December 3, 2009

The Final Thursday

(Disclaimer: I haven't a clue what's going on with the font here today. Just bear with me.)

Here it is, the last Thursday of the semester. (For me, anyway.) Tomorrow through next Wednesday will be spent busting my hump to get through semester projects and their respective presentations and the two “stick and twig” finals in my plant ID classes. By all rights, I should probably be spending today buckling down and working on all this. But since I’ve started taking Thursdays “off”, I find that my mental state is greatly improved. And since I really need all the help I can get to power through these last few days, I’m enforcing today’s off-ness.

Over the last few weeks, it has really come home to me that I am way past due for figuring out some kind of workable stress management systems. It’s not that I have some that aren’t working efficiently for me, it’s that I don’t have any at all. My main reaction to stress is to get irritated and then go up the anger/frustration scale from there. Yeah, not good. I become a scary, scary woman when this happens.

In college, I briefly flirted with managing stress via alcohol. Very quickly, the problems with this became apparent:

1. I’m cheap, and alcohol isn’t. This problem was not overcome when I graduated and started having money to spend.
2. Alcohol on it’s own doesn’t really taste good to me. There are a couple of exceptions to this (and I do mean “a couple” – as in two), but when you combine #2 with #1, it’s pretty limiting.
3. A good buzz does take the edge off, no doubt about it. But I never perfected the art of getting and then maintaining a buzz without going over the line into full-on drunk – and that’s just not a hobby to which I felt it was worth dedicating my time and money.

So what does that leave me? Well, exercise is good. The new house is in quite a nice little older neighborhood, and if I time it right I can get out and take a nice long walk with a minimum of school and commuter traffic to deal with at the intersections. However, this is Colorado and we do get days like today where there’s snow on the ground and it’s seven degrees outside. And I loathe the treadmill. Walking and walking and walking and not actually going anywhere makes no sense to me at all. Going out for a walk not only takes care of the exercise goal, but the distraction of the scenery works towards the stress reduction goal. Going back to my college days for a moment, I found that a 45-minute walk around the park near my apartment was a good way to manage stress. (It also helped me go down four dress sizes in under a year. While I’d love to be able to do that again, I’m really more concerned about the stress issue at the moment.)

However, while walks are nice, what I’d really like is something a little more, shall we say – aggressive? Demolishing the funky basement that came with this house will go a long way toward relieving stress, but demolition does eventually come to an end. So, I’m thinking punching bag - one of those big heavy bags that you have to bolt into a support beam. Surely I can find one of those and some gloves on Craigslist for not too terribly much money? I’ll keep you posted.

Finally, for those of you who want to know how our new additions are doing, I’m afraid that you’ll just have to make do with a quick, “everybody’s fine” and come back in a week or two. But I will say this: We’re thinking that we’ve figured out why such a sweet cat like Thing One every managed to find himself in a shelter – the boy will NOT SHUT UP. He’s got this tiny, slightly whiny meow that is cute when heard occasionally, but downright insane-making when played on a constant loop. I am not ashamed to say that when I discovered that he would quiet down for a little catnip time, I dumped the ENTIRE bag of ‘nip on the family room floor just to get 20 minutes of silence. And I’ll do it again.


HubbleSpacePaws said...

ROFL!! We do what it takes, dear!! I think there are kitteh anti-anxiety drugs so you might want to ask the vet the next time you go and see if that does the trick. Or, T1 could just be part Siamese...

The punching bag sounds like a great idea. I've found walking up and down steps while listening to soothing music works pretty well... when I remember to do it! Good luck and have a lovely hiatus!!

KittyChair Designs said...

Vigorous tummy rubs also seem to settle him down. However, it's not always a good time/place for those.

One of the few good things about my ex-job was the 14 flights of stairs that I could make use of when I needed to get some exercise. It was good for my blood pressure and my "back porch" ... alas, neither of those is a good as it once was. ;-)