March has been a whirlwind for me – I moved apartment and am also having the busiest month at work yet. More than ever, I’m realizing just how much I value taking some time for myself, taking a breather to regain some energy. Here are a few things I tend to do in times of stress:
1) Taking a walk. It’s a scary thought, but I could literally go a few days without going outside as I commute from garage to garage each day, so I make it a point to get some fresh air once in a while. During my lunch break, I love to take a stroll in the neighborhood for anywhere from 5 minutes to half an hour. It clears my mind and nicely divides the day in half. Since I have (veryy luckily) lived near the ocean for the past 6 years or so, I also absolutely love taking a walk near the beach – not necessarily on the sand, but just anywhere where I can see the ocean. Even though it pretty much always looks the same, I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of it. It’s like you’re at standing at the edge of the world.
2) Cooking. I don’t do nearly enough things with my hands. While I enjoy making tables and graphs and deep thinking, it’s really refreshing to create something with my hands as a change of pace. I’m not as good of a cook as I’d like to be yet, but it’s always satisfying to create something physical. Plus cooking is probably the most practical habit out there! It’s cheap and no one can live without food.
3) Blogging. Speaking of creating something, there’s nothing I am more proud of producing than content on this blog. As I’ve written about before, this is a space that’s truly “me”. Even though it can take a lot of time and effort to create something that I’m happy with, what motivates me is the the pride I feel when I see my vision and thoughts come to life.
4) Trip planning. This is a bit weird but it’s unbelievable how much time I spend looking up everything travel related. I don’t use the word “obsess” lightly, but honestly I become so obsessed when I get into planning a trip. When I have a really long day at work, I sometimes find it hard to relax doing normal night-in stuff like watching a show or reading. My brain is so tired that I can’t focus on anything serious. Instead, I start looking at the map, researching and reading about destinations, hotels, the weather, best month to visit, flight prices… Don’t get me wrong, most of the time I’m fully aware that these trips aren’t likely to happen. If all the trips I’ve ever planned happened, I’d never be able to have a real job. However, looking these things up in itself is already an escape for me, and I go into incredible detail into the planning. I guess that adds to the feeling that these trips are well within reach, and if they do become a reality, I’ll be ready to go!
5) Shoppinggg! OF COURSE it’s on the list. It’s actually one the reasons I kind of enjoy going through some stressful times, because it makes treating myself to anything just that much more rewarding and justifiable. I don’t like to randomly make a big purchase on an ordinary day. It’s not that I don’t deserve it since I’d be using my own hard earned money, but I feel like I don’t particular deserve it either. After an especially exhausting and productive week, however, I am able to better enjoy anything I want guilt-free. And it’s a GREAT feeling.
All in all, I think a certain amount of stress is actually a good thing, at least for me. I feel more motivated, decisive and carefree, because I don’t have time to have excuses. Things need to be done already.
What do you do when you’re stressed out?