There’s three things that are promised to you at birth — death, taxes and stress.
Stress follows us throughout our lives. As babies we stressed about food. As kids we stressed about school. As teens we stressed about hormones. And as adults we stress about literally everything that happens in our day-to-day lives.
There’s countless links that Google brought up when I searched how to handle stress. Like a normal person I only looked at the first five and then gave up.
A lot of them had the same tips: take a break, don’t drink coffee, declutter workspace—tips that’ll eventually help you tackle whatever task you’re working on. All of these tips are great, they’re practical for helping you get the job done.
But, like most helpful things in life, they’re boring. I can’t imagine writing a 100-page essay on the cultural impact the discovery of dinosaurs brought during the 1800s — actually that kind of sounds fun — and then during my stress I “take a break” to de-stress.
What do I do during that break? Google offered more links with tips: take a walk, stretch, small nap, etc. Honestly that’ll stress me out more.
When I’m trying to de-stress I’m trying to do something that’ll take my mind off of whatever is stressing me out. I have to do a smaller task that is more enjoyable.
So I came up with this list of activities to do to help you relieve you stress. I’m not saying this will help finish your task or remove your stress until you finish the task — all I’m saying is these tasks will remove your immediate stress.
This is what people do after they’ve had an argument or a fight, once they’re calm and the situation is over they re-live the moment and come up with better things that could’ve been said.
Sometimes I did this when I had to tell my parents something bad and as I waited for them to come home I’d imagine a best-case-scenario to help me calm down.
Young Tony at any grade-level: Mother, Father, I have bad news. This past test I have received a regrettable F marking.
Parents in my head: Oh honey, that’s alright. Your entire life isn’t determined by this one grade.
Parents in real life: Who gets an F in art? Now not even a community college will accept you.
The scenarios in my head didn’t help with actually facing my parents but at least I had a nice calm before the storm for that hour and a half I waited for my parents to come home.
So make scenarios in your head. Get imaginative, too. Sometimes I imagine I have telekinesis and I could’ve used that to lift a heavy box rather than waiting for my coworker to help.
Sex and Masturbating
Here’s a truly fun one. A quick Google search shows that chemicals in the brain are released during sex and can help relieve stress when they’re combined.
If possible, take a break to do one of these (or both, whatever) so that the immediate stress goes away. Again, it won’t help you tackle the problem at hand, most likely, but at least you’ll come back with some dopamine in your system.
And a small bit of advice I once read, if your sex life consists of self-servicing, then make it the greatest thing ever. Sensuality doesn’t HAVE to be with a partner. Treat yourself, get comfortable, relax.
Pets and Plants
Truly, my absolute second favorite on this list. I have two guinea pigs and a turtle that I love so much. These guys bring so much stress in my life, it’s insane. (Yes, you read that correctly.)
I’ll be having a great morning but once it’s time to feed, these animals are barbaric. It’s stressful.
But let’s say I’m on page 47 on my dinosaur essay and I’m super stressed, I have a thought block and the first two things on this list aren’t helping, I then move on to my pets.
No matter how they’re acting, they always cheer me up when I’m stressed. All of the things that normally annoy me about them becomes the cutest thing ever: oinking for food, biting my fingers, pooping on the bed. All of that is better than this gosh-darn essay.
For those of you who don’t have pets, or your pets just stress you out, try plants. I water and caress my mint plant that sits on my windowsill every morning. Seeing him perk up is such a delight. And when I’m a little stress I’ll shake his leaves so the mint smell can fill the room.
Pets and plants were given to us by God to take care of but honestly they seem to be taking care of me.
There’s very few things in my life I say I love, so I don’t say this lightly, but I LOVE taking naps. The longer the better. There is nothing better to do after a shift at work than to take a nap.
And it can’t just be a regular nap where you sleep on whatever your head lands on. These naps need to be a pre-sleep. That means I put my jammies on, close the curtains, set an alarm, put on my ear-muffs and ride the train to snoozeville.
Why six hours? Because the more hours you sleep the longer it takes you to remember why you were stressed when you wake up.
And when I do wake up it’s for one to two hours, the most. Then I get ready for my full on sleep, ‘cause you know, I need to be sure I’m fully rested for the next day.
Another fun one. I enjoy doing this one around midnight because it gives me a rush. I’ll sit down and draw up a blueprint. Make sure everything is measured. And then I get to work.
If you’re a normal person who took a six-hour nap during the day then you might need an activity to do since you can’t go back to sleep, this is what you do.
A tip from a Google link mentioned decluttering your workspace to relieve stress. This is a slightly different version of that.
It’ll relieve you from whatever stress you had by giving you the stress of rearranging your room. That might not sound ideal but at least you’ll know how to relieve this stress.
Go on Pinterest and get some ideas. Get super into it.
If you’re anything like me, then God help you. But head to the dollar store and pick up a few neat things to use as decorations. Unconventional things.
Posters are okay but get some socks with cool designs and pin them to the wall. Buy different colored candle sticks and arrange them in a design. Go crazy.
Last one for the list. I chose not to call this one “Bath or Shower” because the idea of getting clean with soap is not here. This is about rinsing off the stress through a physical means.
Turn the water on. Maybe get some music going. Nakedness is optional. And just hop in.
The most relaxing thing is holding your head back under the shower head and going through your hair with your fingers.
This will truly relieve your immediate stress. And you can even incorporate one or two other things that are on this list with this one. I’ll leave it up to you to pick which ones.
But massage your scalp. Let the worries of the world fall down the drain.
Again, none of these will help you with finishing whatever is giving you stress. Some of these might even make you go backwards in steps to completing the task at hand. But they’re all fun. You can enjoy them.
Take a few minutes of personal guilty pleasure time for yourself. Working hard is important and necessary in life to succeed but success can happen at any stage in your life. The same can be said for fun, you can have fun anytime in your life. So why not interweave fun with hard work?