These days, everyone’s stressing over something, whether it’s your job, your kids, your mortgage, or your mother-in-law. In addition to everyday worries, we’re all on edge over this economy. How many people do you know that are working at least two jobs to get by? It seems like everyone had I know has some kind of sideline employment and we’re all still broke. It’s enough to drive you crazy, but who has the time or money for a shrink?
Never fear. I’ve got your answer right here. Five ways to de-stress on the cheap and get back into your hectic life, sanity intact.
First up: The Car Cure
Yes, gas prices are still on the rise. But it’s worth putting a couple of gallons in your clunker and cruising around town with the windows down and your radio way, way up. Find a deserted stretch where you won’t have to deal with traffic and sing your heart out along with your favorite songs. The louder you sing, the better you’ll feel, trust me. Just watch your speedometer; a whopping fine will not improve your mood-or finances.
Get away from it all.
You don’t need to book a ticket to Tahiti to forget about your troubles. The next time you get a couple days off, try turning off the evening news and curl of with your favorite book instead. Do not listen to the radio, use your iPod. Do not look at AOL’s homepage, go straight to TMZ or E!Online instead. International chaos and disaster will still be there when you come back from your mini-vacation, I guarantee it.
Yes, I know it’s desperately unhealthy but who doesn’t feel better after knocking back a pint of Ben and Jerry’s? Maybe a box of Oreos chased down with M&Ms? It’s hard to be stressed out when you’re in a sugar coma.
I used to think that was such a funny phrase. I always picture Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman trying to explain it to Richard Gere; “Be still like vegetables. Lay like broccoli.” Pretty Woman is a good movie to veg out to, btw. Be sure to keep your favorite shows on hand; they can be better than aspirin after a rough day. For me, it’s all ten seasons of Friends on DVD. No matter how bad my day has been, the sight of Joey with a Thanksgiving turkey on his head can still make me laugh.
Get a pet.
The number one remedy for anxiety in my opinion, and all it will cost you is the occasional bag of kibble. I find big, furry dogs particularly comforting. My Newfie seems to sense when I’m stressed. His idea of a cure? Licking my feet. Which is actually pretty soothing, albeit somewhat gross. Not a dog person? No matter. Any type of pet will help, according to recent research. See “How Owning a Dog or Cat Can Reduce Stress”. My cat likes to unwind with a ball of yarn and my fish are pretty much happy (or the fish equivalent of happy) as long as they’ve got water in their tank. Sigh. If only our lives were so simple.