Stressed Out!

Seems like life does that to us every now and then, yes? It’s not always bad but it does leave us gasping for breath. From November to February I was sick at least four times with sinus infections and bronchitis. Which, what the fuck, I quit smoking and THEN I get bronchitis? Fuck you, Lady Fate, you’re not funny. So there were holidays and sickness and doctors and urgent cares and bottles and bottles of prednisone. Then there were dog surgeries and dog injuries and then we all got the stomach bug from Hades and everything is just insane. Somewhere in there, I was supposed to have breast reduction surgery. I had it all planned out so that it coincided with the kids’ spring break and they could spend the first week up in Dayton with my family. Best laid plans and whatnot. I rescheduled quickly because I’m experiencing a ton of anxiety and really need to get the surgery out of the way. Really, they just don’t make enough clonazepam for another month of this. So surgery is one week away, on the 3rd. I’ve been scrambling to reschedule sitters and rides and dog training, and flooring installation (because, let’s do everything at the same time!) all while holding back hair while someone pukes. Which led to me feeling very much like pulling a Wreck-it Ralph.

So it’s time to break out the big guns. It’s time to actually put to use the coping skills I’ve been learning – and mostly ignoring – for 20 years. How do you soothe yourself when tensions are high? Some things are easy and obvious. Get a massage, buy expensive chocolate, smoke a little weed! Some things are more personal, more self-driven and usually more effective. These are mine.

This is my soothe song. I can’t explain it but the first time I heard it I could feel everything in me release just a little, like a long sigh. I also listen to Imogen Heap when I need to relax but only when I’m going to bed. I can’t sleep without white noise. I pack a fan to stay in a hotel or even to visit family. I can’t have a tv on, no audio books*, no music; even instrumental music keeps me awake. But Imogen’s ethereal qualities lull me into weightless sleep like the mythical siren. I only use it on the rare occasion that I really need extra care for myself, the days I’ve been fighting tears that I don’t understand. I recommend Ellipse with the bonus instrumental tracks, start with Little Bird. Anyway, here’s Life by the Avett Brothers:

The other thing I do lately is tea. I was having trouble making coffee that I like because I’m a leeetle picky and I’ve been trying to make small, healthy changes to my diet so I ventured into a Teavana. $800 later I can actually make a cup of tea. I’m kidding but they really are very expensive. I could sing you the praises of My Morning Mate, a nutty black tea that is replacing my morning coffee. I’d like to tell you about the BEST TRAVEL MUG EVER INVENTED and I’d encourage you to look at the Perfect TeaMaker because it’s cheap and easy and even fun to use.** But this is a post about soothing so let me just say, nothing soothes like a nice white or green tea in the evening. They have a ton of ultra-fruity stuff; teas that are really more like reconstituted juice made from dried fruit with a tea leaf or two thrown in (voila! healthy!). That didn’t work for me and required a lot of their awesome German Rock Sugar (made from beets!). So I exchanged the ones I didn’t like and got Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls Green Tea.jasmineThis stuff smells just like a jasmine flower, it’s very mild and perfect for relaxing before bed. Plus it’s got a rad name.

Now, if I can find someone to play with my hair I’ll have the trifecta.

*I almost wrote “books on tape”. I haz an OLD.
**Oh also, I’m obviously way too small time to be paid for reviewing anything. I’m talking up Teavana because they got me. Be careful if you go in, they’ll get you too. It’s like Scientology in there.

About Just Vegas

I'm a 30-something married SAHM which means the nightmare scenario that plagued my early 20's has become reality. Funny thing is, I kinda like it. I have 3 lovely daughters who are educated at home and at a part-time alternative school. I love animals and I love people (in the general sense, not everybody all the time). I have no income to speak of, I'm not crafty and I hate cooking. My skills include reading the internet, watching tv on the internet and conversing with people on the internet. I'm an armchair philosopher, spiritualist, agnostic, feminist, liberal, activist, political pundit and tv critic.
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7 Responses to Self-Soothing

  1. leftover says:

    I quit smoking. My blood pressure went UP. And I gained thirty pounds. Now my doctor wants me to take even more medicine I can’t afford and exercise more which is really hard to do because of the arthritis and lack of arthritis meds I CAN’T AFFORD.

    We had an experience with norovirus this winter. It’s a pain in the ass and hard to get rid of. My housemate put a sign on the fridge…”Did you wash your hands? Do it again!”

    Anxiety. I have no problem getting to sleep. Staying asleep is an issue. I used to have nightmares about my father and sleeping outside. Now, I dream about smoking cigarettes and sipping single malt scotch whisky. I wake up in a sweat, heart pounding, ears ringing. Can’t take drugs…well…I could…but if I had the money I’d spend it on the arthritis meds. So I usually queue up some Metamora…and here. Sometimes some old Miles Davis or Pat Metheny…John Fahey, too. Reading helps sometimes. Watching TV on the computer does, too.

    I do tea in the afternoons. I have a chai tea that I love. It’s a local blend called Xanadu. I can afford it about once a month. But mostly I’m relegated to the commercial bag teas. Tazo Chai. Stash Licorice and Lemon Ginger. Celestial Black Cherry Berry. But nothing gets in the way of my coffee. I get two cups a day. Sometimes three on the weekend.

    I know what you mean about specialty shops. Whenever I go to town I like to just walk through the coffee and tea shops and smell all the wonderful blends.

    • Just Vegas says:

      I hate that you can’t get the meds you need to feel well, or at least functional. :/

      Once I can afford a decent grinder, I’ll probably drink more coffee but it’s gotten to the point that I don’t like anything but French Press and I need a better grinder for that.
      Reading can usually help me fall asleep but I also love word puzzles or sudoku.
      I’m not drinking alcohol at all right now, just seemed better that way. I embarrassed myself the last three times I drank so I took that as a sign to not make it part of the party, limit it to a cocktail at dinner or something. Being sick so much over the winter, my taste went off of beer. I never thought that would happen but it’s been very helpful!

      • leftover says:

        I’m an alcoholic…sober 22 years…which is why dreaming of sipping whisky is so disturbing.

        A good grinder is important! You don’t have to spend a lot of money. I think burr grinders are the best. They work best for spices, too. I do espresso, but I’ll french press occasionally depending on the blend. I tried some Death Wish Coffee last week…I think it’s starting to wear off now…too much caffeine for espresso (not good for the arthritis)…I may try the remainder through a french press. I can’t just let it sit there. It calls to me through the cupboard door.
        “Leftover…YooHoo!…I know you’re out there!”
        Why do all the things that are bad for you have to be so damn tasty?

        • Just Vegas says:

          So true. My parents have a coffee shop so I get my beans there (at a discount!). They have one called 24/7 that’s mixed with espresso beans. I prefer the fair-trade Sumatran. Dark and rich without being bitter or acidic.
          Oh man, off to price burr grinders. 🙂

  2. pinklantern says:

    Teavana is the devil, but I’m glad it’s helping you calm down a bit before your surgery. I’m thinking of you!


  3. Christie says:

    Bahaha, I needed that brain smile. I love the way you put things. It gives my insides a sigh – you voice things I can’t manage to. I’ve only browsed Teavana once while sipping a thimble of their amazing tea. Unfortunately, it was when we were crazy poor, so it was just depressing. I’ve been feeling more and more inspired to find some tea. I’ve cut coffee almost completely out (my anxiety just can’t handle caffeine off meds). Funny you write about soothing, I’m desperate for it these days. Most days I feel just on the edge of a panic attack. I’m convinced right now that life near a beach is exactly what the doctor ordered. Music that soothes me – this week, Ray LaMontagne. When I’m pissy or feeling suffocated, Pink. Needing fun – Fun. and happy mellow are the Irish – Of Monsters and Men and Mumford. So here’s to happy healthy soothing and love across the miles.

  4. Christie says:

    ❤ (following convo)

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