Live Well: Stress Less

DSC_5284

Apologies for the lack of a post yesterday. I know it's lame to kick off the week with silence, but...

I arranged this past weekend to allow for maximum laziness, which ruled out the possibility of putting together a blog post. Other than going grocery shopping, I literally did not a single productive thing - and I'm totally okay with that.

Here's the thing - I went into this past weekend feeling completely burdened by stress. I can't point to one thing in particular, but by last Friday night I felt so weighed down by various things at work that I practically staggered out the door.

I'll admit it - I think I let stress get to me far more than the average person. Some people are great at putting the stressful things in their lives out of their minds. I let even the smallest things weigh me down, keep me awake, and make me feel nauseous. I worry about failing, about not meeting expectations even in the smallest things, about people being irritated, angry, or even just indifferent about me. And all of that can add up.

The end result is often me sitting around, feeling sorry for myself that I feel so stressed all the time. And looking around at other people's lives and envying their carefree ways.

But you know what's wrong with that attitude? Just about everything. Besides the fact that feeling sorry for myself accomplishes exactly NOTHING, I am absolutely disgusted any time I catch myself thinking that I'm somehow worse off than others. Because you know what? I have almost nothing in my life that should cause real stress. I have no children to worry about. All of my family members are healthy. I'm in an incredibly happy marriage. I can pay all my bills. I have plenty of food. And my life's on a pretty sweet trajectory.

I think there are so many times in this country, in this culture, where we find perverse pride in how stressed we are. And rather than trying to cut that stress down, we brag about it to everyone we can. For some reason, so many of us (myself very much included) feel like we HAVE to tell everyone we know about how many hours we work and how stressed we are as a result. Because, you know, otherwise how will they know how awesome we are? How messed up is that? Not only does that kind of attitude make us unhappy, it makes us boring. We need to stop.

So, this past weekend, I decided that my stress level gave me the right to spoil myself, but not to bore others with tales of worry. On Friday we met up with our lovely friend who was visiting from Texas (hi Jillian!!) and her sister. On Saturday I fit in a workout, lazed around, and went to Flour + Water for dinner. And on Sunday we turned our apartment into a cave and watched nine episodes of House of Cards. It was amazing. And far more interesting than talking about work.

Also, I need to take this opportunity to give a huge shout-out to the amazing staff at Flour + Water - not only did they NOT give us an attitude for running late (long story) but they crafted a personalized menu for our friend with a milk allergy so that we could all enjoy the tasting menu. It was an expensive dinner, but they made it feel like every penny was worth it. If you're ever in SF (or live here already!) you have to go - they haven't failed me yet.

Have a wonderful, enjoyable, stress-free, complaining-free day. I know I will.