Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Time to Destress

I've written about how stress has plagued me throughout my childhood and into adulthood. I jokingly blame my father, who passed along his stress to me, but I know there are plenty of ways to decrease, avoid, and deal with stress. So when life gets hectic, I do my best to turn to those techniques to help me relax, sleep better, and relieve tension.

Turns out, I haven't been doing such a great job of all that lately. I knew things were feeling off, but I figured it was just that so much was going on. Among work, after school cheer practices, blogging, exercising, traveling, cooking, spending time with family and friends, and carrying on with life's basic requirements (yes, I consider playing with Scout a requirement), I wasn't finding time to unwind, detox, unload all the pressure. Sure, I was going out with friends and hanging out with Terry, but it was all rushing from one place to the next and completely omitting time for me (aside from exercise, which is one of my favorite "me-time" activities).

And yesterday, it all caught up to me. It was a fairly typical Monday: wake up later than I hope, drive to work, a few discipline issues at school, phone calls to/from students' parents, no time to sit down, drive home in traffic. You know, the usual. But after I got home and checked my computer for 20 minutes or so, my neck and shoulders had completely tightened up. They were knotted into fiery bundles of tension. My neck ached, my head ached, my shoulders and upper back ached.

Stressed, much?

Obviously, I decided working out would be the best idea to relieve the tension. I threw on one of my Bob Harper DVDs, only to realize (16 minutes in) that kettlebell swings probably aren't the best way to relax the neck and shoulders. Man, I'm brilliant. Then we ran two miles, which actually did help. Cardio rocks my world for shaking off the weight on my shoulders.

But my bedtime, everything was aching again. I felt like my shoulders were up at my ears (I actually checked to make sure they weren't). Three Advil and a generous application of IcyHot later, I managed to sleep without too much trouble. Sadly, the aches were all back again this morning and got worse throughout the day. This afternoon, 25 minutes on the treadmill and 30 minutes of yoga worked wonders, but I'll throw on some more IcyHot before bed tonight for good measure.

Looking at my upcoming week, it's a bit daunting to figure out how to decrease my stress level. The end of the school year has me running around all day at school, and I'll get home after six every night this week. But no excuses! Here's the plan:

  • Don't be afraid to ask for help. Now's the time to lean on Terry, let him take care of dinner or cleaning. At work, I can delegate or rearrange to give myself small breaks.
  • Put off the stuff that can wait. I shouldn't feel guilty if I can't get laundry done until the weekend.
Extra large bottles of Stella are acceptable.
  • Breathe. The pile of grading isn't going to get smaller by having a panic attack. 
  • Make time for the important stuff. Exercise, healthy food, time with family/friends/spouse/pets.
And Jeopardy! Which featured (Bruin) Kareem Abdul Jabbar tonight - hilarious picture, yeah?
  • Sleep. As much as possible. 
  • Spend time with this little guy.

 Hope you have a relaxing, stress-free Wednesday!


  1. Wow, so replace the school stuff with hospital stuff and I swear you just wrote the last week and a half of my life! Ever since getting back from Blend, I've been go, go, go! And with Mother's Day last weekend, I only got a few hours of peace on Sunday night before it was time to start the workweek all over again. I know I would benefit from a good sweat sesh, but try as I might, I just can't seem to get my butt in gear...I wake up too late to make it to the gym in the morning, and by the time I get off work, I feel like I could face plant at any moment...in the last 9 days, I've worked out twice :(

    I put in for a day off tomorrow and although I know I'll have to go back in on Friday, it's nice to know that I can have a whole day just to myself (and I'm not telling anyone that I'm taking off!) I'm going to try to focus on me and NOT the lack of housework I've been doing and hopefully, by the end of the day, I'll be out of this funk and back to normal!

    Can I borrow Terry for dinner making and cleaning? ;)

    1. I totally feel you! And I'm glad I'm not the only one. Good for you taking a day off work. I really need that, it's just not an option so close to the end of the school year. But let's power through together! I'll be thinking of you and hoping for some peace and time to relax soon! :-) So good to hear from you btw!