The Right and Wrong Ways to Handle Stress

I don’t handle stress well. I am ridiculously, comically bad at appropriately coping when I am feeling overwhelmed. There is the everyday stress of trying to keep three children alive, taking them all to their myriad of activities and trying to keep the house from looking like hoarders live here. And then there is acute stress, like trying to move a family of five and 15 years worth of crap into a new house. I would love to say that I am a pillar of strength when times get tough, but that would be a big, fat lie.
 
It is ironic because, as a school psychologist, I spend a large part of my workday helping students learn coping skills for handling all sorts of emotions. It is a case of “do what I say, not what I do” I suppose. Luckily my students don’t have the pleasure of witnessing my disastrous ways of handling stressful situations. 
 
There are many well-established, researched based tips for handling stress and anxiety. I can spout them off to kiddos in a heartbeat. I just am not great at taking my own advice. The following are top tips from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America for handling anxiety and stress. 
 
 
Right Way: Take a time out. Remove yourself from the anxiety-inducing situation.
 
My Way: Hide in the hall closet looking at Instagram on my phone while the kids are screaming my name and asking for a snack.
 
 
Right Way: Eat well balanced meals with healthy foods that are good for your body.
 
My Way: Eat anything with chocolate, peanut butter, and or complex carbohydrates. Or ice cream. Especially ice cream. 
 
 
Right Way: Limit alcohol and caffeine.
 
My Way: Overindulge in alcohol and caffeine. Practically just put in a caffeine I.V.
 
 
Right Way: Get plenty of sleep.
 
My Way: Stay up way too late watching reruns of Tiny House Hunters on HGTV yelling at the screen “you are looking for a tiny house! Stop complaining about there not being enough space! If you want space, DON’T LOOK AT TINY HOUSES!!!!!” Stress makes me have a short fuse and I tend to take it out on people on television who say stupid things about tiny spaces.
 
 
Right Way: Get plenty of exercise
 
My Way: Intend to exercise, but instead end up hiding in closets, eating Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and watching HGTV. 
 
 
Right Way: Take deep breaths.
 
My Way: Take a deep breath so I can fill my lungs with air thereby making my yell for my kids to keep their hands off each other that much louder. 
 
 
Okay, so I have some work to do. I will try to take my own advice and work on it. In the meantime, you can find me hiding in the closet.