I kind of thrive on stress. Have ever since I was in junior high/high school. I think it has something to do with narrowing my focus so that only the immediate task lies ahead of me. (Otherwise, my mind fills with the zillion or so other things I should be doing.)
But it’s an unhealthy habit, and one I’ve been working on jettisoning… with varying degrees of success.
For example, with all the overtime I’ve been working, I feel more or less pulled in every direction. When I’m not working, I’m either sleeping or trying to get a couple of errands done. Lately, Tim has taken to running just about every errand for me because I’m so physically limited.
This means that exercise has pretty much been out of the question, and my diet has gone to hell — both common problems for me when I get stressed. (Yes, I know exercise is a great stress reducer.) And I think we can all agree that the munchies are not frugal in any way, shape or form.
Oh, and just in case I was finally finding my stride, I realized two days ago that BlogHer is this coming week. That means we’ll be in New York in about five days. Gulp.
So, what is to be done?
Well, I’ve been indulging in one of the cheapest forms of stress-management possible: quality time with a pet. I’m told there are actual studies that show your stress level goes down if you just sit and pet a cat. I think it’s the repetitive motion, though I’m sure the rhythmic sound of purring goes a long way toward de-stressing, too.
Since Sandy will purr up a storm if you so much as look at her, she’s practically therapy on wheels. So I’ve been making it a point, at least once a day, to plop on the couch and spend some one-on-one time with the fuzzball.
I’ve also been reading. A lot. Even with all the work I’ve been doing, I am reading nearly a book a day. It feels very indulgent and relaxing. Also, it does spur me on to take naps as needed. (Naps are a lot less fun when they’re necessary. And it just gets old, sleeping all the time. You’d be amazed how quickly you develop an aversion to naps.)
I am also (shock of shock) spending time with my husband. Crazy, I know. But even when both of us are home, it’s amazing how easy it is to end up not spending any quality time together. With my exhaustion and extra work, Tim’s actually been feeling kind of shut out. So my concession is that I’m taking up playing Magic with him, as something we can do together. When he can sit still long enough, I’m also reading to him again.
Of course, there are also free diversions to be had. Like last night’s screening of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. (Incidentally, anyone who has played video games since the 1980s or who enjoys graphic novels needs to go see that film!)
Finally, I plan on using my Groupon massage before we go. It’s the ultimate relaxation for me — especially as someone who carries all her tension in her neck and shoulders. And I feel good knowing that we didn’t have to spend a fortune for it.
I think, as always, the biggest thing for me is remembering that I ask too much of myself. So I need to stop stressing out about doing everything perfectly and, instead, just get it done.
On that note, I am off to spend some quality time with a feline.