Featured Image: An art project I did when I was manic (Title inspired by Stressed Out by Twenty One Pilots)
One of the best ways to improve your health is to lower stress levels. This is particularly important to me as stress has triggered many medical issues for me including stomach ulcers, hives, and constipation like you wouldn’t believe.
But how the fuck am I supposed to stop being stressed when the world is on fire?
And it’s not just that we only have three years before peak global emissions threaten humanity as we know it, or that the housing market is untouchable or gas prices went up to $4 or that Russia is killing and raping Ukrainians, or that Biden is teasing us with pushing off student loan payments but not fully forgiving them because then he’d have to admit there’s a problem, or that despite marijuana being legalized in multiple states there’s still many in jail or have records for petty possession, or that a bunch of states are trying to outlaw abortion because secretly they want to make sure millennials and gen-z have babies and make sure that the lucrative private adoption market stays up (and also because they probably just hate women) or that large parts of forests are on fire constantly around the globe, and that permafrost is melting which in turn creates more emissions and more melting, or that inflation is up 8.5% and the cost of living is nearly impossible to reach for the average American, oh, and of course, that pandemic that will never end…
but it’s the little things too. Like when it’s 1am and you’re having really bad cramps because you’re constipated from thinking about all that and so you go on your phone to wait out the pain but then you realize your internet isn’t working and so you check if there’s a power outage but your light turns on so you check if there’s an internet outage but there’s not so you google how to reset a router but that doesn’t work and so you unplug the router and then also unplug the OTC which you had to google what that was and then you plug them back in after two minutes and then you wait for the router light to stop blinking and now you have internet but now it’s 2am and you’re tummy still hurts and the rats are drinking from their water bottle which is driving you nuts but you’re in so much pain you can’t really get up from the couch. And now you’re stressed.
And you’re thinking about the massive to-do list that never ends. You may have cleaned the toilet today but you’ve realized that the sink needs to be cleaned too. You may have tried to call your doctor but they were at lunch and so you have to try again later but you forget so it’s still on the list. You forgot you were supposed to research how to figure out that resident at work’s computer problem so now you’re googling it but the answers aren’t helpful (every time the computer goes to sleep it keeps going to lock screen like it’s been awakened but it hasn’t been touched and you can’t for the life of you figure out why it’s doing that). And that rash that came back for the third time finally went away but the thought of it coming back before your vacation haunts you. And your face is so broken out because of the stress but because of the anxiety you’ve been picking at it so it’s all getting worse and no amount of washing or product is keeping it at bay. And you still haven’t sent your RSVP to the wedding you’re a bridesmaid in because you don’t have a stamp and so a one-step process has become a whole thing that will be put off until I’m being threatened. And you’ve completely forgotten about that guy you went on a date with who will probably read this but you’ve been unable to communicate properly with really anyone because your brain sounds like this ^
Last night I had Cotton-Eyed Joe stuck in my head.
It’s a nightmare to be in my brain.
But to make sure that I don’t get another stomach ulcer, or break out in hives or acne, or get so severely constipated that I double over in pain… I have to chill.
So… how do we do that.
First off, drop the little things.
There’s been broken pasta on my floor for like a week because when I snapped the spaghetti to break it in half, a bunch of pieces went flying. But that is so fucking far down on the list that it can get done whenever.
Don’t take anything on unnecessarily.
I do this often. I pack my schedule and then have regrets when I’m out of energy or so anxious I can’t breathe. Just say no.
Lists and fucking spreadsheets galore
I keep my money stressors lower by tracking my spending in a spreadsheet and calculating how many months’ worth of expenses I can afford with my savings before I die (October).
I’m also very forgetful so lists are everywhere. The act of making a list can help with memory, as well as make you feel less stressed ’cause hey, there’s less than you thought! Or it can make it worse because you realize you actually have a lot on your plate and your life is an ongoing nightmare of responsibilities and it will literally never get easier.
I hate that this works but it does. Move your body. Go for walks. Do anything that gets blood flowing. Unfortunately, it works.
I know that this sounds counterintuitive because you should eat healthily but in times where planning and cooking a meal is overwhelming… just fucking eat whatever.
Just go to bed
Just give up on today. It’s okay. There are more days. Or not. Could die any day I guess. Which makes it even better because why are we stressing so much when literally you could die whenever. Sure, put money in your 401k but also eat that Crunchwrap Supreme because some idiot could T-bone you on your way home.
Anyways it’s almost 3am now and my tummy is calming down so I will also try to sleep this one off and try again tomorrow.
Since writing this, some things have changed (in my personal life not in the world haha the world is still shit)
- I did not end up calling my doctor. I started taking Zyrtec everyday instead
- I did end up fixing that computer at work. His keyboard was waking up the computer somehow so I disabled it from being able to wake
- Face is still broken out
- I still have not RSVP’d to the wedding and now there’s a shower that I have to RSVP for too
- I have not talked to that guy I went on a date with
- I finally swept up that broken pasta that was on the floor today (4/20) after…several weeks
- I started a new job this week teaching ceramics and its a little stressful but fun, and my landlord is coming for a “yearly” inspection tomorrow and I have not had time to deep-clean because I’ve been so tired so that is stressing me out