Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Avoiding the Stress Monster

As of recent FM and I have been trying to make some very tough decisions, on top of planning for his return, which we still cannot book a flight for due to a select few heel draggers holding up some paperwork.  If you have read nothing about me in the previous posts, just know this: I am an obsessive planner! I plan dinner for the next day before I have had dinner that evening, I plan what outfit I am going to wear well before I wear it, I plan homecomings and parties months in advance. I like lists. I like Post-its. I like dry erase boards. I like anything that helps to remove little bits and pieces of things from my overwhelmed brain, while still allowing me to remember them.  So to have nothing in place for the next few weeks, anticipating FM’s return but having no general direction for how the week will go, I am honestly starting to crack up!

So I figured today would be a great opportunity to share my favorite methods of stress reduction, since I am certainly putting some, if not all, of them to good use over the next few days!  Please, feel free to take on these methods as your own, share them freely, as I know this military life can be oober stressful at any level, and we milSOs can use all the little breaks we can get! 

1.       A cup of Joe (or tea/cocoa if you prefer)
Yes, I know they say to stay away from caffeinated beverages when you are stressed, but a nice warm cup of coffee allows me to take a step back, even for 30 seconds, and just breathe. (It probably doesn’t help that I’m also a coffee addict, but c’est le vie!) So grab a cup and sit back for a minute, especially if you have to let it brew, and erase your mind.  If you let something creep in, immediately expel it, and just enjoy that brief vacation from thought. 

The wonderfully gigantic coffee mug my
sister purchased for me a few years ago.
2.       Bath and Body Works Aromatherapy
B&BW, also known as my kryptonite, has a great line of Aromatherapy products for just this occasion.  I own them all from candles, to face scrubs, to warming oils and lotions.  I don’t know if it is psychosomatic, but whatever the reason, they do tend to bring the stress level down just a little bit.  I am a big fan of the Eucalyptus Spearmint Smoothing Body Scrub. It’s great to just wash your face and take five minutes to inhale the calming scent whilst doing a personal hygiene duty.  Double tasking while not stressing; my kind of activity! Their line of Sleep products are great also if you need a soother to help make your mind shut down before bed.  Night Time Tea was my favorite scent, but that seems to have gone by the wayside.  I should write them a strongly worded letter about that! (P.S. They're also doing their semi-annual sale right now, which means super discounts on products like these... Big Savings + Stress Relief = Happy Human!)
3.       Yoga
For those of us who just looked at this and went, “uh, exercise? I’m already stressed, why add some more?”, take a breather! Seriously, take a breather while doing some yoga.  The positions for beginners are not difficult, and getting into the rhythm of the soothing motions helps remove your mind from its current state of panic while introducing structured breathing techniques.  I am by no means an avid yogi, but I love being able to disconnect for a bit, fall into the motions, and practice my breathing (always a good reminder that we must breathe to sustain life!).  You can either purchase an instructional DVD for almost nothing at online retail sites like Ebay/Amazon, or head to Target/Walmart and you will definitely find something relatively cheap. You can also check your TV company’s “On Demand” channels, which often offer some free instructional exercise videos.   And don’t worry if you don’t have a mat to practice on, just make sure you are on a steady floor surface (i.e. not an area rug that could slip out from under you). Light one of those Stress candles I was just talking about, and get to it!  
Add a little soothing peace to life!

4.       Writing/blogging
Well, if you are here reading this you probably have your own blog, or appreciate the blogosphere for just this reason; the ability to relieve stress through writing.  It is one of my favorite pastimes, something that I am very excited to have recently gotten back to, and I am beyond glad I started this blog for my personal mental health.  If you haven’t already considered blogging, go ahead, give it a try!

5.       Getting lost in a good book
If you have been following my posts the last couple of days, you would know that I have been participating in the Summer Lovin’ Read-A-Thon.  It has been a great impetus to push me to read a little more during this stressful time, and I am happy to be a part of it.  Grab yourselves a good novel, a raunchy chick book like a Fifty Shades of Grey (E.L. James), or something deep and thought provoking like The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown), or pick up the social scientific end and read up on Guns, Germs, and Steel (Jared Diamond).  Whatever the title or subject, the objective is the same…a distraction from life! And let it be just that! 
You know a library can be a very soothing place to find that
book too!  This is one of my favorites, the New York Public
Library. Grab a book and stay a while!
6.       Vino, vino, vino
If all else fails, a glass (or a bottle depending on the situation) of wine can help to remove much of my stress.  It is a great end-of-the-day treat to look forward to when you know it’s going to be a rough one.  Keep in mind, a bottle of exceptional wine does NOT need to cost you a fortune.  There are a ton of companies out there making cheaper wines that are fantastic. One of my favorites is Smoking Loon’s Cab Sauv, which is really scrumptious wine from California, and will only run you about $6-8.00 (although I have found it for $4.50 on sale at bigger wine retailers). I am also a huge fan of supporting local vineyards, and Long Island is chock-full of them, so I am more than happy to pick up a bottle of Duck Walk Vineyards’ Windmill Blush. Again, in this area at a retailer it can run you around $7.00. And as much as I know we want to erase our days sometimes, please remember to drink responsibly!

So, there are some of my favorite wind-down ways to avoid the stress monster coming out to scare off everyone around me.  Please feel free to share some of your favorite ways to make life go by a little easier when things get hectic, I love to try new things!

Oh, and don’t forget to shuffle over to the Wednesday Walkabout today.  Link up, explore some other blogs, and keep yourself stress free!
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