. I think having things nag at me to be done, is what creates my stress. I try to start the day by knowing the direction I want it to go with one easy thing I know I can accomplish. I start there. I stay as focused as possible and take planned breathers between each task. Do the dishes. Have a cuppa. Write 500 words. Have lunch. It helps.
Winter solstice at the Irish cottage–sounds like you need to add that to next year’s list. Love the idea of checking things off the list!
One achievement for the day: paid my Irish property tax by linking the payment to my Irish bank account. I think I need a nap now.
Meditation…it’s wonderful for stress…
On the 2017 goal list is to create a space for practice of meditation. I need to make it a habit–so many folks swear by it.
Running sometimes helps, sometimes doesn’t. If I’m wound up enough (like I was last night) I spend the entire run ranting in my head. (and even out loud last night. I was that wound up.) However, playing ultimate frisbee with friends usually does help.
A reading is a very good way for me to relax. I find if I can’t fall asleep, usually because I’m worried about something, that reading will take my mind off of it and let me relax enough to fall asleep. And if I don’t? I get quite a few pages read.
I read when I can’t fall asleep, too.
I used to run, now I walk. If I am really stressed, I get off the T a couple of stops early and take the time to wind my way home. It does help.
Like Sherry. I hide away in my bedroom and read
My brain isn’t quiet enough to read lately, but I do have a pile of books for the holiday week–I usually go through one a day and do little else. It is heaven.
I do all of these–I do yoga & run every week, I read every day and listen to lots of music. I drink wine while I’m making dinner. I think the biggest cure for stress for me is getting enough sleep. I used to stay up late to enjoy the stillness of the house after everyone fell asleep, but then I’d be tired the next day and that’s a form of natural stress. So now I go to bed early with a cup of bedtime tea and a book, no phones or devices and get a good 7-8 hours. I’m happier and healthier from it. Thanks for sharing your stress cures–happy holidays to you all!
I really, really need to work on the sleep thing. Because it does make SUCH a difference! Happy holidays to you as well!!
I’m with Sherry! Except, no dog. Julie, yoga is great for stree-busting, too!
I’ve got to get a regular practice going! I used to be pretty good, now I will be starting from scratch. But you’ve got to start somewhere!
Reading had always been my salvation, my sanctuary from school/work/family. But now it’s a combination of daily exercise (walking, cycling, or snowshoeing), and some uninterrupted reading time (usually early morning).
Wow, reading in the morning seems like it would be such an indulgence for me, Grace. I save it for the end of the day. Like right now!
Chocolate. Lots of chocolate. And books — especially ones like you Wickeds write.
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