Ask The Internet: Reducing Stress?

by Ginger on October 10, 2011

in I'm a Disaster

I have 10 minutes left of the lunch break I’m forcing myself to take (stop looking at the blinking message light on your work phone Ginger. It can wait 10 minutes), and I’m making myself do anything but work.

On the way to work this morning I forced myself to stop every time my thoughts drifted towards the upcoming work day (stressing about it in rush hour traffic isn’t going to get it done any faster Ginger. It can wait until you get there), instead turning the music up and singing along to every song that came on.

Tonight on the way home, I’m going to try and force myself to ignore whatever happened today (worrying about it on your home won’t do anything about it Ginger. Wait until you’re back in the office tomorrow), instead thinking about the little boy and his dad who are waiting for me at home.

I’m overly stressed about work, clearly, and I’m bringing that stress into every part of my life. But my goal this week is to STOP THAT, or at least vastly reduce it. I need to reduce my stress level some, both for my general well-being and to make me more effective at work, and I’m starting with the idea that work needs to stay at work. And that I need a lunch break in the middle of the day that is TRULY work free.

But I feel like there’s more I can try, which is where you guys come in.

So tell me, internet, how do YOU destress? How do you stop the constant repetition of issues and problems (be they work or home or other) that leads you to crappy sleep, a short temper, and all around bad-moody-ness?

 

 

el dimwell October 10, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Sometime early in college, I found a site on deep breathing techniques and meditation. It sort of hit a nerve with me and I picked it up pretty quickly.

Now, whenever I find myself highly stressed or super snarky, I try to take 15 minutes to listen to some appropriate music (I like Aphex Twin’s ambient stuff for this lately) and, breathe, and clear my mind.

Ginger October 11, 2011 at 9:12 pm

You and my husband. He’s big on that stuff right now. I probably SHOULD look into it…

Cloud October 10, 2011 at 1:23 pm

If the stress is caused by having too much to do: My method is to know what is actually urgent at work, and write the other stuff on my to do list, to worry about when I get to it. I focus on the things that are actually urgent, and can usually clear those off and leave feeling free and clear. I don’t worry about the other things, because they are written down, so I won’t forget about them. Sure, I still have a full to do list, but I’m pretty confident that the things that had to get done are done. This isn’t just set by external deadlines, but also by the internal deadlines of my projects.

That is pretty wishy-washy, so I’ll try to explain. Right now, I’m revamping one of the key systems I manage. I have promised to deliver it by the end of the month. I also have a spreadsheet to complete for my boss, and a report to write for my boss’s boss, an interview to schedule to allow me to hire some help, and a bunch of random little things that need doing.

I have a big list with all of these on it. But I know that TODAY I need to finish that stupid spreadsheet (due tomorrow), schedule some meetings to move my revamping project along (already done!), and get that interview scheduled.

The report needs to be written within a week, so it can wait until tomorrow or Wednesday. There are a lot of other tasks on my revamping project, but they aren’t gating anything, so they can wait, too. The interview is going to require a lot of schedule juggling, so I need to get that underway ASAP.

I’m also pretty vicious with myself about procrastination. If I catch myself goofing off too much at work, I start writing daily to do lists. See my post on working through a slump for more on that method.

Now, if the stress is from general jerks playing politics, etc- then I find that yoga and beer help.

Good luck!

Cloud October 10, 2011 at 9:53 pm

I liked this topic, so I expanded my answer it to an entire post: http://www.wandering-scientist.com/2011/10/on-having-to-much-to-do-lists-and.html

I hope you don’t mind!

Tim@sogeshirts October 10, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Sometimes going to some of my favorite places help such as a relaxing coffee shop or going to the beach. However right now nothing is working for me either and it is pure suckage right now.

Michelle October 10, 2011 at 6:34 pm

I need quiet time away from the “usual suspects” to help destress. I need alone time that isn’t in my typical day-to-day. Window shopping, coffee shop, a long walk with pretty scenery usually can do it. And yoga always always helps me destress. I know it sounds so cliche, but I feel so much better after yoga.

I hope you’re able to find something soon. I hate that feeling. :/

KT October 11, 2011 at 7:47 am

One word: alcohol. 🙂

Yesterday I was angry and it was too early to drink so I vigorously cleaned. Not as fun, but at least you feel like you accomplished something afterwards!

Ginger October 11, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Oh, me and the alcohol have been besties lately. Never fear!

Kim October 11, 2011 at 9:01 am

Yoga. When my stress level hit the high alert level this summer, I bought an unlimited month of yoga & it helped so much. I had already checked out the studio & knew which teacher I liked, so I took her class twice a week for a month. This may not be an easy thing for you to do, but it soooo helped me.

Jen October 11, 2011 at 9:46 am

Obviously, as one who teaches yoga, I’m going to also chime in with yoga. However, if the stressor is time, it completely defeats the purpose to go to a yoga class and spend the entire time glancing at your watch and thinking about your massive to-do list to tackle when it’s over. If it’s available to you, I frequently drag my husband to class with me so that we’re also getting time together as well as exercise and destress time (this helped him immensely with work-related stress in the last year).

Ginger October 11, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Yoga does keep coming up, but right now we just don’t have the $ for a class. Are there any videos you think might work even reasonably well (I know it’s not the same as a class, but…well, maybe it’s better than nothing?)

clara October 12, 2011 at 7:44 am

Write it all down. In a little notebook or whatever is handy — post-its? — THIS JOB IS STRESSING ME OUT I HATE THE BLAH BLAH BLAH AND THE OTHER THING AND ALSO JESUS H I AM LOSING MY MIND INEED A VACATION. Then draw a picture of yourself as mad as you can handle. Then laugh because you can’t draw (unless you can, in which case I’m sorry). Then go for a walk fast enough to get your heart pumping. Then go home and drink one of those crazy salt beers you like.

But also? I have noticed, through the past crappy month I have had, that the more I drink at night the worse I sleep (this is not Rocket Science, I know, but I had forgotten) and the grumpier I feel in the morning. It is amazing what a difference no alcohol at night makes. I’ve been trying to have one drink or fewer several nights a week (which makes me sound like I drink a lot but usually I have two, sometimes three glasses of wine … between before dinner, during dinner, and post-dinner.) (depending on the day)

And, I have a piece of paper with some stretches / breathing that can be done in 10 minutes on your bedroom floor. If I can figure out how to scan & send to you I will.

Elizabeth November 5, 2011 at 7:47 am

I leave Hannah with Eric and drive to Bill Millers and get a bucket of unsweet tea and drink it all in the parking lot while reading. It gives me just enough time to decompress, so that I can be calm for them at home.

Geez. That sounds so Texan.

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