Stress – Oh, and the Pendulum, too

I have been in a funk for a couple of days.  A funk basically brought on by stress: my apt. had roaches, I’m not sleeping well (because of nightmares about roaches), I’m looking for a condo to buy, I’m stressing over the MONEY involved in buying a condo, I’m looking at going to law school (not paralegal school after all), which means I’m also looking at the COST of law school and OH YEAH, my grandpa is probably dying.

There is a metric fuckton of stuff going on right now.  Most of it can wait.  Grandpa obviously can’t.  So he’s at the top of the list right now.  My cell phone is ALWAYS on and my phone calls home to Mom are more to find out what’s going on with the hospital than fun calls just to talk.  But he’s definitely coming down the home stretch: I’m guessing he has a month or so, no more.  Then again, I’ve been wrong before – sometimes he spontaneously rallies.  But he has COPD/emphysema, and they just found out that he’s also in congestive heart failure and renal (kidney) failure.  The odds are not in his favor. 

After Grandpa comes house-hunting and number-crunching.  I want OUT of my apartment, and I want out NOW, but at the same time I know better than to take the first thing I look at.  So I have the stress of wanting out combined with the stress of looking almost frantically.

Also law school.  At night.  Monday-Thursday, after work for the next 4 years.  Well, starting in Fall ’10, since I’ve already missed this year’s deadlines.  So I have some grace period in there – except not really.  Because between now and then there’s taking the LSAT, applying, writing essays, soliciting letters of rec, applying for financial aid (both through the school and through Disney), etc.  Lots of stuff.

And in the middle of all this, I’m coming apart.  That’s not a bad thing; my swings from “totally motivated and happy” to “life sucks, shoot me now” are becoming faster and faster, which has always meant in MY life that I’m about to find a happy medium.  But the swings suck in the meantime.  Kraft Dinner and a bottle of wine and missing workouts do NOT lead to a good place, ok?

So here’s my question:
What do you do for stress relief?  When you have 10 or 20 minutes, and a lot of stuff to get done, when there’s no parking at your gym after 5:00 (no, really – NO parking), when you have 2 hours of work to do AFTER work hours are over and the chocolate/wine/shopping mall is calling your name?  What do you do when you can’t slow down enough to meditate?  I’m asking honestly because I need some suggestions.  I have to figure out how to handle my shit in ways other than Kraft Dinner, a bottle of wine and staying up reading until midnight (which tires me out the next day, which makes me more prone to stress, which just PERPETUATES THE FUCKING CYCLE).

Any ideas?


10 responses to “Stress – Oh, and the Pendulum, too

  1. this is the title of your memoir:
    Kraft Dinner and a bottle of wine and missing workouts do NOT lead to a good place.

    ala jen lancaster (not kidding.)

    and for stress relief? thanks to the toddler I now play it away.
    pre-toddler? Id have shopped (bought myself a new book into which to hiderun) or lifted (eh, rarely) or called a friend or VISITED A FRIEND (ahhh the days when I didnt have to make plans years in advance and get a sitter :))

  2. Sounds like a lot going on. I’m so sorry about your grandfather – my dad had congestive heart failure and all of the organ failure stuff. It’s hard, really hard.

    But your decision to go to law school is very exciting! I always wanted to go to law school, but I never wanted to be a lawyer. Crazy, isn’t it? I just wanted to learn about law. Needless to say I never went.

    As for stress relief, I’m not the best person to give advice there. Can you exercise at home with a video, or go running or walking? Putting on my ipod and going for a run/walk does help me. And you don’t need any special equipment or parking spaces.

    How about coloring? I bought a coloring book and crayons. Haven’t tried it yet, but it was recommended to me.

    My problem is motivation when I’m tired. It’s hard when you’ve worked all day and then have more work to do. Sitting at the computer wasting time on the internet is so tempting for me.

  3. I’m sorry you have so much stress in your life right now! I totally know what you mean about stress relief tho. When i’m not stressed, i can do all those good stress-relief techniques like meditation and yoga and long walks and what not. Of course, when life hits the fan then all I want is chocolate and to sleep!

    I hope you get some good news soon & you get to spend some good time with your grandpa!

  4. Kraft dinner is good with red wine. I hope at least, that you are setting the table properly and using candles, cloth napkins and a proper wine glass. Please tell me you aren’t swigging the wine straight from the bottle and eating the KD straight out of the pot, standing over the sink….
    Oh, wait, that’s me.

    Stress relief. Deep breathing. It really helps. Or, so I’ve been told (I have trouble taking deep breaths, unless my lips have been wrapped around a cigarette first *cough, cough*)

    Seriously, though, I hear your pain. And I am sorry about your grandpa. It’s so painful to watch someone declining.
    I am in my own stressed-to-the-max zone. Have hubby’s uncle staying with us. He has been diagnosed with colon cancer, and I am about to start the rounds of driving him to his appointments and his treatments, and taking care of him in between, feeding him and listening to his interminable stories that I’ve heard over and over and over.
    And trying to be bright and cheerful and happy about doing my duty and serving my fellow man.

    F*ck that – pass the wine……

  5. I run. Away!

    (sorry about Grandpa. Happy about Law Skool, Fun looking for condos?)

  6. *HUGS* You’ve probably heard, but Grandpa’s doing better, and looks like he’s going to go stay at Memo’s old home for a while, where they’ll be able to watch him 24/7 and he feels useful.

    I look forward to seeing if he can train Alzhiemer’s people. 😉

    Anyway, stress. This probably isn’t hugely helpful, BUT… Things I do when I’m stressed! 😉

    – take extra hot showers. I don’t mean very hot showers, I mean lots of hot showers. Also, baths.

    – Walk. I started out walking the dogs ’cause, y’know, bundles of OMG energy. But I realized that even if I just go around the block, I feel better.

    – Garden. Okay, I live in an apartment, too. 😉 Sometimes I pot new things, sometimes I trim everything like crazy, sometimes I just find the best flowers and put them in little vases, sometimes I check all the soil to make sure it’s damp. These times I usually spend a little while talking to them all, too, telling them how pretty they are or how tasty they are (…yeah, that sounds morbid. ;-D) or about my woes.

    I also write. But you know that. 😉

    I’ve also discovered that getting out and just seeing someone face to face helps. Not in the grocery or something, but someone I know and like.

    *HUGS* I hope you feel better. And also–law school. That could be awesome. 🙂 But in the meantime–uh, I got nothing. Just remember to take it a moment at a time?


  7. I don’t think there are any shortcuts to stress relief – if you can’t take 20 minutes for a walk, or yoga, or meditation, there’s not much left! But I do think that a few minutes of deep, conscious breathing helps a lot. It’s such a simple thing, but hardly anyone ever actually does it. I find that it calms down all the physical manifestations of stress, the clenched muscles, the heightened heart rate, etc., and that then lets my mind relax too. What doesn’t work is mentally shouting at my stupid to brain to CUT IT OUT DAMMIT! 🙂

  8. I walk up the hill a few blocks away. I can do it in 15 minutes without dog, 25 with. My senior year of college, I had 22 credits, 17 of them being upper level chemistry, including labs. I had no time for anything. Taking a shower was a welcome break. I did some bingeing those days. I didn’t have a car, had to ride my bike 6 miles up an insane hill, so didn’t gain much weight, but I still cringe to think of those days. This is why I’m so unwilling to return to school. Never again!

  9. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH. I haven’t been checking in on many blogs lately, so I especially appreciate you guys coming by and helping me. There are so many good suggestions here – I can definitely walk hills or breathe deeply or yoga or meditation. (Though I might also supplement with wine and KD.)

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