Do I have to be an adult about this?
That was my first thought when our house suddenly lost power for absolutely no reason.
I have two young kids with incompatible drop-off schedules. I have a job. I have a startup. My husband is on a business trip, and yes, he took the modem with him. So I would really, really like Internet access, refrigeration, and electric lights.
Okay, that didn’t work.
I needed some stress-busters. Good ones. Fast. Thanks to the dwindling battery on my phone, I tweeted for help. I emailed for help. I facebooked for help.
I think it’s working. Among the suggestions: Sure, have a glass of wine. But also: Embrace chaos. Get passive-aggressive with your phone. And more. Such as:
Give yourself half an hour at the end of the day to unwind. Turn the computer off. As long as this doesn’t mean I have to go to bed a half an hour later, I like it.
Get outside. Walk the dogs. Accidentally leave the phone behind. This works wonders for Michaela Cavallaro, a senior editor with The Writing Company. Last time she tried it, “The dogs and I had a great walk, I pondered an essay idea and no one spontaneously combusted.”
A quick chair massage. Sure, a day at a spa would be better. If you’ve got time for that a) good for you, and b) you’re probably not as stressed as we are.
Rescue Remedy. I had never heard of this stuff until Kim Knoblauch recommended it over twitter. When I asked around, it turned out some of my friends swear by it. You can put a few drops of the tincture under your tongue or use it as a mouth spray. As my pal Jessica says, “I can’t say that it de-stresses you the way a shot of tequila or a glass of wine would, but it takes the edge off.”
Have a glass of wine. Or a shot of tequila.
Read fiction. Camille Tuuti, a reporter for Federal Computer Week, submitted this one over twitter. She says that reading non-fiction is too much like reading the news. And that is not relaxing.
Roller skate with the kids on a Friday night. This comes courtesy of Dani Kennedy, creative director at Lima Bean Creative. I love it. How can you possibly worry about anything else with all that commotion?
Take a deep breath, pulling air in with your diaphragm. Exhale. I always have to do this a few times before it starts to help.
Have a piece of dark chocolate. This one came via twitter from Susan Steinbrecher, an author and CEO of Steinbrecher & Assoc., a management consulting firm. I don’t know how I missed this very reasonable excuse to increase my chocolate intake, but I won’t be making that mistake any longer. Dark chocolate cues your brain to release endorphins, which may help make you happier and more relaxed.
Knit or crochet. Cross-stitch. Embroider. They’re all distracting and diverting enough to help you get away from your stress, and repetitive enough to be soothing.
Windsurf. Okay, this isn’t going to work in the winter on the East Coast. But windsurfing will take your mind off things. The minute you stop concentrating on anything other than the wind or the water, you’ll be swimming. Talk about instant feedback.
Go for a run. Any physical exercise will do – even a few hours painting the ceiling, says Cynde Ahart Wood, an advertising ad executive. Wood says that “painting the ceiling” is not a new euphemism, although we do think it should be.
Salsa (the dance, not the food). Sonja Thayer swears by this. Via facebook, she says, “Take lessons. As long as you are patient and willing to laugh at yourself, a little progress is inevitable.”
Prioritize. Make a list of everything you have to do, with the most important stuff at the top and the least important at the bottom. Then tear the list in half and throw out the bottom half. This does wonders around the holiday season, too.
Find a gap in the space-time continuum. And tell the rest of us about it when you do! -- KW
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