Mrs. Clean

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What do you do to relieve stress? I’m interested to know. I’m actually quite overwhelmed with the variety of tips, the wide range of solutions and the so called “easy” fixes. There are so many “remedies” out there…….

1. Listen to music. Hmm ok. Music is fantastic, I’ll agree with that. But, genre choice is “key” (haha, made myself chuckle at the pun). Anyway….I like a really wide variety of music – and even if I hit shuffle on my iPod I’m going to eventually come across a song that either makes me sadder or more frustrated than when I hit play. For me, when I’m frustrated, stressed, angry, etc…I prefer Pink. She’s such a wonderfully angry, jaded woman. I’m not certain that it relieves my stress though – it probably feeds it! And then, I generally love Adele. But seriously, if you’re already a little sad or feeling blue – she’s really not who you should have blaring. All the talk of love lost and being lonely and wishing happiness for someone else….phew, tear factory on CD!! The advice column I read suggested listening to Yo-Yo Ma…..maybe the emotionally packed things I typically choose don’t really help…go figure!

2. Call a friend. Yeah, but what if having a friend is part of the problem? What if, for example, you don’t really have a true friend you feel comfortable calling – I would suggest that this solution actually causes more stress. See I’ve been in this situation. I’m stressed, overwhelmed or having a particularly blah blue day and someone will say, “You should call someone and talk, that usually really helps.” Well yes, but if a source of my sadness is that I have no one to really call and vent to or anyone to go grab a cup of coffee with and lament over the tragedies of life – well then that does me no good. It actually just magnifies the problem. I go from a sad, frustrated little lady to a sad, frustrated lady with no friends who will inevitably end up with a zillion cats to assuage her need for friendship. Great.

3.Talk yourself through it. Hahahahaha. Really? Um, ok. I think this is when I’m supposed to tell myself that being a sad, crazy cat lady will be okay and to embrace my future with gusto. Who gives this so-called “advice” anyway???

4. Eat right. In theory this is probably a great idea. But let’s be honest here….when I’m stressed or depressed I don’t usually reach for the fresh veggies and tofurkey. You will find me having potato chips and dip and digging in the candy jar for a chocolate bar whilst sipping a glass of wine. Healthy? Probably not. And yes, I realize that the aftermath most likely adds to my stress and sadness – those extra 3 pounds can make the tailspin I’m already in move a little faster. I would really like to meet the person that meets stress or the blues with vegetables – and I mean a real life person – not the make believe ones in the advice columns. I think I could learn a lot from that person – and if I could put this piece of advice into practice I’m thinking that I would most likely be skinnier than I was in high school!!

5. Breathe easy. The columnist suggested sitting in a chair for 5 minutes taking “deep cleansing breaths.” I’ve given that a go and was near brown bag urgency for hyperventilation. And I would like to add that for me when I take those 5 minutes to breathe I tend to ruminate on the problem instead of “letting it go.” Which of course leads to how I handle numbers 1 through 4.

6. Laugh it off. Ok I will readily admit that this is great advice, but in the midst of an issue it’s often extremely difficult or near impossible to release a burst of giggles. I understand the biological reasoning – the release of endorphins and all that – but in reality laughing at a situation that makes you want to scream and cry is a tough thing to do. The columnist suggested Monty Python – guess it’s a good thing I have wifi on my phone!! I suppose I should put some clips on my “favorites” app – just for those times when I’m in need of an emergency chuckle.

7. Try tea. Sounds soothing, yes? It has less caffeine than coffee, less stimulating effects, less effect on blood pressure – it doesn’t send your system into overdrive according to the article. Well, I’m all for tea. Tea is fantastic. I love all varieties….my most favorite being that of Long Island. I’ll have 2 thanks.

8. Be mindful. The suggestions are to try tai chi or yoga – some type of meditation. I’m sure this helps. I don’t think that I’m going to be hopping in the car and making my way to the local dojo (is that how you spell that??), but my guess is that all of you folks who participate in those things regularly are a bit more balanced than me. I admire people who practice this quiet zen type of thing. But so far I can’t put myself in that category. I’ve noticed that most of those folks are also the ones who reach for veggies and sip chamomile tea – and not the other stuff so much.

9. Exercise. Does stretching for the candy jar on the top shelf of the cabinet count?

10. Sleep better. Oxymoron much? If I could do that then maybe I might stand a chance at even one of the other suggestions – and if I could do one of those then maybe I would sleep better….see the dilemma here??

So – here’s what I do. I clean. And I don’t mean I straighten things up or put away the shoes from the foyer. I scrub and mop and vacuum and dust and scrub a little more. I clean the trash can and the soap dish. I throw away most of what isn’t bolted down. I wipe down mirrors and wash windows and clean blinds. I find it very therapeutic. It allows me time to focus on something other than my problems and burns off some energy and even has a lovely productive end. Those that live with me consider it to be a bit obsessive – and maybe it is. I’ll be the first to admit that I may have some odd tendencies. But hey – it helps and the floors are clean enough to eat off of!!

 

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