25 Ways To Relieve Stress

I’m not a drinker. Never was. You can ask the people who’ve known me for years. They’ll tell you. It’s a control thing. Since we all know I’m a control freak, alcohol can get the upper hand and I don’t like that. Plus I hate the way alcohol tastes. Yup, I said it. It’s bitter and gross. Not for me. Not to mention wine gives me a migraine and beer, even one, can make me sick. I must be allergic to an ingredient. It’s never been worth it to me to drink. Why waste the calories?

But I understand why people do drink. If you’re having a bad day, week, month, year and you need a quick way to untie the knots in your shoulders a glass of wine will do it. There have been many times recently I wish I did drink. I’d like something to take the stress away without me breaking a sweat to do it. I’m having one of those moments right now. (And I already worked out today) So instead of drinking I’m going to blow my calories and maybe ease my stress with the one thing I do like.

cookieI’m sure I’ll hate myself later.

As I write this, I don’t know if I should vent out my stress here for all of you to read (honestly, I’m not a good sharer like that) or educate us on ways to relieve stress, but we know them, don’t we?

  1. Pray
  2. Meditate
  3. Exercise
  4. Sit with nature
  5. Listen to calming music
  6. Take a drive
  7. Scream at the top of your lungs
  8. Take a bath
  9. Call a friend who makes you laugh
  10. Read (big one for me)
  11. Play an instrument
  12. Write
  13. Paint
  14. Get a massage, a pedicure
  15. Shop
  16. Cry
  17. Walk on the beach
  18. Help someone else
  19. Jump on a trampoline
  20. Roll down a hill
  21. Watch a baby discover his toes
  22. Smell freshly cut grass (unless you’re allergic)
  23. Roast marshmallows over an open fire
  24. Eat chocolate
  25. Chase rainbows

I have my Healing Music playing. I’m sitting outside watching the trees push the breeze around. The sky is clear, deep blue marked by fluffy, clouds of cotton. The cookie is half-way gone. I barely remember eating it. What’s next?

Another moment. Another chance to catch my breath. A quiet place to read a book. Tomorrow, hopefully.

If I was smart, I wouldn’t get stressed out. In the grand scheme of things, nothing is that bad. Challenging at times, but manageable. I have what’s important. The rest I should surrender. When do you think I’ll learn that lesson?

Not before the cookie is gone, I’ll tell you that.

So, how do you relieve stress? I’d love to hear from you.


St. Patrick’s Day Means Nothing To Me

Italian Flag Growing up in an Italian house my perspective on life was very one sided. My Pop-Pop, my favorite person in the whole world (no offense to my other family members that I love dearly), used to sit down with me and tell me in his heavy Italian accent, (though I never heard it) everything ever invented or discovered in this world was done so by an Italian. I believed him because if Pop-Pop said it, it had to be right.

Our meals were always Italian food. Stuffed peppers, pasta with beans (said in Italian is more appetizing. I just can’t spell it.), macaroni three times a week, and at noon on Sundays. Pop-Pop would sit at the head of the table with his gallon of wine on the floor beside him. The bottle took up too much room on the table and hey, what else do you do with wine in a gallon size jug? We celebrated Italian holidays and practiced our superstitions with care.

St. Patrick’s Day was for other people. As a child, I didn’t even own green clothing. Not unless it was striped with white and red. In fact, on St. Patrick’s Day my mother would send me to school wearing orange. I hope that wasn’t the Italian salute of up yours. Perhaps, Pop-Pop bought the outfit? We didn’t eat corn beef and cabbage, (or is it corned beef? My Irish friends?)  I don’t have an Uncle Danny who frequents the bars. I do have an Uncle Vito, with other habits, but that’s a tale for another time.

With this Irish celebration around the corner, I look at those about to partake and I say, “But there won’t be any cannolis!” What’s to celebrate if Italian pastries aren’t involved? Okay, I’m just kidding. There is plenty to celebrate. I just don’t know what it is. Maybe if I had married an Irish man I would understand. But I went off and married a Jew. They’re a lot like my people. Just in disguise.

shamrock7In the vain of March 17th, I raise my glass to you all. Go forth. God Bless. Drink up. Minus the cannolis.

Enter at Your Own Risk

I was at the food store Monday morning. Bright and early and without my kids. Do you shop on this day? I don’t typically go to the food store on Mondays so this was a new experience for me. I like to go bright and early on Saturday or Sunday. No one is in the store. There’s no jockeying for a place in the aisle, no guessing who’s cart is it anyway because someone is always abandoning their cart to find an item they forgot three aisles back. I never do that. Never. And frankly, I don’t like to bring my kids. Never have because when I do, I end up buying more junk than we need.Trolly Bays

Here’s what I saw this fine Monday morning: Moms with their babes. Everywhere. It was like all the moms of children five and under have a planned meeting to grocery shop at 9:00 am. One mom led her children up and down the aisles like momma duck leading her ducklings. The kids pushed the carts. Clever. We had moms with one in the carriage and one in the oven. Moms turning the grocery shopping into a math lesson. A couple of moms with those extra long carts that double as cars blocking the bakery section. Trying to get bagels over here. 

While checking out I heard, “Sweetie, we don’t give our money to the lottery machine.” the child replied, “But you give away your money to the grocery store.” Smart, I thought. Then the mother replied, “I don’t give away our money. I’m buying us food we need to eat.” She conveniently left out the part about needing to buy the three bottles of wine in the cart too. Not that there’s anything wrong with buying three bottles of wine on a Monday morning. The writer in me was just making an observation and of course writing a story.

What did I learn on this shopping expedition? Don’t go on Monday mornings. Too crowded and its like playing bumper cars, but trying not to hit the little people. Son, now 13, would be useful to have around. He can lift the case of water into the back of the car. (Shh. Don’t tell. I buy plastic.)

Taking the kids is about more than needing he-man strength. It’s about bonding. It wasn’t so long ago grocery shopping was my math lesson. Maybe next time I’ll take the kids.

You know the more I think about it, grocery shopping was also a contact sport when my son couldn’t have been more than seven ran face first into the shopping cart handle. Got a big black and blue from that one. And the time Daughter was two and some crazy old man with a cane told her he loved her. 

Take the kids? Yeah, right. Then it will be me who needs the wine.