Damsel in De-Stress
February 5, 2014
I had a bad day. Mostly down to the “day job” but not entirely. Got to my desk and was given news that I really didn’t want to hear. My first reaction was “I NEED CHOCOLATE”. This has been my instinctive reaction for many years. If bad news reaches me after 6pm then it changes (slightly) to “I NEED WINE”
However, the day job bad news reached me at 9:30am with no chocolate in my desk and wayyyyyy before ‘glass of red-time’. So I had no option but to choose alternatives.
My first move was to decamp to the ladies, mobile phone in hand, and call Twin (who I knew would be at home) to vent my rage and fury. Not only is she my Twin, she’s best-female-friend-in-the-world-ever and my wing-woman. She is the one described in light-hearted articles about friends who would give me an alibi; help me dispose of evidence and sell her house if I needed to flee the country on short notice. (She is also female… which makes her understand exactly why I’m the way I am).
I called her and vented. She made all the right noises in reply; agreed wholeheartedly with my damning verdicts on my job, my colleagues, and the-state-of-the-world-in-general; and helped the “red mist” to clear.
Back at my desk I avoided chocolate, crisps and cans of cola and, several hours later, I got my daily cheery email from my Lovely Husband and an enquiry about how my day was going. I replied by email because he is male. A call from me in high dudgeon just baffles him. He, like Twin, is a rock in my life. He is my wing-man; the one who soothes me when I’m enraged and guides me through the Zen-like process of “meh”. This is the state he adopts whenever a potentially difficult situation arises. He appraises whatever is before him; decides if getting stressed about it will improve the situation; works out if there is anything he can to resolve the situation… if “yes” he does it; if “no” he reverts to “meh”… (which in ‘female-speak’ translates to “this-is-a-rubbish-situation-but-I-can’t change-it-and-getting-anxious/worried/angry-about-it-won’t-serve-any-useful-purpose-so-I’m-just going-to-go-with-the-flow-and-see-where-I-end-up”=MEH).
He replied with a suitably MEH-filled email reply (which I re-read several time during the afternoon when I could feel my blood pressure rising) and I managed to get through the rest of the day without resorting to chocolate or crisps. I set myself a difficult work task and managed to occupy myself sufficiently to not venture out in the car for a late lunch (for “venture out in the car” please read “drive to the national High-Street-Bakery in search of cheese/meat/potato products wrapped in pastry”).
It wasn’t easy but I got through the day without a “comfort crutch” of any food or drink. I did have to keep reading LH’s message and admit that I felt more than a little satisfied with myself each time the “…pastry…” thought came into my brain and I managed to dismiss it.
Ironically… the complex work task I had started as a means to distract me until the end of my allocated 7.5 hours proved to be utterly absorbing and I was so determined to complete it that I actually ended up working three hours longer than scheduled in order to break the back of it. I left feeling very pleased with my efforts and with no visible damage to my weight-loss efforts.
My late departure from the office meant that Lovely Husband had got home a couple of hours before me. As I opened the front door I was aware of a very lovely smell. My husband had prepared dinner - grilled chicken with a lovely low-calorie-soft-cheese-and-garlic filling; a crisp green salad; and a glass of elderflower cordial ready and waiting. I could feel even more of the angst from the day leaving my (by now rather tired) body and thoroughly enjoyed being served dinner and being banished from the kitchen when I attempted to do the washing up. (Yes, we are one of the few households in 2014 who do not own a dishwasher. Doing the dishes is usually a chore we share together around about 9pm in the evening when “one-washes/one-wipes” and we discuss life, the universe, and everything).
The evening was then rounded off by LH coming in to announce my bath (complete with bubbles) was running. In addition, in between doing a full day at work and preparing dinner, he had also put together an MP3 playlist which he added to my player and set up in the bathroom.
Regular visitors will know that music is absolutely the one thing that can lift my spirits and make my heart sing. I am a self-confessed “Child of The Eighties” but have recently been venturing back in time to listen to music from the Seventies (music that I recall from early school discos, but more from hearing my mum singing in the kitchen when she was pottering in the evenings). It’s a combination of memories and a voyage of discovery and I love it… A fact which had not been lost on LH who had put together a compilation of UK hit singles of 1979 for me to play whilst soaking in a tub of bubbles…(and I had completely forgotten that “Wanted” by The Dooleys (where are they now?) was a favourite of mine that year!)
I highly recommend a lovely WLR-approved supper followed by a deep hot bath with bubbles and a fabulous “jukebox” as a way of banishing demons. Even if the demons are huge and they are only banished for a short time… It really can make all the difference.
What started out as a potentially horrible day, full of would-be weight-loss pitfalls and a ‘bad headspace’ actually turned into a successful WLR day. Not only that but I was reminded that food and drink are not the answer to anything... they are simply a distraction.
I also learned that I don’t have to revert to bad habits of the past… all it takes is a little willpower and discipline on my part. On top of that I was reminded of just how lucky I am with the people in my life and the way they show their support for me… and remembered that sometimes “MEH” is absolutely the best response in the world.
So if you find yourself facing a stressful situation and reverting to old (dare I say “bad”) habits of the past… why not make use of your own support network; your own focus and determination; give yourself some breathing space with some quality downtime… and learn the ways of “MEH”…..
With a wish for a wonderfully stress-free weight loss-friendly day for all.
With a Hug