10 Ways to De-Stress

After a lay off, a move, distracting illness and trying to start over professionally, I have maxed out my stress threshold.  I have found that the best thing to do is to start from ground zero and rebuild my stress reducing routines.  It can be difficult to regroup when stress starts affecting your health.  The worst part is, many people don’t realize what a large role stress plays.  I have compiled the following list that worked for me. 

1)  Listen to more music! – Music, whether it’s classical, rock, jazz or heavy metal, is always good for the soul.  Put the iPod in the docking station and turn it up.  Switch on your favorite radio station and kick back.  It doesn’t matter how, or where, you listen, as long as you enjoy it.

2)  Take a relaxing bath or shower – Girls, get your bubbles or salts, a magazine and a glass of wine.  Guys, turn up the heat and stand under the water at full blast.  Personally, I take the time to use a special facial scrub, take off any old nail polish, get the fruit scented soaps, lotions and shave gels and I take a long shower with hot water.  I even take the time for extra conditioner in my hair.  Warmer water can loosen tight muscles and the steam can open your pores.  Taking your time and focusing on taking care of yourself will really take the stress out of a long day.

3)  Treat yourself to a heat and/or massage item – There are loads of relaxation tools out there, so find one that suits your needs.  Foot pillows, eye masks and massage seats are all great purchases.  My favorite is a pillow that heats up in the microwave and wraps around the neck.  It removes all the tension that I collect in my neck and shoulders.

4)  Read the funnies – It doesn’t matter if it’s in the newspaper or a book of your favorite Sunday comics.  Calvin and Hobbes always puts a smile on my face.  And the fact that it is a comic strip takes me back to happy memories of my parents reading the newspaper while all of the kids passed the comics secion around. 

5)  Watch a funny movie – I’m not talking about a random chuckle or two.  I want you to get the movie that makes you laugh for at least half of the running time.  The more laughs the better.  Laughter has been proven to have positive effects on your body.

6)  Start a hobby or a project – My husband loves to fish and hunt, and whether you knit, scrapbook, or build model cars, a hobby can be very relaxing and a great escape from the every day pressures.  As for me, I haven’t found one particular hobby that holds my interest, however, a new home holds many exciting ideas for projects.

7)  Get regular exercise – If you are like me, even the word exercise is enough to turn your stomach.  I HATE exercise.  Sadly, though, I have to admit, it has made a significant improvement in my health.  There are so many different ways to work out, you are bound to find something you like eventually.  Just keep trying until you find it.  Mix it up, try different styles.  Most of all, stick with it.  I promise, it gets easier after a while!

8)  Keep your diet in check – Look, I am the last person to tell anyone to stay away from chocolate.  All I am saying is be smart.  Moderation is your friend.  Control your portions.  You can still fill your stomach without overfilling.  And guess what?  Fruits and vegetables really can be good.  Who knew? 

9)  Enjoy some family photos – You might not be like me; I take photos of every occasion, get-together and for no reason at all.  However, whether you have 20 or 2000 photos, it’s nice to take a minute to walk down memory lane and remember some good times you’ve had.  For maximum benefits, look through them with a friend or family member, too!

10)  Count to 10 – When things get hectic and it seems that you are snapping at every little thing, it’s time to rethink your reactions.  It’s time to stop overreacting.  Take 10 seconds before responding to anything when you feel ready to yell or freak out.  Your kids spills a full bowl of cereal and milk and you are ready to scream at how careless they are.  Stop, breathe and think.  There’s a better response in you somewhere.  You can scold if it was intentional, but be rational.  And if it was accidental, have them help you clean it up and show them how to be more careful. 

Even if you only use one or two of these suggestions, be sure to get the most out of them.  Stress can create havoc in your life and body.  Keep it together and take care of yourself.


Get Inspired

Trying to get inspired is proving to be more tough than I thought it would be.  I’ve been exploring different television shows and movies attempting to stimulate my mind visually.  Reading new books in any topic to spark my imagination.  I have even engulfed myself in decorating our new home to get my creativity flowing again.  The good news is, my mind has flooded with ideas.  The bad news, I don’t know what to do with them all. 

I am definitely well aware of my interests, but I am having difficulty deciding how to focus them.  I love the entertainment industry, enjoy the evolution of fashion, follow current trends, I even did stand up comedy once.  Now, how do I mix this with writing?  Do I try to become a critic?  Write analytical pieces on the latest happenings?  It would be opinionated and hopefully quick witted.  How about a book?  I also love design and organization topics.  I am an excellently smart shopper and could provide insightful tips on how to purchase items that are not only right for you, but how to save money doing it.  Then again, I have quite a bit of accumulated advice about how to live a happy life.

Where do I go from here?  Gather multiple writings about multiple topics?  With the social media world developing so fast, I could use that to promote my writings.  My biggest question is, how to find a singular direction?  And quite frankly, do I have to decide singularly?  How do you break into an industry that requires experience and extensive credentials?  With any luck, I’ll find an unlocked door to stick my foot in.  I truly believe that everyone should be able to do what they love.  Every person should be able to wake up in the morning and look forward to working.

For Kids Who Hate Their Teachers

Back when I was in high school, I had a teacher who was tough.  We all have had them.  They always seemed to pick on you when you didn’t have your hand raised.  They checked your homework first on what seemed like only the days you forgot to do it.  They grilled you on every test and quiz.  Well, mine was no different.

She was my Spanish teacher.  She was from Mexico and she was dead serious about teaching her students.  She had a glare that could cut like a high-powered laser.  I always felt like she had it out for me.  The funny thing was, I loved taking Spanish.  When the end of my junior year came, I decided not to take Spanish the next year to fit in an Accounting class.  Needless to say, the oral part of my final exam was delivered as questions as to why I was not taking Spanish the next year. 

As painful as those years with her were, and I did have her as a teacher more than once, Spanish stuck with me.  I used it when I got into a car accident with a family that did not speak English.  I used it at my job when we received correspondence in Spanish.  My children know a bit of it, as well, due to my penchant to use it wherever I can. 

So, recently, I happened to run into this Spanish teacher at a local store.  It’s been 15 years since I have seen her.  When I stated my name, she smiled broadly and gave me a welcoming hug.  And I, too, was surprisingly thrilled to see her.  We chatted about our families and our lives for almost a half hour in the store that day.  I walked away so happy that I was able to see her again and incredibly stunned at my own reaction to her. 

Then I realized the horrible truth.  Even in my stubborn and slightly rebellious attitude as a teenager, I truly appreciated the fact that she pushed me in her class.  I was glad to have someone constantly making sure that I was learning the material and who cared about my success.  And today, I am still glad that I had a teacher like her who made me enjoy learning a language so much that I still try to use it as much as I can, even without a professional need to do so. 

So, for all those kids out there that have this type of teacher, try and ease up on them.  It really is a wonderful thing to have a teacher who cares.  And it kills me to say this, but when your parents give you that eternally annoying phrase, “you’ll understand when you’re older”…you really will.