Thursday, October 9, 2008

stress relief

it's been a VERY busy time these past few months! my husband and i got married and went on our honeymoon. we came back, went house hunting, and bought a house. we're almost all moved in. i'm starting a new job on monday, so it's been crazy at work trying to finish all my projects. when we come home from work, there's moving/painting/organizing to do. to top that off, our weekends are nuts, with either family coming in to town or us going away for the weekend.

the things i love to do when i'm stressed are: take a bubble bath with my favorite book, take a nap, curl up with a cup of tea in my pajamas and watch my favorite shows or catch up on blogs, or make comfort food and have a nice long dinner. but! there's absolutely no time for that, and i'm sure most of you can relate. all the things we can do to relieve stress take time and a quiet house (both of which are precious and unfortunately rare.)

the key to stress relief in crazy times - the times where you are busy and running around from 6am to midnight, whether it's with kids, your job, house errands, whatever - is finding those little moments throughout the day where you can savor something nice. here are my favorite ways to do so:

1) i turn OFF the radio in the car (usually NPR) and drive in silence. it's strangely comforting and makes everything seem less stressful.
2) i count my blessings. when the only things going through my mind are "did i forget to do ___?" or my to do list or "agh, i'd give a million dollars to sit for five minutes" i think of the ways today has been GREAT. a lot of times these blessings are the most basic things: i give thanks for waking up in a house, for eating breakfast, for putting on clothes. when i think about the fact that i could have none of these things, my "stress" seems pretty trivial. by taking time to count my blessings and thank god, i become instantly grounded.
3) i treat myself to starbucks. no, sometimes it doesn't fit into the budget and yes, sometimes it's extravagant. but it's a little something all for me - something i savor. (a pumpkin spice latte sounds pretty good right about now, actually...)
4) i think of the end result. for example, if i'm exhausted but still need to go to the grocery store to get food for dinner and to the drug store to get house supplies, i think of how nice it will be to sit down with my husband for dinner, or to have the things i need at home and not have to run out. if i'm knee deep in a project at work, i visualize the moment i put the report on my boss's desk and how great that will feel. if it's the middle of the night and my dogs need to go out, i think about how great it will be not to have to clean up a mess in the carpet. thinking of the end result makes me work more efficiently and more joyfully.
5) i think about how my attitude reflects on my family. if i'm acting stressed and am no fun to be around, that tone will be reflected in my home. my husband will get cranky. our dogs will get rowdy. but if i arrive home happy, and ready to make my home a welcoming one, the entire mood of my house will be light and fun.
6) i watch a funny youtube clip or read a funny blog. humor can make any situation better!
7) i quickly glance at family photos. i keep my favorites on snapfish, a few on my desk, and a few here and there around the house. if i'm tired of cleaning, i just glance up and look at a funny picture of my husband and i and smile. if i'm at the office late, i look at my grandparent's photo from the day they were married. it's a visual motivator that puts everything in perspective.

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