Well first of all, I'm lucky that I have a pretty low-stress life, but I also am very purposeful in making it that way. I don't accept invitations to things that will stress me out, I am willing to say no to requests on my time that won't work for me, I keep my home in a state that makes it easy if someone drops by unannounced, I plan time to do bills once a week, I let minor things go, etc. Those things keep my stress levels down.
That said - you can't control all the stress in your life! And life will smack you upside the head with stress sometimes even with your best efforts to avoid it. For me:.
- Naps/sleep. I guess this is sort of avoidance, but it isn't something I spend an excessive/depressive amount of time doing. But if I'm really stressed, just going to sleep for a couple of hours helps me wake up with a better perspective on it.
- Cleaning or getting into some household project like tearing apart the vacuum to detail it or cleaning out a closet, etc.
- Get a massage or pedicure.
- Reading online forums or a good book...
I try to fix the problem/situation instead of avoiding it and drowning myself in food. It makes me feel very adult about things. I'm learning that if I can't fix it, then I need to stop obsessing about it. Doesn't always work right away but it gets easier over time.
With my obsessive personality, if I decided to do craft projects every time I got stressed and couldn't eat my way out of it, I'd be buried in afghans and scrapbooks. My house would look like an episode of Hoarders...
Boredom is one of the biggest triggers for me, so I try to find a way to stay busy. I really struggled with it this weekend though. I couldn't find much to do (wasn't feeling very well either) so I watched Caprica Season 1.5.
Good ole SciFi did the trick - not that TV watching should be considered a weight loss strategy. LOL..
And the other trick I learned this weekend - when you are getting to the point you are obsessing about your next meal, clean your bathroom. It is impossible to want to eat while you are cleaning a toilet...
I don't have a special strategy for dealing with stress per se, what I actually do is remind myself when stress or some other emotion makes me want to eat, that food will only make me happy in the extremely short term and that whatever is stressing me will still be around when I am done eating and then I will be stressed AND feel bad about eating whatever I ate...
I tend to be more like Kurzweil Ive been taking irons OUT of the fire that used to stress me out. I take steps to avoid stress that I used to just deal with because I thought I had to as part of life. Im 57 now, kids grown plan on retiring in a few years so I just decided not to deal with some things anymore if I can avoid them. That said, you cant avoid all stress job idiots on the road family situations you cant easily avoid and to answer your question, one of the things I found that really works for me is.. dance! In my case it's zydeco and Cajun, some slow blues occasionally, but it gets me out of my stress world and into my dance world where I can express myself, meet people, and just have pure unadulterated fun. It also has the fantastic side effect of burning calories.
Of course thats mostly sweat/water loss, but hey the next morning on the scale what a morale booster!.
I also hike/walk evenings.. and bike when it's warmer... plus I also spend time in my woodshop which relieves stress, but I realize most of you folks are women, and dont tend to have woodshops. <smile>..
I have de-stressed alot of my life too in a pro-active way. I had some toxic friendships and I had let them go. I tend to keep to a schedule as far as getting up, going to bed, certain tasks get done at the same time every day.
When a wrench gets thrown in my plan I try and reorganize my brain, find a quiet corner, close my eyes and just let it go..
I still struggle with wanting to turn to food during unexpected stress. To avoid this to some degree I don't keep any change or ones in my wallet so I avoid vending machines. If I am home, I go upstairs close the door and make a pot of tea. Pretty simple stuff really but it works...
These are all great reminders about how much control I have over handling stress..
For me, one really important thing I had to do to get out of my compulsive eating was to get much more comfortable with strong emotions such as anger and sadness. So, now days, I cry more easily and don't freak out about it..
I also used to never tell anyone, even my husband, when I was most upset. I'd wait until I'd figured it all out or it passed (often through binge eating) and then I'd tell him when I could be all distant from it.
I also had to get much more honest about what made me happy and what made me unhappy, and start actively working on getting the happy stuff more.
I still struggle with the balance between being bored and not engaged enough versus having too much going on and not enough down time. I think for me (which is probably not true for many here), I need to error on the side of doing too much because my natural tendency is towards inertia...
Wow, that sounds familiar. God forbid we should share what's upsetting us and let the most important person in our lives help us work through it. I'm from a family that was really uncomfortable with people getting all emotional and I'm really working on this one...
I have 2 gallon jugs of water...and they sit next to me all day! (Unless I'm on the ambulance!) I drink one of them for sure, and get well into the 2nd....keeps me feeling full! I TURN TO WATER NOW INSTEAD OF FOOD! I also use straws for everything, except my coffee. I buy the cheap package of 250 straws at the $Store. Their diameter is so small, it takes FOREVER to drink anything...water, a shake, a diet soda...you get the picture. Drinking through the straw forces me to SLOW DOWN and ENJOY whatever it is I'm "eating" and NOT focus on whatever stressors may be in the moment.
Sorry, not a very creative answer: Water and Use a Straw!..
EMTFreakGirl... at least you didn't tell us you now have water and a toothpick instead of a meal...
Great thread Norilee. I eat to relieve stress, plain and simple. So finding some other way to take care of stress has been critical for me. At work, I walk. I leave my desk and roam the halls, practicing management by walking around. At home, same thing I walk.
This winter, I keep a heavy coat, hat, gloves, and rain gear ready so unless there's lightning, I have no excuse. If the weather is really bad, I might just make it 15-20 minutes, so I'm not counting this as exercise, just stress reduction time. I was walking with my child bride or one of the kids, but I've found that doesn't do it for stress. I need those few minutes alone to talk to myself, get refocused on my goals (personal and professional) and get my head straight. It my form of meditation I guess.
Not sure. I've only been on the plan for two weeks and a day. But I definitely need to think of something fast...
I go to the gym and lift weights - makes me stronger both physically and emotionally. If I am mad, I punch the punching bag. Tape a picture of whoever or whatever is bothering me and beat the living heck out of it. I also carry a picture of Mt Fuji in my wallet and pull it out and meditate on it. My goal is to climb Fuji this summer, and that picture keeps me on track..
I agree with you all...I too have made some real lasting changes in my life over the last couple years....
After losing now 62 lbs...12 of it MF....
I do not do things, or associate with people that cause me stress...That means I HAVE had to end, or see very rarely certain people that were really draining me..
I bought a beautiful Australian Shepherd puppy 5 months ago and she keeps me busy, has stolen my heart and we walk alot...I knew that she would help me move when I decided to buy her..
I take an aromatherapy hot bath and drink flavorful hot tea..
I get a pedi and/or a massage..
I cuddle with my husband and ask for his support..
I call a caring friend..
I drink a HUGE glass of water and everytime the craving, or "want" hits, it seems to help pass in about 20 minutes..
I go look and feel the beautiful outfit I have picked out that I CAN'T wait to get into..
I look at my favorite fashion magazine to encourage me.
I turn on some hoppin' music that I love, that really pumps me up to look and feel good!..