Striving for emotional health

They say you should learn to recognize signs your body and mind may be giving you when they want to tell you that you are stressed. If my 2-month eye twitch is any indication, then yes, I may be slightly stressed. It comes and goes, but most of it is to do with work and wanting to get things resolved so that I can get back to kicking the trash out of one job rather than eye-twitching my way through two. Is that so much to ask?

Yesterday was a long 12-hour day wherein I oversaw the library's employee/substitutes/volunteer Christmas party. It was a lot of fun but I'm kind of exhausted and getting slightly cranky. Also I have a cold, which turns me into the biggest whiny baby alive. I can just see me, years from now, forcing my small children to bring me orange juice and chicken soup and my down comforter because Mommy is sick and cannot possibly parent today.

I realized, however, that I might be getting near the end of the rope when my inability to locate the frozen juice section at the grocery store this morning had me dropping mental F-bombs. Because really? The F-word? Over juice? That does not seem right.

There were a few grocery store moments, though, which re-affirmed my faith in tiny miracles. I hate buying spices at the grocery store. I hate it because they all cost about $8,000 and you just know that someone is getting a better deal at a dollar store or World Market or spice plantation somewhere but you don't have the time to go find that better deal because you're making wassail for tonight, tonight! And then you hate yourself for sucking and you hate McCormick for sucking even MORE. I had to buy a brick-sized container of cinnamon sticks for $5.99 even though I only needed one. But it was almost the same price as the tiny McCormick jar and I just couldn't give them the satisfaction. So does anyone need some cinnamon sticks?

Here is where the miracles come in. I found whole cloves for $1.69. I picked up the tiny container and whispered, "I honor you." And then I gave the $5.99 McCormick cloves the Eyebrow and a French pfffffft. Suckaaaahs. In the frozen juice aisle, where I was looking for both orange juice and pineapple juice, I found orange-pineapple juice. Lovely. Lovely, beautiful, faith-in-human-race-affirming moments.

Also, I'm sensing a sick day coming up reeeeal soon. Anyone out there have any good stress-managing techniques that do not involve running away from your job or telling people to go screw themselves?

cinnamon sticks image by Mika


Yankee Girl said... [reply]

Normally I would suggest chocolate (and by chocolate I mean british chocolate), but it is hard to properly appreciate food when you are sick--I have a whole bag of Cadbury Twirls sitting at home waiting for me to get better. So, may I suggest drugging yourself up and then getting a massage.

Jenny said... [reply]

Can you go lock yourself in your car or somewhere else alone for a few minutes and close your eyes, take deep breaths and listen to christmas music or something? Or eat chocolate, or splurge and order yourself a fabulous lunch, or see if you can get your little sister to give you a head massage. That would de stress me. I hope tomorrow is better and your cold goes away soon.

amyjane said... [reply]

Ennhhh. I have to go buy cinnamon sticks for the wassail today as well. Wish I could just come get half of yours and hand you 3 bucks. Do we use the same wassail recipe--I can't remember!

Usually Happy said... [reply]

Why do I always find myself reading your blog and thinking "Gosh, I wish I were good friends with her..." Not in the weird obsession way, don't worry. But I really do love reading it.

T & J & V said... [reply]

this works for me and i have a feeling that as a fellow brit lover it may work for you - turn off all phones, grab some warm yummy chicken noodle soup, grab your beloved comforter and snuggle up on the couch for some prime Pride&Prejudice time. This will not only help relieve stress but maybe the rest and chicken noodle soup will help with the cold.

Audrey said... [reply]

I suggest a massage and a pedicure. There is nothing more relaxing and satisfying than having someone else fix your sore spots and mess with your feet so that you don't have to. And you can read People magazine and eat your British chocolate whilst getting the pedicure. That's what I always do when I get too stressed. (Except make it a pint of Ben & Jerry's for me.)

And good luck to you!

Nemesis said... [reply]

These are all such good suggestions! I actually have a gift certificate for a massage and have been saving it. I think the opportune moment is here, so have just booked an appointment for Saturday. Yay for hands on my naked body!

Squirrel Boy said... [reply]

Right now I think homemade wassail sounds like a good stress-management technique. Mmm. Wassail.

I've got my own eye twitch that just started a few days ago. I should probably do something about that soon.

Miss Hass said... [reply]

I remember paying almost 9 dollars for a little container of ground cloves. I considered keeping them in my lockbox because, honestly, I don't have a lot of things that cost more than that...

As for stress, I bake a lot. Of course, then you have to find people to give the food to so you don't blow up like a balloon.

kristen said... [reply]

I vote for the telling people off way to destress. Nothing like yelling at a few patrons. C'mon, tell them how you really feel!

Go you for the super shopping. I absolutely love finding deals. It makes me feel so warm and fuzzy.

Scully said... [reply]

Hot, bubble baths work. They are relaxing AND the steam helps with the clogged sinuses etc. Just don't get it so hot you almost pass out, because that would just be humiliating.

sakhmet said... [reply]

Crawling under the comforter with a copy of _Anastasia Krupnik_ or a book of Phillip Levine poems is a favorite de-stresser of mine. Also, the massage. I think that's a better choice, really. And are you sucking down Zicam? (Also, as for your mental f-bombs, just be glad that's not your out loud voice. Last year's resolution totally didn't work and I'm still a filthy swearbox.)

Rynell said... [reply]

I second all those suggestions for soothing soup and movies. Sleep is also beneficial, in case you didn't know that...;)

KarateMommy said... [reply]

So, I don't know if you know this, but one of the local grocery stores, not L**'*, but S****'*, carries spices and such, in bulk. It's where I've been buying all of mine recently. And because they're in bulk, and we're "stickin it" to McCormick, of course each spice and seasoning tastes and smells better :). They are at the end of the isle of the natural food section - by the other bulk foods like granola and nuts, etc. Oh, and you dont' have to buy 300 cinnamon sticks - you can just buy one if you wish. I think you're good on cinamon sticks for about 40years though.

Jér said... [reply]

I got a deep-tissue massage last week, and it was DIVINE. I highly recommend it. Also, swearing out loud.

audrey said... [reply]

"Yay for hands on my naked body!"

*snort* We single Mormon gals take what we can get!

chosha said... [reply]
This comment has been removed by the author.
chosha said... [reply]

Hey I have two suggestions for your cinnamon sticks.

1. Get them out when you're having hot chocolate with friends. One in each cup to use as a stirrer, and then as a straw. Delicious!

2. This works better is you have fairly long cinnamon sticks, but a fantastic item (and gift idea) can be created by weaving cinnamon sticks together (in the manner of a small raft) to make a trivet. When a hot dish is placed on it, the smell of cinnamon fills the air.

Catherine said... [reply]

I love your subject line because I am always striving for emotional health! I have two de-stressers that are maybe weird and maybe more long-term, but I love them passionately.

1. 12-step programs. I really identified with your description of the ways you know you are maybe a leetle tiny bit stressed... the eye-twitching, the f-bombs... and especially to having to rely on those external things to let you know that you are stressed out.

It's hard to explain why, but working 12-step programs on stuff like money and food and work and relationships totally changed all of that for me. I got to be way more in touch with my feelings from the inside out, and I learned what to do with stress and fear and anger and the things that caused them.

I guess a lot of it for me was the fourth step, which was a lot of writing about those things and finding out what stuff I needed to change - and knowing that I could deal with my feelings so I didn't have to avoid them until I was really really stressed, which is what I was doing before! 12-step programs in general have a huge focus on serenity, so I guess that everyone in them must be getting that out of it.

I especially like Debtors Anonymous, which is for anyone who has issues with time or money, or Codependents Anonymous, which is for anyone who has issues with, you know, people. In general :) It's easy for people to be like "Well I don't have enough debt for that, or I'm not codependent, or I can't possibly be an alcoholic or overeater or whatever, so I can't use their tools." But mostly 12-step programs are really about just having a healthy relationship with whatever their focus is (food/money/people/etc.) and who can't use that?

2. Meal planning. I love it! Grocery shopping was so much less stressful after I started figuring out in advance what I wanted to be eating and what ingredients I needed and how much it would cost (more or less) and then just grabbing those things in the store. I mean, there is still all the crowds, the lines, the way they reorganize the aisles all the time to get you to impulse buy... et cetera....

Or you could have me do it for you :) I've started a business where I send people a box with groceries, recipes, and a suggested meal plan, so all they have to do is cook. No more chasing down the cheapest prices or fighting through crowds. I aim more for the maybe-pricier organic food, but it is fairly cheap here in California so it is still only $40 a week or less per person, which I hear a lot of people spending on regular groceries no matter where they are. You should check it out :)


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