Monday, September 11, 2006

Stress is the word

Lately I have been living up to my blogger profile description: some people think I'm laid back but other people know better. It's becoming more and more apparent that I might have a little problem with anxiety. My life isn't that stressful, but hey, I'm a Taurus and I like stability. Changing my life around every four months, which is what I've done for the last couple of years, isn't exactly my kind of stable. The fact that I'm in school for another two years makes me a little nervous, so I figure I need to be proactive in handling the resulting stress. Are you with me? I'm going to outline my tentative plans for coping with the upcomging school-related stress, mostly so I remember them, but feel free to comment and tell me your tactics too.

Live in Victoria
Easy. This city is very peaceful, as is the UVic campus (even with the construction right outside the library window, where I'm currently hanging out), and it has already done wonders for my peace of mind. I just have to make time for walks by the sea and a frolic or two with the campus bunnies (I'm talking about real rabbits here).

Exercise three times a week
Sounds easy, but isn't. Do you exercise three times a week? Do you really? I have plans to go to yoga on Sundays (yes, I went yesterday) and to the gym on Tuesdays and Fridays. The yoga is especially good because it includes a half hour of meditation and I plan to start running at the gym so I can burn off nervous energy.

Have a massage once a month
Easy. The UVic health plan covers this, so I obviously need to take advantage. I just need to find a good massage therapist now. Any suggestions, Victoria friends?

Try not to eat things that end up in a trip to the ER
Not so easy when your body changes its mind every five days. I have many minor problems with my body, most of which are probably a result of my stressful state. I've mentioned my stomach issues in this blog before now, and Michael and I have come to the conclusion that they result from anxiety. Until this particular issue clears up, I can't eat raw veggies or pistachios (damn you pistachios!) unless I want to feel like I'm dying. According to one web source, my sensitivity to these foods should go away after a few days of giving my stomach a break, but I'm not sure I want to test this theory out. I'm not sure Michael wants me to test it out either. I also have plans to read the book When the Body Says No to help me understand my body a little more. Shannon and I are reading it together as a long-distance sisterly book club activity. Feel free to join, if you like - I've been told that this book will change your life.

Take weekends off
Sounds easy, but isn't. I only have school three days a week, so I am going to try my best to get my school work done on my free days so I can take weekends off. I need two days off to do many important things. For instance, this weekend Michael and I are going to Vancouver for an adventure (Lydia, we need to make some plans!), but other important plans include reading books that aren't related to political science, listening to Saturday radio on CBC, updating my blog and staring blankly into space.

That's what I've come up with so far. Give me your thoughts.


Anonymous said...

gentle erin:

i think you should plan to meet olivia in vancouver when you are there. she is not stressful.

i'll email you her email and phone number because i wouldn't want the crazies reading your blog finding that stuff out.

you three could become fast friends. although i realize you already have heaps of friends, she is important.

love ya!

sarah said...

As a person who has many friends and relatives who affectionately describe me as "The most neurotic person I know." I know a thing or two about the anxiety. I used to suffer from anxiety attacks when I was in school... not fun at all!

I think all your ideas so far are pretty great. Especially giving yourself weekends off. Fantastic idea!

I usually like to just get outside. Even if I'm just sitting on the curb outside the house for awhile, it helps. I also suggest dancing. Just randomly while you are at home. I do it almost every day and I always feel great after shakin what my momma gave me for a good solid 5 mins. Just do it. You'll see.

Lydia said...

Erin, you gave me anxiety when I read that you're coming this weekend! I work evenings both days, so I can hang out with you in the day. Where are you going to stay? Should we put plan "crashing Kelly's" into action?

Anonymous said...

Ok - book club partner - now you've reminded me that I have a book to read that needs reading heh heh.
I will start tonight my lovely:)

Ok here is my advice for stress - favorite non-alcoholic beverages that I rotatate through when I need a fix:

1) Thai ice tea with coconut milk warm or iced
2) Almond milk hot chocolate with cocoa camino or other really yummy cocoa
3) Amazake - a rice based drink that you can buy - many flavors, filling, yummy - no added sweetener but SWEET!

brie said...

Erin I had no idea you were a Taurus, too! Another club member.

I've also suffered from anxiety since a very young age. When I was about 3 or 4 I used to practice drills in our backyard just in case there was a nuclear bomb.

And I have intestinal problems. I don't remember if I ever showed you the photo of my colon that I have.

Anyhow, it sounds like you're on the right track because you've actually got a plan and it seems do-able.

My advice is to read children's and teen novels during the semester. That's what I did. I felt like I was accomplishing something by reading an entire book even if it was "Harriet the Spy".

Anonymous said...

Oh, these tentative plans are highly admirable!

On the stomach-stress tip, these audio lectures on the physiology of stress are quite enlightening (there are links to reading on that page as well).

I thought the first one, "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers" (dorky!), had some neat explanations of how sustained stress screws up our guts: different digestive organs have opposite reactions to stress (some shut down, some speed up), so they can end up uncoordinated and at odds with each other.

Anonymous said...

How about cycling? You've got a good bike and a kick-ass helmet. I used to just take off on my bike on Sundays and cycle around for hours until I was physically exhausted. Clears the mind and good for the body.

robyn. said...

i go to the gym every day, sometimes twice. but then again, i'm a bum with no job or school to speak of.

working out helps me sleep better which i'm sure will help stresses.

but just watch out for any workout classes that involve the excersise ball and an overly exctited teacher, my thighs won't let me sit or stand or move today...