Constructive Outlets for the Stressed

Imagine this:  You wake to an overflowing commode and bathtub.  Soon, the entire living room floods, reminiscent of some action drama in which the kids jump atop the couch and yell, “run for higher ground!”

You then discover your insurance doesn’t cover sewage problems, thus setting you back $250 dollars (Only to have the issue arise again three weeks later, but we aren’t talking about that.  Just keep imagining).  Upon arriving to work you discover you’ve left your wallet (No lunch).  And, to finish it off, you’re confronted with blue lights upon returning home. (You were just trying to find a place to pee, and, if you were swerving, it was because…well, look what kind of day you had!

This  all happened in November, on the same day, all while trying to complete the Nano challenge.

However, more recently than that, just three days ago, I misplaced my keys. Scrambling round, trying to figure out where the WORLD they could be, I feared I’d finally lost my mind.  Elated to find them–three days later, beneath a stove burner–I set out to run errands.  Except there was a problem.  “You know your tire is on a flat,” Dad yelled, backing out of my driveway.

So, I went to a station, aired the tire, and discovered a huge nail in the tire.

Isn’t this a depressing post thus far?  Let’s get to the good part.

Life is full of irony and surprises.  Take your present, your “unpleasant surprise,” or whatever ya wanna call it, and smile; find a way to make good of the experience.  Move on.

But how do we keep from becoming overwhelmed, over-stressed, depressed lunatics?  I’m no scientist, or doctor, or therapist, but here are some things I’ve found uplifting when anxieties take over:

The Laughter & Conversations of Children

Just hearing the sound of little ones running about and giggling creates a sense of nostalgia.  Once upon a time, life was easy, simple, and fun.  Why not find that place again.


It is a scientific fact; music saves lives.  Whatever your ailment, I bet you there is a song for it.


I have my favorites:  Golden Girl’s, Everybody Loves Raymond, The Jefferson’s, House of Payne, anything that brings out the ha-ha in me.


I balked at this one, especially when the gym instructor said, “Come before work; trust me, you’ll have so much energy afterward.”  I thought, “I’m already tired; why be exhausted before work?”  However, dude was right—instant energy booster.


Speaking of wit, Sophie Kinsella is my go-to author when I want light, funny, and poignant, with a hint of mystery.  She is a chick lit novelist, but there are always some deep dark secrets lurking about, wrapped in hilarious text.  Try “I’ve Got Your Number” or “Remember Me”  for starters. I also enjoy inspirational pieces, such as those by Karen Kingsbury and Patricia David.


The end all, be all, and cure-all.

Imaginary Retreats

Having the type job in which vacations come with so many restrictions I might as well take random days in January, I’ve created some outlandish retreats, preferably the Twisted Retreat, taken some time in June of 2010. Totally imaginary—no passport, money, or luggage needed.

Other ideas have included a set of high-thread count sheets, grapes, cheese, wine, a black & white movie, a sitter, a working spouse, and a bed.  (But MAKE SURE the spouse is working or away.  Or else you’ll end up with a papa bear in your bed, eating all the cheese, flipping sports channels, and asking what you’ve been doing all day.)

 You May Also Want To Try:

A short road trip

A picnic at the park

Acrylic painting or watercolor

Pencil drawing

Coloring (Trust me, this is so relaxing)


Blowing bubbles

Bubble bath or bath salts



A small get-together with family or friends

Bed & Breakfast retreat

Brisk walking

Dance lessons

An intimate rendezvous (With a significant other of course)


Talk therapy



Journal writing


The list is endless…


*Your turn*  What is your go-to method of dealing with stress?



6 thoughts on “Constructive Outlets for the Stressed

  1. What a wonderful post. Well, not so much for you at the beginning 🙂 But full of great advice. I wish I could take up that exercise one at any time!


    1. Thank you. I don’t agree with ALL of them but whatever works for the soul. I do enjoy singing, writing, reading, and watching light comedy. Laughter is good medicine. So is sleep.


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