July 12, 2011

Green Therapy

I have a lot of shit going through my head.

July is turning out to be a crazy month. As a result, I've got a lot of shit going through my head. It's the height and also the end of the swim team season - tons of meets and events to break away from work for. Mia's birthday is later this month and we have another funeral at Arlington Cemetery - along with family flying in from out of town - to attend. At work, my boss and mentor resigned and I'm trying to hire folks to take some of the pressure off of me. On top of all of this I seem to have been put in charge of something big and it's something that fits into a particular category of work that I've never really been all that self-confident about.

What I'm trying to say is that I'm stressed and distracted. I know I can focus on quite a few things at once but I'm starting to feel that I can't focus on any of them well. Balls in the air...plates spinning...whatever your metaphor of choice, I've got a few of them.

I seek solace in my lawnmower.

Well, not in. I like to mow. We have a decent sized yard and it's turning out that there's nothing quite so therapeutic in my week than popping in the earbuds, cranking on the lawnmower, and cutting straight, neat lines in the grass.

Most of us have white collar jobs. As a result, I think most of us are deprived of the benefits of blue-collar work, mainly starting a job, finishing it, and being able to point at something and say I did that. We- at least I - could use more of that. So mowing is my therapy.

How do you cope with stress?

Posted by Chris at July 12, 2011 6:37 AM

My friend likened his being an associate in a law firm to juggling kittens and a chainsaw. Wondered if you could relate.

My jaw is perpetually clenched and even the woman who gave me a manicure one time laughed at me for the inability to relax my hands. (She was hilarious about it, but even after laughing, I couldn't relax my hands.) I guess I embrace it?

Posted by: alektra at July 12, 2011 6:57 AM

I cook. So in some ways it's the same thing. And right now, this week I have been under a lot of stress. Been sick with sinus infection from hell and yesterday Hubby had a lesion removed. We will learn by Friday if it is cancer.

Posted by: Maribeth at July 12, 2011 7:32 AM

Same as you: mowing the lawn. It's so cathartic. Plus, without fail, every time I mow my husband tells me how awesome I am for doing it and how lucky he is to have me, because that's how much he hates mowing the lawn. So: neat lawn + ego boost = pretty sweet.

Posted by: Jenn at July 12, 2011 9:48 AM

It's ironic that alektra brought up juggling because that was actually my suggestion - Learn to juggle.
I started that a few months ago; looked up instructions on juggling on the internet and taught myself how. I keep a set of juggling balls on my desk and when the pressure gets to much, or if I just need to clear my head, I juggle.
Because trust me, it's really hard to think about those 8 million things you're worried about when you're trying to focus on juggling.
Plus, it's just really cool knowing how.

Posted by: fauve at July 12, 2011 9:57 AM

Maribeth, I've been where you are now and hope your news on Friday is good.

Stress? I clean drawers or closets.

Posted by: ann adams at July 12, 2011 10:11 AM

Funny you should say this. I have often found the act of washing dishes therapeutic, and I've silently marveled at that. Something about warm water on my hands, repetition, and sun in the window. And no, you may not tell my wife. ;)

Posted by: Martin at July 12, 2011 10:13 AM

Yard work. I agree; as hard as I work at my job (which is as non-blue collar as you can get), I don't have anything tactile to show for my efforts. Getting out in yard and ripping weeds out of the garden is exceptionally therapeutic.

Posted by: J at July 12, 2011 10:31 AM

I run. Simple as that. But I am the lawn mower in my house and I love it too. It definitely calms me down.

Posted by: Claire at July 12, 2011 10:34 AM

I used to do yardwork and gardening, canning, reading... but here in the burbs I have no lawn, no garden, not a lot of time for books with the way my life's gone lately. So the only thing I have left is writing. And I can't seem to make enough time for that, either. If I'm already too distracted and my mind's too busy, then I can't write anyway. I meditate when I can. One forest preserve for a while on a nice day, with my mala beads and idea notebook does me wonders - when I can do it.

Posted by: Julee at July 12, 2011 10:59 AM

I cook. I especially like to cook things that require a ton of chopping. Salsa, guacamole, vegetables for stir fry, etc. My boyfriend laughs that the beautiful food processor he bought me rarely gets used. When he pulls it out, I shrug and say "I have a great knife and a board. What do I need that for?"

And I love doing the dishes. By hand. In our house, the dishwasher, which works just fine, is nothing more than a drying rack. I do dishes throughout preparing food, and I do dishes after. I have my boys help me, because it's good for them to know how and to contribute to the house, but I must admit, I don't like sharing that "chore."

Working in law, where I work on the same case for months and months or even years, the satisfaction of cooking a meal, feeding my family, and cleaning the kitchen until it's spotless gives me great, great satisfaction.

Posted by: Mindy at July 12, 2011 11:38 AM

I also cook. This past weekend I spent the better part of Sunday in the kitchen.

Posted by: varinia at July 12, 2011 12:33 PM

When I'm stressed I bake, which is fine, except then I feel the need to eat what I've baked, which is bad.

I enjoy mowing the lawn too. Well until we got this stupid electric mower that shuts off every 2 minutes. I'm definitely buying a gas unecofriendly mower next time. Although I'm not sure how really environmentally good an electric mower is, because isn't using electricity bad too? Maybe the electric mower is better if you have solar power? Anyway.

Posted by: Stephanie at July 12, 2011 1:28 PM

Cleaning. When I am stressed there is nothing like tearing a room apart and cleaning it floor to ceiling- getting rid of clutter and putting everything in it's place. It's such a sense of accomplishment and I find it's easier to relax in a room that is clean enough to eat off the floor, smells good and is just tidy looking. Our day to day lives usually end up with shoes all over the house, mail waiting to be dealt with, hampers full of smelly clothes, carpets that need to be vacuumed, dust, cat food on the floor, etc. When I'm really stressed I'll take on something like cleaning out the fridge, scrubbing the inside or cleaning out a closet, or scrubbing the tile with an old toothbrush...

Posted by: Lisa at July 12, 2011 2:26 PM

I knit. Knitting has gotten me through some stressful situations, and I get some beautiful things as an end result.

Even if work is crazy like it has been this week (I'm getting ready to take a week & a half long vacation... the days leading up to vacation are going to make my vacation completely necessary!), and I don't get a lunch break or something, if I take a few minutes to knit a row or two on whatever project I have in my bag, it helps calm me down, and I can go at it again.

Posted by: Manda at July 12, 2011 3:19 PM

My default stress reaction is sleep. Yeah, that obviously really helps when short on time :P I think housecleaning can be a gooder for me, because it has that sense of accomplishment and I feel more at peace in a well-ordered space.

Posted by: Heather at July 12, 2011 4:05 PM



Posted by: jen at July 12, 2011 6:05 PM

Meditation and yoga or a run at the lake, but my personal favorite is wine, lots of wine:)

Posted by: Shannon at July 12, 2011 6:51 PM

I hear ya! On those days, I come home and wash dishes just to feel productive and say I did something!

Posted by: niki at July 12, 2011 7:02 PM

you know, the usual. drinking. zoloft. :) :)

Posted by: kati at July 12, 2011 9:13 PM

1) Walking 2) Relaxing sitting on the porch or deck 3) Beer

I never found mowing relaxing. My hubby is too particular about it, I learned long ago not to mess with his domain.

Posted by: One Mom's Opinion at July 13, 2011 12:13 AM

Yoga and reading...and Woodchuck.

Posted by: akofaolain at July 13, 2011 9:43 AM

Prozac, and I'm not even kidding.

Posted by: Brooke at July 13, 2011 12:09 PM

(new here, from fluidpudding. Hi!)
Baking for me (mmm-cake!). And vaccuuming--same idea as mowing the lawn but it can be done all year long.

Posted by: Effie at July 15, 2011 11:57 AM

Lawn mowing is therapy for men across the globe. I definitely enjoy my time doing it now. The completion and neatness feels great.

Running is also good. Me time for my head, and good for my body.

Posted by: Brad at July 19, 2011 12:53 PM