Tuesday, December 11, 2007

From Tension to Stress

What is it about this time of year? I don't have nearly the amount of presents to buy or promises to keep as most of the people I know. Yet I am feeling really stressed out. I just came off a 4-day migraine that was probably equal parts stress, winter weather and not eating correctly (because of the stress thing). I'm watching the snow coming down, making the roads even more fun to drive on going home than they were coming to work--and they were BAD coming to work.

So what to do? Here's my plan of attack. Which may be an oxymoron when talking about getting rid of stress, but there you go.

1) Lists. Once I have everything I need to do in a list, it makes it seem more manageable.
2) Divvying up the tasks. I tend to try to overdo. [Okay, I hear all of you out there with your sarcastic, "Oh, yeah?"s.] Since I really don't want to get out on the roads today, I keep thinking, "Tomorrow at lunch I'll . . . " I've listed things that will take 4 hours to do on my one-hour lunch break. And none of them involve actually eating lunch. So 2 list items tops at lunch and one after work. There's still Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week. Plus some time next week, too.
3) Let a few things go. Always the hardest for me. But it does help to identify an item or two that I don't really need to get done right now and take them off the list until next year.
4) Do something fun just for the hell of it. Again, a hard one when I'm already feeling overbooked. But stopping for a cup of gingerbread coffee and reading a chapter or two of a book or shooting the bull with a friend I haven't seen in a while can be just what I need to energize for all those other tasks.
5) Take care of my health. That means eating right and making time to exercise. The temptation is to grab Micky D's or some other high-fat, high-cal, high-bad food and eat it in the car. Not conducive to feeling at my best. Pack lunch.

See, I feel better already. So what do you do to relieve stress? Is writing, or not writing, involved?