I am a right angle.

2010 09 06 08.54.56 287x300 I am a right angle.
(and a disheveled right angle at that. The sports-bra? foreshadowing tomorrow’s post.)

I laugh that when I shared the title-sentiment with my sister her response was oooh you are so a writer! I love how you phrased that.

Alas, I may be a writer but this is not an example of why or how.

I am quite literally a right angle and have been for a few weeks.

Hence the lack of Look at me! Im running my ass off! Im rocking the Rock n’ Roll half marathon training! posts & the fact Ive seemingly ignored all your kind tweets/emails asking about my training.

I am a right angle.

A right angle whos doing cardio (hello recumbent bike!) but definitely not a RightAngleRunning.

(here’s where if I possessed MAD photoshop skillz there’d be a silly picture of a doctored me running at an angle. hilarity would ensue.  please to imagine.)

The biggest conundrum for me? I’m perfectly fine.

Translation? It’s all in my head. It’s all a physiological manifestation of life-stress.

Further translation? BUMMER, because physiological crap seems far easier to fix these days than brain turning off’age (you with me on this?).

As a result Im launching Operation Allow Myself to Destress…Myself up in herre & Im dragging you along for the ride.

Im sharing what Ive decided to do/keep doing in the name of stress-reduction and begging asking for your best stress-lessening tip as well.

My current four-pronged plan:

  • Keep my first appointment of the day with G-d.  This need not necessarily be prayer time (depending on your belief system), but I let nothing get in the way of TAKING a few moments of silent reflection first thing each morning.  It really may be to my husband’s chagrin (Ive been known to ignore the child)–but it’s crucial for my sanity.
  • Draw my boundaries in Sharpie. Unlike with real Sharpie I do always have the option of going back & changing my mind.  That said, Im working to no longer say YES when I’m fully cognizant I cannot complete the task with a joyous heart.  There are enough lifecrapevents (technical term) where we’ve no choice but say yes. Im also working to remember no isnt a four letter word.
  • Im starting a Stress Journal. I believe in the power of these.  I utilized these frequently with clients when I was a life coach.  Ive always avoided them.  For some reason the very term STRESS JOURNAL felt so…anti-law of attraction.  Ive decided to call mine a Selfcare Journal & get to journaling.  I plan to document when I feel frazzletastic, what the situation is & how I might lessen the stress of a similar situation next time. It’s time to return to my tool belt & use the coping hammers skills I know I possess.

(There is indeed a fifth prong, but it’s a prong at which Ren Man, the Tornado & I already rock. LAUGHTER.  Lots of it.  From simply being silly to high-brow crap like this.)

Here’s where I turn to you, oh straight lined readers of mine.

Whats your best stress reduction tip?

Are you one who allots yourself a specific amount of frazzle-time per day, embraces it all at once and is able to then move OM, err, on?

Do you yoga your way to complete and total zen?

Wanna come over and gimmie a low back massage?

Please to hit this 90 degree angle up in the comments.


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  1. says

    My very much “do as I say, not as I do” technique for de-stressing is music and perhaps some dancing. Getting some favourite tunes on and singing my heart out, whilst doing ridiculous moves around the living room. Makes me laugh, cheers me up and puts me in a positive “Doing something for myself and my health” mentality.
    Love the idea of a self care journal, must try that.

  2. Karen says

    Girl I have been there!

    When I was in med.school my back pretty much throbbed all the time due to stress.

    I’m like Femme (you were a life-coach?!) and am stealing your self-care journal idea :)

    Sorry I’m not more help.

  3. says

    Its funny how our heads can be the biggest problem…outside exercise, a half hour with a warm cup of coffee and no distractions is my biggest stress reducer.

  4. says

    You linked a roller post and that’s what I would say is my best tip.

    The foam roller isn’t relazing like a back rub but it will help Mizzy!

  5. Laura says

    I would suggest adding in or shifting your meditative time to the night.


    That works for me.

  6. says

    I have been asking myself, of the negative thoughts, ‘Is that REALLY TRUE?’ then ‘how does that make you feel’ and then ‘if you didn’t believe that how would you feel?’

    It’s helping a lot.

    Sleep. That is what enables me to avoid stress. meaning that when I have enough I don’t react so much to life.


  7. says

    The Zen thing that helps me with stress is that image of seeing yourself surrounded by a bubble, and the stress things are feathers that hit your bubble. You don’t fight them, you let them fall, but you try to remember they won’t pop you, they’ll just sort of float away. The trick for me is to not let them stick! So think clear rubber ball bubble, not rainbow soap bubble blown out of a wand bubble. And remember you can still breathe in a ball bubble, just imagine it having holes. But the holes have to be small enough that the feathers won’t fall through…uh…can you see I still have some work to do on this whole Zen thing? But still. I’m trying!

  8. says

    Loving the idea of the “Stress Journal”. Might have to try that one myself. My main tool for destressing has been activity. Running had been the answer for me until I got sidelined again recently and under doctor’s orders, no running. So now it’s skating and working out at the gym, cardiobike, the faster, the better, and elliptical.

    Laughter and having fun is definitely a biggie for me too!

  9. Becca says

    I’m not to much help here with the tips and am taking your SHARPIE idea.

    I had not ever thought about the idea of doing things with a joyous heart.

    Thank you Miz for all that you do.

  10. says

    My best stress relief is my morning pages..Writing three pages, pen to paper, with no focus, first thing in the morning, clears my head and starts my day with a blank slate as it will.

    Secondly, after a long day at work, I put myself in *time-out* for at least 20 minutes. That again clears my head of the daily *crap* that has come up and I can leave my work behind and ENJOY my home life.

    These two things have become my WANT to’s instead of all the other HAVE to’s that come day to day.

  11. says

    Laughter is always the best medicine. I try to look at most things with humour … if you look hard enough you can always find the humour in things.

    Guided meditation and yoga breathing. These 3 were made for me. Great post.

  12. says

    I never heard of a stress journal before – sounds like a great idea. Exercise, of course, but for me it is cardio. Gets the endorphins flowing and eventually my mind gets distracted from the stressors. And sometimes, there is just nothing like a good talk/vent with a girlfriend:)

  13. says

    Good morning Miz – I manifest my stress in my lower back as well. Sigh. However, to keep that from happening, I already do several of your destressors.

    spend time in prayer and meditation
    read and practice some daily affirmations and visualizations
    journal a bit

    I love what you said about it all being in the mind. Boy, ain’t it the truth? Thoughts have power, for sure.

    I’m looking to leave my right angles behind and adopt a more Gumby-like approach to life.

  14. says

    The best stress management for me used to be a good book and a hot bubble bath. Now my back won’t bend (back surgery)so I take the book to the comfy bed with a candle and read with no one around. Only interruptions allowed are my dogs to snuggle in and nap.

  15. Bette says

    I like that idea of the first meeting of the day being a spiritual one.

    Meditation tips for me, Miz??

  16. says

    Quiet times when I can get them through the day and my first cup of coffee taken outdoors. The still, cool morning wakes me gently yet thoroughly and the first hit of fresh air makes me feel calm and alive.

  17. says

    Writing in a journal is my number one way of destressing. Writing is such a powerful tool. I use it for many many things. I also make sure I have at least a little time every day to just sit and be, generally in my comfy chair in the living room.

  18. says

    Well, ouch! Sorry about the back pain – that will make me grumpy, which in turn stresses me because I tend to snap at people, which makes me grumpy all over…lovely cycle – NOT! I vote for a massage, at least once a week. That would also give you some awesome quiet time, something I’m sure you don’t get near enough of. For me, I loved to put on the boxing gloves and go to town on the standing bag at the gym – got a cardio workout, felt MY strength, and I visualized certain people/events as I punched them. What can I say – it really helped!

  19. says

    A stress journal sounds neat. I tend to deal with my stress by talking to the boyfriend. He then tells me to go out for a walk, and so I do, and that fixes everything. Really. Going for walks makes me happy. Sometimes I forget that I need them in my life to reduce stress, but the boyfriend remembers.

    Other things I find that help are drinking a glass of red wine (what? It DOES help! :)), spending time with someone I love, and just plain getting an errand out of the way. Sometimes accomplishing a task you’ve been neglecting is the best way to ease the stress.

    And, like you say, LAUGHTER. Lots of it! (And “me-time”).

  20. Ren Man says

    As someone whose right-angle-ness-ment is not (all) psychological, I feel your pain (literally). That said, everything you’ve outlined to help deal with the back pain would work for me too. Allow myself to join yourself.

  21. says

    When I’m stressed either my back hurts or my head/neck/shoulders hurt, so I make sure I have a massage every 4-6 weeks to keep everything loose.

    Right now in my beginning stages of finding zen I’ve noticed that if I “do” what I’m avoiding I have a feeling of accomplishment that will carry me through my day.

    I also think the stress journal is a fantastic idea. I wonder if I can somehow marry my food journal with a stress journal and really get down to the nitty gritty of what is going on in my life?

  22. says

    On my way over to give you a massage and then send you on your way to the spa while I hang with the Tornado!!

    Stress reliever? start saying NO MORE!!!!!!! Dead serious. Love you so much, but you know what I’m talking about. Hit that delete button on the emails. xoxoox

  23. says

    First I have to say how much I love this new technical term: lifecrapevents.

    One way of de-stressing for me is to have some kind of handwork to do (now its quilting, used to be knitting and spinning.)

    Another thing I’ve been thinking about is having unresolved relationship problems (just thinking personally, I know no one else ever has this problem…) Anyway, it seems I can ignore this for quite a long time, but then I realize it kind of puts a pall over my entire life.

    Sometimes I can’t resolve it, but at least I can do my part to try to improve it.

  24. says

    Destressing for me is to stop and smell the flowers. Literally. I go outside and look in my garden and notice how truly wonderful and spontaneous nature is.

    I also will do my training and take off any watch or pacer. I won’t even look at what time I leave the house. Just go out and do and revel in the fact that I can run or bike or walk or whatever. It doesn’t always have to be with a purpose, it can just be.

    I also will study my cat. She has the chillaxin’ and stress-free life down pat. :D

  25. Colleenzo says

    Yoga should be my stress-reducer, but with five REAL dogs sniffing awkwardly at my downward dog, it somehow just isn’t calming. What works for me is a long bubble bath with a glass of wine and a good book. Sometimes every night, if necessary. Or drinking coffee and relaxing on my deck on a gloriously sunny day. Bliss!

  26. says

    How do I handle stress? I just squeeze on this stress ball I keep on my desk. Just squeeze… and squeeze… and squeez…DAMMIT! IT JUST BROKE AND NOW THERE’S SAND ALL IN MY KEYBOARD! F*CK A DUCK!

  27. Alyssa says

    I hear ya, Sister! I threw my back out in July due to stress, and it’s still not quite 100%. I would TOTALLY come give you a massage if we lived nearby! (But you might try an Icy/Hot Patch. They are awesome.)
    In my case it was lots of stuff I hadn’t fully dealt with, emotionally. But I’ve been doing more yoga/meditation/prayer/hypnotherapy, and it is working. Also, y’know, dealing with all my STUFF. Not fun, but a lot easier on the bod.
    (It also helped A LOT when the kids went back to school, lol!)

  28. messymimi says

    Take time mid-afternoon to nap/meditate/pray/whatever. After you have been up several hours, you need to step back and recharge.

  29. Tricia says

    I don’t deal with stress well. I have a lot of it – okay, CREATE a lot of it for myself! I admit it. I let stupid little things work on me! How do I deal? Like I said, not very well.

    I’m trying to though. I’m trying to just shrug it off and tell myself the “No one will care in 100 years.” line from Terminator. I read. If I can throw my mind into a good book, I can destress.

    I also like to create mental fantasies (don’t think dirty) and disappear into them for a little while. It may be just a few seconds or a few minutes or more depending on where I am, what I’m doing (driving is a no-no for that), and how much me time I have. Yes, I realize fantasyland is very youngish, but hey, it works for me! It could just be an uninhabited, livable, breathable planet in space where I can just be alone or a whole functioning pace that is so wildly kooky I can bring nothing of this world with me. Okay, you think I’m nuts! Eh. (shrug) C’est la vie!

    Sometimes, I just don’t have my book with me or the time to burrow into it!

    Meditation works too, but not on the fly and not when I’m right in the middle of the stressful moment!

  30. says

    I love that you posted about this! Today was the first day of school and (to heck with New Year’s) launched my own resolution to de-stress. Step one is prayer/meditation/yoga first thing out of bed! (I know, it’s like I barge unceremoniously into your head, just like I do your e-mail…) I did wake up this morning at 6 on the dot and got all the aforementioned done. It felt really good. Esp. since Jelly Bean woke up at 6:30 and all my free time was *poof* gone.

  31. says

    Unfortunately my form of stress reduction usually involves eating…I’m trying to get over that :-P

    I’d totally give you a massage though :D

  32. says

    Stress journal, what a great idea!! I need to do that too…I go through periods when I do good with writing things down. I do notice it helps, but then life happens and I put it off. In terms of reducing stress, working out helps me the most, or just listening to some quiet music.

  33. says

    Loving it Carla!!! I so understand the stress & the mind thing! I love that Sharpie idea & have a close friend that needs this advice big time! She works full time, kids, kid activities & more!

    I stretch pretty much every day. Actually, I have to due to age & how it effects the bod & if I don’t it ain’t gonna be pretty!

    Stress… you are guessing this already.. lifting weights helps me!!!! If not that, honestly, go somewhere out of the house, have a cup of coffee or maybe tea if that is you & read a book or magazine or just sit & watch people or watch whatever.. this does it for me!

  34. says

    Well, I’m no help. My destressing means are running and meditating. You’ve got those two covered! The only other thing I like to do that helps to destress me is to cook. Making a delicious meal from scratch gives me a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment. Especially when I get to eat it!

  35. addy says

    Nice long walk with Hubbing works wonders. Some exercise involved but mostly not. We talk we walk we talk some more we enjoy the outdoors. And all is much better in the world. Ummm – well he helps in more ways too ;)

  36. says

    Hmm, running, strength-training, wine, beer … wait those don’t go together. OK, bubble baths, candles, prayer … right that’s better.

    Winks & Smiles,

  37. says

    I think you’ve covered most of mine. (Especially laughter!) Exercising is a big one, especially if I can get outside and do something. I also take little stretch breaks when I’ve been hunched over a keyboard for awhile.

    I like Sagan’s suggestion about the wine. Why-oh-why does it always seem to be the not viable thing when it would be most useful? ;-) So I drink a lot of tea instead; I think it’s partly the beverage but partly the ritual (gets me up out of my chair, gives me the chance for some interaction with people) that I like.

    Unplugging helps me, too. Sometimes trying to follow it all (blogs AND Facebook AND Twitter) stressed me out. Sure, sometimes I feel like I’m missing the party, but I found that I was unplugging from my “in person” life a bit too much.

    I like your selfcare journal idea…maybe include some of the things that you did to de-stress that helped or might have worked better, for future reference?

  38. says

    First of all, the Big Red Balls are one of my favorite de-stressing devices. I dream of hopping across them myself one day ;) High-brow indeed, but funny as heck.

    I do Yogalates once a week now, and I love the stretchy-quiet-music-no-kids of it all. For a whole hour.

    I read something fun before I go to sleep.

    I meet with a group of my favorite girlfriends from church once a week to trade prayer requests and go through a Bible study. Knowing they’re praying for my woes is a biggy for me.

    Courtesy of my girls and my husband, I giggle a fair amount around here. They’re silly, he’s witty, and I laugh with my mouth wide open, LOUDLY. My husband said he met my laugh before he met me :)

  39. s says

    my de-stressing habits: sleep, limiting caffeine, running and/or carb-loading (well, those last ones don’t always work, haha). also cooking especially if chopping veggies is involved. ‘unplugging’ from the internet when i can tear myself away also helps me feel less like i should spend every waking moment being productive.

  40. says

    I’ll come over & work on your back. I keep talking myself out of takng massage therapy classes & starting yet another career, but I’m told I’m pretty good. Seriously, that low back pain is no fun & I literally feel your pain, sister. For me, I schedule myself every Friday “off” so I can have some “me” time, given I can wrap up my work before then. Build it into your schedule & you’ll never have to take a mental health day. Hope you feel better soon, friend.

  41. says

    I DO take a few destress minutes every single day. I can’t save it all up for the weekends or a vacation because then I’m so wound up I spend the whole time TRYING to destress. I am a big fan of a bath or shower, which I DO take every day, but I’m talking about one that is kid noise free. TH takes over and prevents endless through-the-door conversations. ALso? New music on my iPod. And yes, I will come massage your lower back.

  42. says

    I really need to get back on the first appointment with God plan (typed as I’m sitting at my computer first). That really does help to make my day go so much better. I dunno why but it’s been so hard for me to find the discipline as of late.

    I could stand to borrow your sharpie idea too.

    What else helps me is when I take time to sit down and pet my cat. I’m pretty much a simpleton like that. :-)

  43. says

    Thanks for the comment on my blog. :)

    This post is very timely for me. I need to learn new ways of getting past that stressed feeling.

    One thing that is key for me is my morning cup of tea. It’s usually peppermint. If I don’t have it, I almost always feel off for the rest of the day.

    I think I need to remember your sharpie idea.

  44. says

    Yoga once a week has been a huge destresser. Daily though, when I feel overwhelmed, I stop, take a breath, and pick something. One thing. I solve that and then move onto the next. If I worry that the other things are going to get forgotten, I make a list.

    In all honesty – I’ve resolved back pain before by getting drunk enough that it doesn’t hurt, and it’s been able to relax long enough that I felt better the next day. It’s not a perfect solution, but errr, it’s a fun one!

  45. says

    Awesome website! I truly love how it is easy on my eyes as well as the info is well written. I am wondering how I can be notified whenever a new posts has been made. I have subscribed to your feed which should do the trick! Have a great day!

  46. says

    I am a sprinter when it comes to lifecrapevents. I gogogogoGO until everything’s done and then I collapse. Obviously, a pretty lame-o way of managing life.

    I am learning to pace myself and to listen to my body and my mind. But it’s a slow, sometimes mentally painful task for a gal like me. I learned this from pushing myself too hard (to the point of emotional exhaustion and weekly–if not daily–breakdowns) when I had a severely herniated disc in my back and I postponed surgery for 3 months because “it was a bad time to take off from work.”

    My best stress reduction tips:
    End the day with 15-20 minutes of planning time where I update my task list and plot out what needs to get done and when. Preferably, this also entails figuring out what can be delegated or cut out completely.
    Start the day with me time. Some folks are all over being zen and yoga. For me, it’s blogging (putting myself and my health first) and reading other blogs (for inspiration and motivation).

    So sorry to hear you’re hurting! My back surgery was all lower back drama, so I’ve been at your 90-degree angle. Hope the pain goes away fast!