What are 3 ways you calm down during stressful days?

One of the great and crazy things about taking good care of yourself is that the more you do it, the more you want to do. Just doing ten or 20 minutes of yoga every morning has motivated me to spend some time stretching before I go to bed, to step away from my laptop and do some simple poses after a stressful conference call, and to take breaks throughout the day just to close my eyes and breathe deeply. One little yoga class has inspired all of that. I really believe that the better I feel, the more apt I am to seek out other ways to feel better.

I think the same is true of the other end of the spectrum, too. And I imagine we've all been in enough junk food-couch potato-not enough water/sleep/sex/activity slumps to know how easy it is to let all of your healthy ways go.

Let's not stay focused on those "blegh" moments in time, though. Instead, let's discuss the self-care rituals and routines you already have in place. Specifically, I am interested in hearing how you are keeping yourself calm during the days when the dog is sick, the clock is ticking on a work deadline, your kids are making you nutters, your boyfriend is an hour late, traffic bites...and all of those other things that threaten to send us screaming, sobbing, or stumbling through a drive-thru, a bottle of wine, or a spiral of sel-destruction. What things do you do to help yourself breathe through everyday stress?

I will begin with my three favorite calming techniques. I know from reading your postive, empowering comments from previous posts that I will be inspired by the ways you all are taking care of yourselves, too. So fire away, and maybe we will all be motivated to do add just one more soothing technique to our stressful days.

1. I stopped talking on the phone in the car. I used to use the 15 minutes I spend in the car when I pick up my son from school to catch up on phone calls. Then I realized it was only making that rush hour time feel more frantic. As much as I'd like to multi-task, I now make myself put the phone away so I can listen to the music that soothes me, work out the stress by belting out a song, or just sit in silence. I don't have very many moments when I focus in on one task, so it is a good exercise for me to slow down even more while I drive (not to mention, safer and healthier). Sure, I get itchy to dial a friend's number sometimes as I sit in an endless line of traffic, but most days I feel like those few minutes without my phone at my ear are a luxury.

2. I stopped going to the grocery store. Instead, I use a grocery delivery service. Some of my favorite food items are not available, and some of my refrigerator standards are a bit more expensive than they are in the store. Also, there just are not the two-for-one specials or other great deals that make feeding a family a lot easier on a budget. However, the online grocery retailer I use has a great selection of organics, and has much fresher produce. I can use coupon codes to allay the delivery price and additionally, I save myself a lot of sanity by not going to the grocery store with a crabby preschooler at 5 p.m. Even if I do pay a bit more, it's worth it to me to have someone bring everything I need to me (and up all the stairs to my apartment!) and to know that a stressful day doesn't end in more stress in a long checkout line.

3. I started drinking a lot more tea. Don't get me wrong, I consume a lot of coffee. Too much, I am sure. But I've added in more tea simply because, to me, it is calmness in a cup. Just saying, "I think I'd like a cup of tea" makes me exhale for some reason. And taking a few minutes to boil water, choose a flavor, steep it until it is ready, helps me unwind the worked up muscles and thoughts that otherwise keep me stressed for hours. I've had days where I pee about a hundred times because I've had so much tea. But if that's the price for this elixir, I will take it. Preferably with honey and a splash of milk.

What are the 3 ways you choose calm over stress during your day?

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