Strategies for Reducing Stress and Depression
When I find that I am feeling more overwhelmed or stressed than usual, sometimes a mini "time-out" can make all the difference.
I make an effort to schedule in down time, but because I run my own business out of my apartment, I do not do take days off as often as I could. I am fortunate to have reached the point where I do not have to make a grab at every opportunity that comes my way; however, I do want to do a complete and thorough job on the projects I accept.
There is still some perfectionism at play here. Owning my own business means that every failure is mine as well as every triumph. I tend to push myself so I do not have "failures"... and this can lead to a quick crash and burn.
Mini time-outs can be for a few hours or an entire day. Sometimes, a mini time-out is allowing myself to sleep in without using an alarm clock. On other days, it means a nap.
Sometimes, a mini time-out will be stopping on my way to or from an appointment to shop at a store like Marshalls or TJMaxx and take my dear sweet time browsing through the clearance racks. I also found a 99 cent video store in my area and will rent a movie to watch every so often once I officially call the "work day" over. (Now that movies are released on DVD instead of video, the selection is slim but I usually manage to find something.)
This week, my mini time-out is dog and cat sitting. I feel worlds away from my regular routine. I am at a friend's computer right now, and her cat just put her paw on my leg. Wow! (I recently came back from visiting my sister and my two nephews [ages 5 and almost 7] and a pet's paw is the next best thing to my nephew's head on my shoulder while I read a goodnight story.)
Taking a mini time-out and changing up the daily schedule gives my brain a break from thinking so seriously (which is something I can do well and is not my best asset.) Just being in a new location, a new neighborhood, walking a dog every day and playing with animals is a wonderful change of pace and allots for so much extra relaxation. This type of time-out is my favorite.
I am able to rejuvenate. I am able to breathe again. I am able to laugh with/by myself and enjoy myself. Life seems not only doable, but something I want to participate in.
The cat is now on the windowsill looking out outside. She is halfway in/halfway out, as there is no screen. My friend told me she loves to do this if you are on the computer. She meows, and the window opens. I tell you, this cat is fascinating to watch...
I am off to catch the remainder of the Red Sox game on a TV that is the size of my art table. (Did I mention they have cable?) I no longer live in New England, so my opportunities to watch my favorite team are few. Yet another benefit to a time-out: I get to have some fun!