I’m pleased to report that last week’s pre-weekend stress abated in the end and that I am approaching the end of this week in a much calmer frame of mind and with less unfinished business on my to-do list. Many thanks to all those who posted their tried-and-tested stress remedies and suggestions on the blog, on Twitter and on Facebook. Here is a selection of the ones that appealed most…
- Anne-Julie passed on lots of tips, including the suggestion that I make an appointment for a massage or a facial. Such “extravagances” struck me as way too indulgent, but I’m seriously wondering whether this is something I should rethink. I do feel the benefit of taking the time to give myself a leisurely facial at home, but I wonder how much more relaxing and rewarding it could be (not to mention better results, perhaps) to have someone else do it all.
- Something else she said struck an immediate chord: “Not having to listen to anyone but the voice in your head can be very relaxing”. When I’m under stress I can get inordinately irritated by someone having the TV on (even quietly) in another room, and so I do very much appreciate the chance of silence. Even soothing music can be too much at times, so I really did try to make the most of some silent times when I could, and I felt the stress easing immediately. How lucky I am to have access to silence!
- Sharon also gave me lots of advice, one great piece being “sipping hot chocolate as slowly as possible (shot of mead or other enhancement optional)”. I tried this (the unenhanced variety was good enough) and it was really very good indeed. I don’t drink hot chocolate very often so it’s a treat in any case, and really savouring it down to the last drop was a wonderfully calming experience. I’ve been doing the same with tea, too, choosing a really aromatic sort where the perfume lingers in the room.
- James passed on the tip that “setting aside some time at the beginning of weekend-days to do some of the small discrete tasks lets me enjoy the rest of the day”. This most definitely works for me, and I have grown to love the routine of going out and getting the weekend shopping done before breakfast on a Saturday – that way the shops and market are less crowded, and I invariably come home with some goodie or other for the breakfast table to boot.
- Keith said “I find the sound of sea birds and the tides to be quite relaxing”, and I couldn’t agree more. It’s something I miss when I’m in land-locked Southern Germany, but a river or a lake is quite a good partial substitute, or even just watching and listening to the water flowing along the Bächle (water channels) in Freiburg’s streets. At some point when the weather was mild a few days ago I opened the french windows and just enjoyed that sound floating up from the street – it must have been Sunday as the street was blissfully quiet otherwise.
- Niamh’s suggestions included “a bath with lots of bubbles in the dark, candles and a eye mask”. I’m not much of a bath person (I’m too impatient and much prefer showers under almost any circumstances), but I did bring out various candles to put in the living room, which in combination with softer artificial lighting had a wonderful effect, as well as providing that special intense but delicate warmth that the dullness of central heating can’t match.
- Claire reminded me of a tip I’d forgotten about, that “orange garments have the power to lift your mood”. I’m a big fan of orange and luckily it’s a colour that seems to suit me, so this seemed like a grand opportunity to do a wardrobe check. Unfortunately the only orange thing I could find that was seasonably suitable was a scarf, but hey – it was a lovely soft angora scarf and so the feel was as comforting as the colour was cheery. And I’ve promised myself I’ll keep an eye out for a lovely dark orange dress or tunic top the next time I go shopping.
So, thanks again to my lovely friends for all the wonderful suggestions – every one was appreciated and as you can see, each had its own appeal and benefit.