|The Glitter Globe/S.R. Karfelt|
Stress reduction is my superpower. The trick is to think outside the box. Way, way, way outside the box. I’m an introvert. Too much peopling makes me tired. Supposedly extroverts get energy being around other people, but introverts get drained. I find that to be true. But I love people, so I regularly jump into the fray until my life force is drained and I must recharge.
These are some of the things that I do when I just can’t.
Mental health days. I have been known to spend an entire day in my pajamas lying on the floor in front of a space heater. Usually I’m reading, because when you just can’t, it helps to change universes via a book. A movie can work too, but books work better. I don’t know why, but they do.
Media blackout. No news via any medium. Once I went four years in a media blackout. I missed the entire first four years of the Obama administration. True story. I was running a photonics business, writing a novel, and homeschooling. There was no room at the inn for anything else. I told you this was way outside the box. I’m serious. AND ignorance is bliss by the way.
Clean. This is usually my very last resort. I hate cleaning. I’d pretty much rather do anything on the planet other than clean, but when I do it I feel more prepared. Getting rid of piles of junk or messes makes me feel better. Sometimes I’ll just clean one cupboard or my closet. Anything.
Nap. Sleeping helps. I don’t think any of us get enough sleep. Sometimes I go to a monastery and just stay for a couple of days. (You can do that at a Benedictine monastery by the way, the cost is nominal and they’ll even feed you.) The monks have said that when people come for a retreat usually they’ll spend the first day or so just sleeping, then apologize for it. But they say that is what you need and the first step to finding some peace. So sleep. Just check out for a while.
Sleep with your partner. And by sleep I mean don’t sleep. It helps if you can get away for a day or so. That’s ideal because then you’re not looking at your messy house or the to-do list. Sometimes that’s not possible though, so your home might have to suffice. Shut off all the electronics, and the lights too if the mess is making you nuts. Then smooch that face.
Do something nice for someone else. This only works if you do it anonymously. Shovel their driveway. Catch their runaway dog or their garbage can blowing down the street. Let someone else have that great parking spot. It doesn’t have to be big or cost anything. But it feels good when you’re tucking down for bed at night and you can remember that one nice thing you did today. I’ll warn you that this one is contagious. You’ll start looking for opportunities.
Make something. Paint. Draw. Decorate. Write. Create. Whatever gives you satisfaction. Creating something goes a long way toward assuaging stress. Creativity = Purpose = Inner Peace.
Stress reduction, especially emergency stress reduction when you’re at maximum load, seems to me to be different than doing things to cheer yourself up. Things like dancing, retail therapy, or a day out with friends. Those things can cheer you up, but I’m talking metal-on-metal, bone-on-bone stress, and genuine ways to recharge when your batteries are completely drained.
Leave a comment if I missed any!