My guilty pleasure is a love for O magazine, my monthly treat, pure indulgence. I get snide comments and strange looks and my boyfriend definitely doesn’t understand but files it in his “stuff I don’t get about girls” folder.
I start with the Take Five page, which asks 5 people, who in some way contribute to this month’s magazine, to finish 4 sentences. I read them and work out my own answers, sometimes after I read, but sometimes before.
Today, I am stuck on question 1. “My quickest stress reliever…”.
I knew when I sat here in the coffee shop that I was a little frazzled. I am not sure whether it is city driving, Saturday morning grocery shopping, or the ice-cream for dinner last night, and the Twizzlers for dessert. I ordered a latte, regardless.
Stress relievers I can list: a massage, a spa, a run, even if its far from my favourite trails, yoga, writing.
I struggle with the word “quick”.
I am slow. Unless it’s a fast approaching work deadline, I dwell in the stress for too long. I tend to dwell there with food for company.
I remember, once, I was involved in a car accident and it was all my fault. There wasn’t much damage, but a dent to my bank account and my ego. I came back from work and ran. I felt better. I promised to respond likewise in future. I rarely do.
I read through the responses: ginger tea, yoga, bubble bath, children, old episodes of a favourite tv programme. The 3 initial responses, I nod my head to. I agree. I don’t do them though. There is something about that moment, that when I wonder whether to sink or swim, I sink.
Sometimes, sinking is bliss. It’s hibernation, it’s a pause, it’s downtime. To stop is sometimes to recharge. Stress is exhausting and sleep and rest can genuinely help. Sometimes, though, it’s laziness. I notice that right now, I am letting the big TO-DO list halt the little to-do list. I am stressing about filing taxes for the first time, but I cannot do them until March. In my stress and frustration to just get them out of the way, I cannot manage to sort the paperwork sitting on my desk.
There are wise words I once heard; “When you don’t know, what to do, do nothing”. Perfect advice, except we sometimes think doing nothing is watching television. Watching television is watching television. Doing nothing is doing nothing, sitting in the silence and letting go. Doing nothing is probably more productive than 6 hours of television. I have been watching too much television.
Having these tools at our disposal is great, I’m sure. Tea, baths, feet for walking, books for reading, bodies for yoga-ing. The point is that exact point; the choice to dwell or move through it. That is where our characters are built.