Real Life. Real People.
Stressed Out By Life

What I Learned About Life When My Husband Got Fired!
From Chapter 12: Desserts Spelled Backwards Is Stressed. And Vice Versa.

Although Red has tackled most of the critical issues brought on by her new "life", she now hears herself saying the most outrageous things (at least for her) and recognizes her behavior is out of character. Nothing serious, but enough for her to realize she was becoming overwhelmed by stress caused by her new responsibilities. Black sends her an email with a sarcastic stress management technique, but Red needs more than humor.

I loved your e-mail. Obviously, I can't "drown" my problems, but I sure need some other ways to reduce stress. Any ideas?

Here are your options:
A: Identify and eliminate things that are causing you stress.
B: Adjust your attitude and/or outlook.
C: Find a way to temporarily escape.
D: All of the above.

I vote for C. Listing what's causing me stress won't eliminate any of them. And I'm not sure what you mean by adjusting my attitude or outlook.
Change your perspective and how you look at things.
Still not sure what you mean. Give me an example.
OK. If I get annoyed or frustrated with Larry, I realize the best way to a man's heart is through his chest with a sharp knife!
Funny, but not a real answer.
Realer than you realize. One of the health columns in The Wall Street Journal referenced research that shows a connection between laughter and health, and how laughter reduces a stress hormone.
Thank you for that scientific study, but besides male-bashing jokes, do you have any advice which is a bit more practical?
That was practical. You need to try and lighten up. First of all, worrying about what has already happened is a total waste of time. Worrying about what might happen is also a waste of time. I know that things happen for a reason and things will work out, one way or another, and so I look ahead and do not dwell on the past. I may not be able to control the situation, but I know I can control how I deal with it — and that eliminates much of the stress in my life. And if I can laugh about any aspect of it — that makes things even better.
I guess we look at things differently. I don't think I can put myself in your shoes (beside the fact I can't afford them) and look at things that pragmatically. But I know there are times you are under stress because you get pissy with me.
True. And when I sense a "pissy" mood, as you call it, I go for a long run and think things out. Because running is a rhythmic activity (as is vacuuming, or so I am told), it allows my body to get into its own rhythm and then my mind is free to work out problems, find solutions or merely daydream. I usually come back with a plan or at least a clearer perspective on things, which makes me feel much better.
I don't picture myself in your running shoes, either! And vacuuming was not exactly the suggestion I was hoping for. Any other suggestions?
I will save the "Escape through Exercise" lecture for another time. Right now, you need to acknowledge that stress is going to be part of your life. Although you cannot avoid it, you can learn to deal with it. Find an activity — it could be as simple as a walk in the neighborhood or reading a magazine at Starbucks — that functions as a temporary escape. Let Nick and the girls know that you need some time away. And then last, but not least, schedule it. Put it on your calendar like an appointment. And make it a priority.
You make it sound so easy.
It is. Do not complicate it.