In our everyday lives, we are bound to encounter stress– be it good or bad. There needs to be some sort of balance to get us back to normal, though. The older I get, the more stress comes my way. However, I have been collecting different coping mechanisms for myself. Here are a couple of things that keep me from going completely bonkers!
· Martinelli’s & Music- As cheesy as it may sound, after a long day of work, I come back to a very quiet house and I take advantage of it. I pour some of that bubbly apple cider and turn on some relaxing music (my favorite is music from 1940s & 1950s). After about 20 minutes of my M&M, I am super relaxed and continue my wind-down process. You can substitute the M&M with hot cocoa and a book OR water and knitting OR juice and the guitar. Get creative!
· A Hobby (that’s not TV)- Okay, I am the first one to jump on my couch or in my bed and get my Netflix on. I have my queue. I hype myself up for a show or a movie well in advanced. However, it gets tiring just staring at the television and I feel bad for wasting so much time just lying down. So, I have put a limit on my Netflix consumption and found a hobby. Last year, I started taking up my ballet classes, which gets me pretty active. For those times I don’t leave my house, I have purchased a sewing machine and gone crazy with crafts! My brain is still active, but my stress levels start to lower.
· A Walk to Remember- Pardon the subheading; I just couldn’t help myself! Anyway, after a long day of work (or in the middle of a busy day), my friend and I would take 20 minutes to stop and walk it off. I would grab my sneakers and take that walk, returning refreshed. It is also very helpful for shaking off that afternoon grogginess- Yep. I, too, get exceptionally groggy after lunch.
· Get Movin’- Exercise has often been something that stresses me out, but I learned to find something that I could enjoy. When I got my blood pumping and my body moving, I may have been a little sore, but I felt so much better (Endorphins= Happy Hormones)! Hitting that punching bag like I was Rocky, going swimming, Tae Kwon do, or Pilates! Whatever you like, just get moving so you expel that stress!
· Just Scream- Yes, you are allowed to scream. I go to the farthest corner of my house and let it rip. This is therapeutic for me, being a naturally reserved and quiet person. Allowing myself free range to just let go feels very nice. The scream may resolve into hysterical laughter or tears. Either way it’s just fine. Channel your inner three year-old and go to town!
· Meditation & Prayer- My top favorite. I work at a boarding high school and it is very hard to find a quiet corner or time block. I love this stress mechanism because it can be done at any time. Sometimes, I lock myself in my office and turn off the light. I have even taken a “bathroom break” and just locked myself in there. I can even stop for prayer right in the middle of stress, and no one is the wiser. *Side Note Thought: Sometimes, I let my students watch and hear me pray out loud to Jesus, ‘Lord, keep me patient. Give me a loving spirit, so that I do not start throwing markers/ Jenga blocks/ dodgeballs at these lovely cherubs of mine.’ After that, it seems to get mysteriously calm and quiet. Everytime.*
What are some things you do?
Lunelle Bertresse has a big heart for working with the young people on this earth. She received her Masters of Social Work in 2011, emphasizing in child and adolescent therapy and advocacy. Lunelle is not working as the Head Girls’ dean at Milo Adventist Academy, enjoying her time working with high school-aged girls. She enjoys reading, playing the guitar and piano, and laughing.