Managing stress with grace

Most who know me these days realize I am stressed. There is no hiding it. And, I am certainly not the only one struggling with one week “on” and one week “off.” Sometimes, I lose it, but I like to think that I manage it fairly well and at least try to practice positive coping mechanisms for everyday life stress. Catastrophic stuff like broken feet and cancer are a whole different story. But, I digress.

1. I don’t cut down on the finer things of life. Most of my stress comes from money and living on a graduate student budget. I refuse to go into debt, so instead of cutting things out, I cut down. I buy two buck chuck wine, clip coupons, and only go out for a $2 happy hour beer once a week-no dinners out, but I try to make my favorite out foods in.

2. Enjoy a glass of wine/beer.whiskey (what I’m a Wyoman). An old friend once said upon entering fatherhood, that he would not give up running or beer. Spoken like a true marathoner, these words have always resonated with me. A glass of wine (not 4 or 5), or a shot on the rocks sipped casually throughout the night can take the edge off for me. It forces me to stop working and start paying attention to my family (yes a boyfriend and two dogs are considered my everyday family).

3. Don’t stop moving. I made the mistake and told myself that I could take the weekend off from working out and catch up on everything else I had neglected over the last six weeks. Wrong. My anxiety rang high, I slept terribly, and I missed the zoning out away time. During the week I am up at 6 to run or hit the gym and lift. On the weekends, I try to put aside 2-4 hours to get outside and move. I never regret these workouts or getting up early-weekends and all.


4. Sleep. Nothing feels better than getting a good nights rest. It’s not worth staying up late to work on things that can simply get done tomorrow.

5. I read books that I want to read. Every two weeks I go to the library and get three books. Every night instead of watching TV (because we only get two stations of PBS) I read leisurely, scandalous books for about an hour before shutting off the light. It takes my mind off what I should or could be doing and I sleep much much better.

6. I pray. I’m not very religious. But, I take moments out of my day to give gratitude to the higher being  for giving me what I have. I practice and try to make this element intuitive to my perspective. Focusing on the positive emulates an energy that is contagious for many others surrounding us. Because everyone is always dealing with their own stress on their own levels. And I feel that it gives me guidance in my decision making.

Everyone says that graduate school should be difficult and we should be burning the candle at both ends. I’m not saying that it shouldn’t, but I believe in life balance. I am a better student when I take care of myself as a person first. I’m a better fur mom when those dogs get to run with me. I’m a better sister, daughter, and girlfriend when I have my glass of wine at night. Most of us know this, but do we practice it?

How do you relieve stress?

What makes you a better mom, sister, wife, co-worker,ect?

Any good book suggestions? I haven’t gotten anything real worthy at the library since “Wild.”



5 responses to “Managing stress with grace

  1. Love these stress-relieving tips! I couldn’t agree more with sleep and exercise. I find that a lot of my stress comes from money-management too, and feeling like it’s out of control. So when I sit down and budget, I end up feeling better!

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