These are what I should do when I’m stressed:
- Meditate, even for just 5 minutes. Even better, meditate daily, once in the morning and once in the evening, preferably for at least 15 minutes each time.
- Take deep, cleansing breaths. Practice Dr. Weil’s 4-7-8 breathing cycle, which takes 2-3 minutes, tops.
- Exercise. Running never fails to put me in a much better, more energized and hopeful mood, one that can often last all day.
- Eat healthy, regular meals with 1/4 protein, 1/4 carbs and 1/2 colorful veggies.
- Snack on fruit and avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Get at least 9 hours of sleep (minimum my body requires).
- Take a 30-minute Epsom salt bath. Add a few drops of lavender oil for extra relaxation.
- Adopt an attitude of gratitude: be thankful for all the blessings in my life, including having the best husband in the world, a roof over my head, a full pantry, and a relatively healthy body.
- Write my thoughts in a journal, practicing meditative, free thinking.
- Read a thoughtful/spiritual book like The Tao of Pooh.
- Drink lots of water, at least 8 glasses a day, preferably sparkling mineral water.
- Drink soothing herbal teas like lavender and/or chamomile.
Alas, these are what I actually do when I’m stressed:
- Engage in such intense thoughts about the situation/problem in question that I end up breathing like a boxer in the 12th-round of a match, i.e., very, very shallow breaths.
- Lie on the couch and watch movies. Some of my favorites: The Devil Wears Prada, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, How Stella Got Her Groove Back.
- Lie on the couch and watch TV. Some of my favorites: Friends, Three’s Company (if I can find it), Reba, King of Queens, The Nanny. Basically, any TV show on Lifetime, the so-called cat lady network.
- Lie on the couch and read fluff magazines like InStyle, Lucky and MarieClaire, each of which will end up making me feel bad about myself and how fat and ugly I am. (Stress increases dramatically at that point.)
- Lie on the couch.
- Eat bags of M&M’s (regular), Cheetos and/or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, preferably the Big Cup.
- Spend half the night tossing in bed, then eventually get up and do any of the above elsewhere in the house.
- Complain to best husband in the world about the sad state of my life. Cue whining.
- Read more fluff magazines, maybe Harper’s Bazaar or the European editions of InStyle and MarieClaire, at the chain bookstore.
- Eat more bags of M&M’s.