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The Destressification of Weirdos

lolcat-stressed SELS LAUNCHES IN PB tomorrow. Equal parts Exciting and terrifying.

I am trying to find ways that help me DESTRESS that do not involve 1) Buttloads of strenuous exercise. This is my FAVORITE. When I am unhappy, I run straight up a mountain, frantically paddle the elliptical for an hour, or do rigorous yoga in 104 degree heat…. and ALL OF THIS is utterly nixed by this still lingering mono-fatigue. This weekend, after two days of just REGULAR LIFE—ambitious things like HAVING LUNCH OUT and BUYING SCHOOL SUPPLIES— I hit the wall. I slept for 15 hours yesterday. Heh. Clearly not ready to run straight up a mountain.

2) Eating my feelings. MMMM, DELICIOUS FEELINGS! In my secret heart, I KNOW there is no stress that a whole fried chicken and nineteen chocolate cookies couldn’t fix. EVEN SO, I cannot find a single doctor or even a crazy web health guru that agrees with this very valid, smart opinion. At this point, I am willing to pay rock hard cash to any doctor or even a doctor shaped puppet who can say, “Fried chicken boosts the immune system,” with a straight face. I am so ready to believe this!

Since there seems to be some crisis-level international shortage of Doctor-shaped puppets providing nutritional lies on demand for reasonable fees (DOES THE MEDIA KNOW????) I am actively in search for other ways to de-stress.

Want to help me brainstorm? We have to think OUTSIDE THE BOX. I mean, we have all read the magazine articles about stress at the dentist’s. They all say to exercise, which I love, but can’t do, and then…they offer these suggestions:

BATHS. No. Baths combine stillness with being damp. I am not fond. Also, it is like you are the unwashed base-meat for person soup. No amount of bubbles that smell like verbena can keep me from squatting tensely in the water imagining I am stewing in both my own foul juices and the repulsive bodily effluvium of all the humans who sat in the tub before me.

Massage. OH NO NO NO. Massage involves people I don’t know touching me with oils. I could only manage that if I could peel my skin off, leave it at the massage therapist’s office and come back and get it later when it had been made supple and calm. That would be great, actually. I would slide happily right into my refreshed, new skin and gambol off as carefree as a fawn. But if I have to be IN the skin while it is being poked and dabbed and rubbed at, I am going to need general anesthesia.

Gardening/Crafting/Soduku. Bugs/Yarn Snarls/Math. No/No/No.

Meditation: I HATE to be still and not think things, and soothing chimes make me murderous. I am made of spastic monkey atoms. I am SO kinetic that yoga is really awesome for me—keeps the body busy so I CAN be mentally still—but Yoga is out right now, as I said. SO! A good friend sent me some 2 minute guided meditations, thinking they were so short, I could manage one.

Do you know that the first 2 minute meditation I tried was actually 2 minutes and 27 seconds? I spent the first minute feeling SO RESENTFUL of that extra 27 seconds of SNEAKY SURPRISE MEDITATION they tried to slip in on me that my heart rate jacked and my vision clouded over with a wash of pure distilled meditation rage.

By minute two, I forgot I was mad.

To be fair, I also forgot I was meditating.

stressed 2 I stopped listening to the guide, and was actively playing a spiritually damaging game I REALLY like called Snappy Comeback.

Snappy Comeback is when you viscerally remember a mean or awful or tactless thing a person said that left you floundering, mouth agape. First you re-experience that awful helpless fish-floppy feeling, and then you reimagine the scene with you instantly coming up with a brilliant, snappy comeback and swaggering cheerily away.

This is the one I played when I was supposed to be meditating—-and you have to imagine this opening line being said VERY EARNESTLY, with serious blinking—really she was not kidding.

Her: Oh, you’re the author? But you don’t LOOK glamorous…

Real Answer: Oh. Um, heh. Sorry?

Reimagined Answer: Yeah, weird, huh? And *you* don’t look like a butthole.

I doubt this promoted my spiritual growth.

And that’s the Holy Herd of Unstress-Activity, right there, saucily dismissed with prejudice. SO it is BRAINSTORM TIME. Let’s get outside the regulation STRESS BOX. Weirder the better. I am GAME for some serious de-stress lunacy. I KNOW YOU CAN DELIVER, Best Beloveds. A better batch of weirdos cannot be found on the web. So hit me with your best shots, or, if you got nothin’, can you find me a Doctor Shaped Puppet on Etsy who might be inclined to lie to me about the healing properties of queso and fried shrimp tacos? Or you can tell me the worst best comeback you ever thought of, WAY too late to use it. THAT sounds relaxing!

34 comments to The Destressification of Weirdos

  • Martha Jedlicka

    Best comeback I ever actually used AT THE TIME (and not in my head many minutes later)…
    I was on vacation and was in VACATION clothes (shorts, tank, ponytail, etc.) and went to a hoity and toity place for a mani pedi. Without me even asking, the snotty woman at the salon told me the price in a tone that clearly intimated she believed I couldn’t afford it. So. I asked her sweetly “Will you be doing it?”. When she said yes, I said “Oh. Then never mind.” and walked out the door. My husband actually high-fived me as we were walking down the sidewalk away from that place. I choose to believe it was because he was proud of my backbone, and not because I saved us a bunch of cash.

    Also – I distress by playing mindless games on Facebook.

  • Martha Jedlicka

    Ha – DEstress – not DIstress. Although sometimes they are the same thing.

  • Jabberwocky

    When I am super-duper climbing the walls stressed, I mainline Gilmore Girls. Is there a program or movie(s) that might work for you?

  • erinanne

    What about a puppet of The Doctor? I would imagine there are those out there on Etsy.

    Oh I am so good at Snappy Comeback. Six hours after it happened. I wish I could think of an example of the top of my head, but this just proved why I am best at Snappy Comeback long after everyone else has stopped playing.

    I am sorry you can’t do yoga. I have just started practicing and am shocked at how I am bale to clear my mind with the motion.

  • Dew

    Best witty comeback, actually issued from my mouth in person, unpremeditated, and surprised even myself:
    A fancy-pants doctor was telling me all about experimental surgical procedures and as-yet-unavailable new technology for treating my child’s condition. I could see the dollar signs in his eyes when he looked at my sweet, small, precious child. He had nothing helpful to offer, but invited me to keep in touch becuase he was “in” on all the newest developments. On his way out of the room, the man said with a grin, “it is an exciting time in the treatment of (xyz condition)!”
    I lifted my eyebrow and retorted, “Actually, as a parent, exciting is not the word I would choose right now.”
    He oopsed himself back to a chair and sat down to have an actual, human interaction after that.

  • Brian

    The problem with sharing ‘weird’ de-stressing ideas is that, unavoidably, you’re going to imagine in your head me doing them. You will. You’re already grinning. I can feel it.

    5) Biking in First Gear: Get a multi-speed bike, put it in the lowest gear (where you have to pedal like mad) and go. Ride. Don’t think about where you’re going, just turn when you turn. Do not shift up, that sucks the weirdness right out. Bonus release: wave wildly at strangers like you know them.
    * Bring your phone/GPS with you for when you reach that oh-shit-where-am-I moment.

    4) Free Shopping Adventure: go to a big store full of stuff you like. Grab a cart and buy things like you won the effing lottery. Strut around and show your exquisite taste and style to other shoppers. Check out, leave store, turn right around and return it all. Tell the returns person you’re on new meds. Nod vigorously if you get ‘that look’.
    * Try not to do this multiple times per day at the same store.

    3) Google ‘Jokes’: Read. Feel free to add ticks to the weird-o-meter with such modifiers as kids, adult, stupid, clever, revolting, dirty and… oh see, you’re imagining me doing this. GODDDAMMIT.
    * No clever asterisk comment for you, Judgey McJudgery.

    2)Olde Timey TV: watch television episodes from the 70s. My preference are cartoons, but just about anything will do (for extreme release, consider classic Warner Bros Bugs Bunny or anything from Sid and Marty Krofft). Watch them and blurt out loud what happens before it happens or just veg like when you were a kid and had none of the stress.
    * Warning: DO NOT watch H.R. Puffnstuff when high.

    1) Insane Headphone Dancing: put on comfy clothes, close doors and windows, mount headphones, play dance/club/dub music loud and flail. Well, “dance”, but nobody sees you, so you can rehearse those crazy Flashdance-inspired motions you’ve only dreamed about. For bonus stress release, add singing. Singing with headphones on with music so loud you can’t hear if you’re even in the same key with the melody is awesome weird (or so I am told).
    * Secure all video and audio recording devices prior to attempting.

  • Best witty come back:

    This jerk at work was making jokes that were NOT funny, quite offensive in fact. Then he made some comment about none of us having a sense of humor and not being smart enough to get his jokes. So I said, “No, I have a good sense of humor. That’s why I don’t laugh at your jokes.” THEN I WALKED OUT. It was awesome. I heard someone in the background say, “Oh! Drop the mic!”


    Binge watch TV or binge read a good book series? Getting lost in other people’s stories help me forget about my own story when it’s too hard to handle. Maybe iPad games?

  • Trish Frankland

    I’m wondering if target practice might help? I bought hubs a Bug-A-Salt gun that shoots table salt at insects. Or perhaps a marshmallow shooter and you can take aim at the squirrels in the birdfeeder? Or a potato pistol that shoots little pellets of spuds? Or maybe just the mother of all squirt guns?

  • Ron

    Suggestions for de-stressing:

    1) Shooting – There’s something very primal about the release of a charge of gunpowder. If you have access to a shotgun, shooting clays is lots of fun and watching a small disk turned into tiny clouds of particles is very satisfying. Target shooting at the range with a handgun is also quite enjoyable.

    2)Watch Sports on TV – Actually *watch* the games and get involved with the team. Your Atlanta Braves are a very good baseball team and I’d recommend you start there. Pick a favorite player…buy his shirt and wear it while watching the games. Actively watching the sport will force your mind to process everything else you’ve been thinking about in the background.

    3) Buy a pair of shoes – I don’t know WHY this works, but shoes seem to solve a multitude of problems….

  • Chris of the Woodwork

    …and this would be EXACTLY the reason for my use of prescription drugs.

    Lots of them.

  • Jill W.

    Since you are limited physically, I would suggest finding a game or games to play obsessively. Do you still play WOW? Even something mind numbing like Candy Crush would work.

    I also like the shooting idea that someone else suggested. Shooting clay targets is fun and definitely a stress reliever.

  • Gayle C.

    If you went to high school in the South, watch every minute of the “Friday Night Lights” series on Netflix. I promise you will invite the characters into your world and they will bless YOUR heart by taking you away from yourself.

  • Courtney Leigh

    Have you ever tried Reiki? It’s a little woo-woo-out-there, BUT I have enjoyed my sessions immensely and I swear to you a session once saved me from a migraine. Seriously. It stopped a migraine.

    Reiki is sometimes referred to as air massage, which is perfect for your whole no touching thing. It’s an ancient Japanese technique and is used to promote healing and relaxation which sort of sounds perfect for you right now. You do have to lay or sit still, BUT you are allowed to think if you would like to. I work at a cancer center where we provide Reiki for patients for free and we’ve had several who have been able to reduce or stop taking their pain meds. I strongly suggest you look into it. I’m sure Decatur is crunchy enough that there are several practitioners to choose from.

  • Worst/Best comeback of all time is, of course: “No, you’re a towel.”

    [Google it] Stops ’em in their tracks every time.

  • Christie

    If you don’t have fragrance allergies, perfume can be soothing. Not, like, department store perfume that smells like the distilled essence of Justin Bieber (ew), but essential oil-type perfumes. I LOVE Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: blackphoenixalchemylab.com/

    They are hand-blended perfumes inspired by literature and history and folklore and other wonderful things. They even make perfume called Bliss that smells like milk chocolate. You can buy $4 Imps (sample bottles) and they will usually throw in freebies with your order. Leave a comment telling them what you LOVE and what you HATE when you’re ordering and they’ll adjust your free sample accordingly.

    I would be the bishop of the church of treating stress with fried chicken and chocolate cookies (if such a thing existed), but I’ve been trying to use perfume as a sensory substitute. It is not as good as chocolate, but rubbing your wrists with nice smelling things and then sniffing them periodically (once it’s dry, obvs) throughout the evening is fairly soothing. Plus, deep breathing is very destressifying.

  • There are some really good suggestions here. I sew, which doesn’t work for you. I get lost in movies or TV series I like – Gilmore Girls and West Wing are two favorites. A few years ago during a particularly stressful time I found working on a jigsaw puzzle oddly calming. I set it up and then worked on it when I needed a mental break.

  • Shannan

    When I can’t run or bike or swim or do yoga, my favorite (weird) de-stressification techniques are:

    1. Sanding things. Once, when I was unemployed and freaking out, I spent 80+ hours sanding the rust off a cast iron stove by hand. By the time it was done, I had found a job and was in possession of a gorgeous antique cast iron stove. Sanding is my version of meditation. My brain is really calm when I’m obsessively focused on something.

    2. Hate. I also find it very calming to spend 30 min on Hatred of All The Things. I start with big stuff like War and Poverty and Injustice, and whittle my way down to things like Cuckoo Clocks and Puce. I set a timer. I hate everything, whether I like it or not. It’s very freeing.

    3. Texting random wacky love bombs to my people: “You are brilliant and a snappy dresser, and you are the only person I know who can make using the word “plethora” in everyday conversation seem sexy.” Coming up with relevant nonsense occupies my mind, and the return texts are always happy and silly.

    Good luck. I’m never going to be able to take a bath again without thinking of it as person soup, but I like soup, so that’s okay.

  • 1. Grab yourself a hank of fabric, a needle, a hoop, and skeins of your favorite colored embroidery thread, then begin to sew your own design. I can see a pattern totally stressing you out.

    2. Put your legs up on the back of the sofa, hang your head off, and enjoy the head rush when you sit up. (You said you wanted outside the box)

    3. Have beautiful Maisy who carries your mitochondrial DNA in her very cells play with your hair while you watch Sense and Sensibility and speak with decidedly British accents.

    4. Pet Mango.

    5. Do VERY gentle yoga in a room of regular temperature, then do Savasanna until you fall slap asleep.

  • Comeback? I returned to my class after breaking up a fight in another room. When the snarkiest boy in my upper level class asked in his snarkiest voice, “So who won?” My reply? “I did.”

  • Jill

    1. Retail therapy- buy some small thing for yourself.
    2. Read!!! Maybe an old favorite that is like a friend
    3. Make lists- it helps me relax
    4. Take a slow walk- flat area! Do not overdo
    5. Tv-a-thon!!

    Saying a prayer for you-take special care of yourself!

  • Brigitte

    Re. The biking idea, better make it one of those giant tricycles in case you are overwhelmed by sudden nappage and don’t want to fall over. You could also watch exercise videos hosted by hot dudes, and merely flex your glutes and rotate your feet so as not to feel completely loadish. 🙂

  • Mel

    I’m going to sound self-righteously righteous with this comment, but the best anti-stress weapon in my arsenal is doing something nice for someone else. It can be a phone call, or sending a gift, or getting involved with some cause. But, taking myself out of my self is good therapy.

    I have an 18-year-old daughter who gives instant snappy comebacks. I repeat hers back to myself in awe. My favorite of the summer was to the not-very-nice parents of her friend (whom they had recently thrown out of the house for vague and unsatisfying reasons). They said to my daughter, “I’m sure you’ve heard all sorts of terrible things about us from our daughter. We hope you don’t get caught up in her lies.” And my daughter replied, “Your daughter does not air your dirty laundry in public.” And she said it loudly enough that everyone in the vicinity who was straining to hear got the hint. It was AWESOME.

  • Holly Gault

    A coloring book and a new huge box of crayons.

  • edj

    Hmm. A nap and a crisp newish-to-me mystery work great. Or you could rewatch all the Dr Who episodes and enjoy the story line, skipping the ones you remember not liking. Both of these should involve tea, made right like your mum taught you and drunk in a bone china mug. Also I think a few fried shrimp tacos wouldn’t hurt. Your body is working hard to oust mono. It deserves a cookie.

  • Laraine

    Stand inside a ring of giant sequoias. You won’t really want to do anything much but stare and be grateful.

    Also, go to acupuncture and tell the doc to give you only a few pins, for only 20 minutes, and to stay with you for the first five minutes but not talk (much).

    I got no snappy comebacks.

  • Gail

    Re eating your feelings: I mean, really, has chocolate ever made stress worse? If someone tried chocolate and it didn’t help, maybe the chocolate wasn’t high quality enough. Try some Wittamer and get back to me.

    I am so with you on the meditation thing. I often do this yoga video where the first three minutes or so is meditation and breathing before it moves on to real yoga, and I’m not going to lie, I usually just skip that part. At best, I decide to try it and get about thirty seconds in before I lose the will to live and skip it anyway.

    As for the stress relief, I am SO BAD at stress relief. My family is always on me about how I’m super-anxious all the time about everything and will probably die at 40 at this rate. I basically take every stress-relieving activity and turn it into a new extra source of anxiety. Knitting is the opposite of stress-relieving, especially when I am creating things that have to actually fit people and it becomes a bunch of math problems, or if I’m working to a deadline like a baby’s birth or someone’s birthday. I ruined reading as stress relief, because I’m always worrying about how disorganized my kindle is and how I have all these books on there I started and never finished, but keep putting new ones on and start those instead of finishing the others.

    As far as actual stress relieving recommendations, I’m kind of coming up blank here. Um, maybe binge-watching television? That sort of works for me. Also I find laughing helps, so choosing something funny. British panel shows usually do the trick for me. I’ve seen every episode of Would I Lie to You? approximately 13 times.

  • Berry

    1. Stretching – not yoga, really not hot yoga. Just long slow gentle stretches one bit of your anatomy at a time. Don’t try to meditate, just focus on how each stretch feels and think only about that.

    2. I like to purge my closet or rearrange rooms.

    3. A bottle of wine and a really good book.

    4. Recreational time with my significant other. (And no, I’m not just talking sex, although that’s fun too.) A shared video/board/card game is a great way to bond, since you don’t have a lot of energy to go to the park/museum/whatever else floats your boat.

  • Laughter is the best medicine. Okay, maybe not for mono, but at least for stress relief. Pick up a funny movie or even better, a video of your favorite comedian and just laugh. I suggest Robin Williams if your kids aren’t around – he’s nonstop funny but on the raw side. You can also go to autocorrectfail.org for some funny, though also pretty blue humor. (Hmmm, it appears that I really like dirty humor.)

  • Corey

    Playdoh. You can satisfyingly squish it or smooth it or roll it or throw it at the floor. Or you can make voodoo dolls with it. I also highly suggest the Playdoh tool that makes it look like spaghetti.

    Best delayed comeback: I was home alone recovering from eye surgery that required me to lie on my face for 2 weeks (really), and some dude started pounding on my door–would not quit. When I opened it, he started into his spiel about having extra meat in his truck after filling my neighbors’ food orders, and wouldn’t I like to buy some? I politely told him I was sick, because he seemed very agitated that I said no, and I had no desire to have a fight with him in my foyer.
    What I said to the Facebooks: “I don’t give one single eff what kind of meat you want me to buy from your truck. Get off my lawn!”

  • Polyhedral dice and character sheets. Create a bunch of new characters for a D&D game. I always like creating characters like this. And then, if you like, you can assign them different colors – like puce and chartreuse and fuschia – and kill them off in various nasty ways. Except for one of each color. Keep your favorites alive to be used in a book later on. Even if your favorites are the bad guys. Sometimes those are the most fun, especially if you create mini-back stories for them.

  • My distressing thing lately is watching lots of stand-up comedy online. I am obsessed with Iliza Shlesinger’s “War Paint” on Netfix, and anything with Louis C.K. The more politically incorrect the better. There’s something about laughing that just makes it harder to feel sorry for myself. I need that right now.

  • Tequila Cookie Chris

    “* Warning: DO NOT watch H.R. Puffnstuff when high.”
    and Brian wins the internet
    PS- I’m laughing so hard I am now destressed

  • anonymous

    I just need a snappy comeback for the father-in-law who lives with us, ridiculously over-applies pesticides to his garden, and wants me to can the produce for him. I have a high-stress full-time job, an infant, a husband, and his care to deal with! “No” appears to mean “ask me again later and see if I’ve changed my mind.” Snappy comeback time! Anyone?