Monday, August 25, 2008

renovations of the mental kind.

thanks to one of my fave reads, making it lovely, i discovered the wonderful blog at home at home, authored by laure of apartment therapy. reading laure's blog is sort of the internet equivalent to having a glass of iced tea outside on a may afternoon -- it's just an all-around pleasant experience.

i was especially drawn to a post she wrote last week about happiness. click here if you want to read it; it really got me thinking about how i need to slow down and not obsess so much about the little things. like laure, my moods fluctuate -- easily -- depending on what's going on around me, and while i don't think that's uncommon at all, i do often wish that i had a more even temper, because it's something that would erase a lot of stress from my life. the funny thing is, if you met me and i was upset about something, you probably wouldn't know; one of my coworkers actually said, "you get upset about stuff like that?" to me the other day after i complained about something. but just because i don't show my stress doesn't mean that i'm happy-go-lucky all the time; nor does it make whatever i'm obsessing about feel better. so in my perpetual attempt to gain some perspective and focus on the positive (and in homage to laure's lovely post), i'm making a list of things i know help me eradicate stress and generally feel better. and i hope you'll do the same -- whether in a comment here or in your own blog (to which i hope you'll link me!).

+ it's been said time and time again, but when i make a concerted effort to get some exercise -- whether it's 45 minutes on the elliptical at the gym, meandering down the beach or taking a brisk walk around my neighborhood -- i feel exponentially better. it's hard for me to get motivated to do it, though -- something i know i need to work on and decide to do.

+ cooking is a huge stress-reliever for me, especially if i'm making a dish i already know and love. i think it's the act of creation that really does it for me. at any rate, it's super therapeutic.

+ sleep -- in the right amounts, at the right times. mel can attest that i used to be a major sleeper; i'd stay up until 2 or 3 a.m. and then sleep till noon or later the next day. in my old age, though (ha!), i just can't do that anymore -- and on the rare occasion that i do, i wake up with a sleep hangover and feel yucky all day. these days, i'm up at 7:30 on weekdays and no later than 10:30 on weekends, and i've realized that i function best in the morning, as opposed to late at night, which is a total reversal of what i always thought. plus, mornings are so full of possibility -- and it's much nicer to sit on the sofa with a cup of coffee and a magazine at 10 a.m. than at 1 p.m., truly. one thing i do need to work on is getting to bed earlier on weeknights -- generally, i don't go to bed until midnight, and it really should be more like 11. that hour makes a big difference. (another helpful trick i've learned: i used to wake up 30 minutes before i had to be at work and try to cram, breakfast, a shower, hair and makeup and gathering whatever daily supplies i needed into those 30 minutes. waking up earlier and relaxing, instead of rushing, has really helped my mental state. i feel less anxious and much less crabby.)

+ if i start to feel overwhelmed, tired, distracted or irritated during the day, i'll get up and move around. a walk around the office, or even around my little apartment, gets the creative juices flowing again and, according to one of my co-workers, does something good for the blood sugar. it really, really works; so many of us stare at computer screens all day long and need a little break like this.

+ spending time at home. i like my apartment and i like spending time in it, even if i'm just watching a clean house marathon or drooling over giada's italian confections on the food network. my job often requires me to be out and about, and i really like to have dinner and drinks with friends on weekend nights. but quiet time here allows me to recharge, and sometimes, no matter how fun an evening out might be, there's nothing better than reading a book with oscar curled up next to me, purring like a little lawn mower.

this list is ongoing, and i'm sure i'll revisit it every few months, but these are the tried-and-true things that can really improve my mental well-being. what do you guys do to feel balanced? please, please, please share! xx.

{ images above via krisatomic's flickr photostream, which i discovered via the always delightful cup of jo. just some prettiness on this monday morning for you. }


  1. Love these photos especially the ruffles one. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Just being at home in comfortable clothes, namely pajamas, and hanging out with my little dog and listening to great music. That will always make me feel less stressed and a lot better!