Sunday, April 19, 2015

Chemistry Dance Videos ... And Other Stress Relievers

#HAWMC Day 19:  What’s the best way you deal with stress? How do you like to let loose to escape common stressors? Share with us your favorite ways to shake off the stress. #shakeitoff

I am so often a giant ball of stress. I mean, aren't many of us? It's not just work and errands and chores and things like that (because who are we kidding I do the minimal number of chores that I have to unless I'm trying to get in extra fitbit steps and opt to use cleaning as a method for doing so). It's that, as a mood cycler, every single thought, emotion, feeling is magnified. You see something as "I should probably get to that", I see it as "omg what am I going to do this is urgent" and then make a sticky reminder, a calendar note, and add it to my iphone "Reminders" app. I talk about it more in this post about what it's really like to have hypomania, but that's the gist of it. Stress relief is crucial.

My stress relief techniques, like so much of my life, have come in the form of trial and error. Much of it depends on the day, and the situation, and the amount of free time, but here are some of my favorites.

Yoga: My office offers yoga every week on Wednesday from 4-5 PM in our building, and it's one of the highlights of my week. People know not to mess with my yoga time. Not only is the yoga itself relaxing and grounding, but it's one of the rare opportunities where I'm completely un-reachable but to the others in that room, and they're all doing yoga and wanting to be unreachable too. It's both stress reducing and soul renewing.

Meditation: Similarly, when I need some brain space, I pull out my meditation cushion and often one of my favorite meditation podcasts. I try to use my ipod instead of phone, so I don't inadvertently hear the buzz of a text or call coming through. Even if it's just 5 minutes (it often is) it helps dramatically.

Laughing: It might not literally be one of the best medicines - I could laugh all day and still need my meds - but there's something about a good belly laugh that gives me peace of mind. Luckily, I surround myself with a lot of pretty funny people and laughter is part of my daily life. And learning to laugh at oneself, instead of cry, has been one of my key methods of getting through some pretty shitty times.

Driving: When I need space, I go for a drive and turn up the radio. Something about the freedom of just getting in a car and going, blocking out my thoughts with a good tune, takes the stress away.

Exercising: A walk, a run, a bike ride can help me feel like I'm literally escaping the stress, like it's trying to chase me, on my heals, and I'm getting away from it.

Dancing: Seriously. It could be in the kitchen alone while cooking dinner or a night out with friends. Recently, my coworkers and I did this "dance video" for the When You Work At A Museum Dance Contest. Yes, museum dance contest. I love my coworkers.

And because I'm not sure anything can really trump a chemistry museum dance video, I think I'll end there. Perhaps laughing is also a stress reliever for you, and in that case, I hope that little video helped make your day a bit brighter.

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