7 ways to decompress and de-stress

Let’s face it. We live in a busy world and stress seems to be like that annoying friend that wants to tag along for just about every ride. It is so easy to become overwhelmed and let it get the best of you. While these past 12 months have been one for the record book, I have learned ways to help me cope. From relationships and friendships ending, to family drama and getting laid off, to applying for jobs and starting my own business, to seeing 20 apartments in a week in a city far from home and then uprooting my life and everything I know, you could say it hasn’t been a smooth joy ride. Being spontaneous is fun and exciting and I am looking forward to new adventures but leaving myself only 13 days to sell ALL the things, sublet and pack, makes things a little more rushed. And now saying goodbye to family, friends and Chicago isn’t easy either. Oh, and just today my parking garage accused me of not paying this month despite depositing my check on Jan 2. So yea, these past few months have been challenging and finding ways to unwind, cope and de-stress was crucial.

Everyone handles stress differently so here are my top 6 ways I decompress.

1) FIND ME TIME: Go for a walk. Disconnect from technology. Get a mani/pedi. Take a yoga class. Write. Work out. Plan my next adventure. Sing in the shower. Rock out to music in my apartment and sing and dance around in my underwear. (You cannot not smile! You know you’ve done it too.) Light candles. Have a glass of red wine. Browse and pin on Pinterest. Meditate. (Still learning) and I’ve tried the bubble bath thing and it is nice for maybe 4 minutes. Then I get bored. But maybe that will work for you. Anyhoo, it is important to find time for yourself to be alone, reconnect with your self, to reflect and recharge. I try to focus inwardly on me and escape from the outside chatter.

2) WATCH TV. Sometimes it is nice to sit on the couch, not talk to anyone, let your body fall deep into the cushins and just relax and escape into someone else’s life for a bit. Escape into another world.

3) 90’s MUSIC. Apparently this is a thing for me. Just the other day, I was so angry, I might as well have had smoke coming from ears. Since I was in the car, there was nothing I could do so I cranked up the volume and let myself get lost in the music. Chicago has an awesome new radio station 101.1 (they play pretty much only 90’s music, check it out!) and I could feel my blood pressure returning to normal. Besides 60’s and 90’s being my favorite decades, I think the nostalgia helps too. By time I reached my destination, I was calm.

4) BAKE. Lately, especially since I got my Kitchen Aid, I like to bake when I get stressed. It takes my mind off said issue and makes me focus on the ingredients and helps me redirect my attention towards something that I can give to others to make them happy, thus making me happy. What?? I’m Jewish. We like to feed people!

5) BE POSITIVE AND GRATEFUL. Focus on the positive silver lining of said situation. Find something positive or something that you are grateful for and think about that. Stop and think, is this really worth getting upset over?

6) CLEAN AND ORGANIZE. I’m not your narcotic clean freak but I do like to keep everything in its place and tidy. There are times when I admit, I let pile of mail build or that something isn’t put away. My place is never messy but occasionally not as clean as I prefer. But it works out because sometimes when I need to unwind, I find cleaning to be strangely satisfying. I’ll vacuum, reorganize my closet, clean the kitchen, do the laundry or put away anything that isn’t already in its place. There is something about calming about the smell of lavender or lemon and getting lost in thought. I’ve never found doing laundry a headache, rather, its always been a way to reset and refocus.

7) PLAY GAMES. It doesn’t matter if it is a card game, a board game or a video game. I like games. Always have. So when I want to decompress, gaming is a great distraction. It’s a quick and easy way to escape into the virtual world where you can die 20x but keep coming back without it flashing Game Over. Whether it is an old school Nintendo game, a racing game, a dancing game or even an adult-focused killing video game like #FarCry3, video games are a great way to escape and de-stress for a bit. The graphics on this Far Cry 3 game are incredibly real. What Caryn plays those violent killing games? Yes, killing games aren’t just for boys. I like the competitive nature, the escape, and the challenge it provides. I like being able to keep up with the guys. Don’t get me wrong. I DO NOT condone violence in the real world but sometimes in these games, it is one quick and harmless way to release tension. *

{How do you decompress to eliminate stress?}

Far Cry 3

*It is important for people to make the distinction between games and real life.

Thank you to Ubisoft for sponsoring this post. Please visit Amazon.com to get your own copy of Far Cry 3. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective. All opinions are my own.

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Apartment Living: How To Have A Stress Free Move

I hadn’t planned on moving this year. I loved my apartment. It was a huge two-bed two-bath apartment with a massive walk-in closet, a balcony (and grill!), a fitness center and sundeck. But when things shifted and I could not afford to stay there on my own, I knew I had to move out. Moving can be as stressful or as easy as you make it. Here are some tips that helped me make the move as smooth as possible.

Plan Ahead:

  • Do your homework: Start researching and visiting potential new places about 30 -45 days out. The stress of not knowing if you will be homeless is enough to give you an ulcer.
  • Research multiple moving companies: Compare moving companies to see which fits best with your schedule and budget.
  • DO NOT wait until 1 week before to schedule your movers. Weekend and end of the month moves fill quickly, so schedule this as soon as you know your new address and desired moving date. Do you have an elevator that needs to be reserved? The longer you wait, the harder it is to coordinate the buildings and to get the time/date that you want.
  • Call to confirm mover/vendor appointments a 3-5 days prior to your move to avoid any surprises.
  • Create a “change of address” check list of vendors. Go online or call (credit-card companies, subscriptions, work documents, bills, bank) to include your new address.
  • Get your mail forwarded by going to USPS website 7-10 days before you move. *Note: most magazine subscriptions do not get forwarded. You must manually change this online.
  • Contact utility companies to activate service at your new address and to cancel or transfer from your old address. You don’t want to move in with no electricity or heavens forbid, internet!

Organize/Packing Strategies:

  • Bankers boxes are great for the heavier items. They are smaller and have handles so this makes it easier to lift and carry.
  • Get wardrobe boxes! If your moving company doesn’t provide these – this is worth the investment. Instead of shoving your clothes in garbage bags, boxes or suitcases and then having to spend the time to hang everything back up – it is a simple transfer. Simply move them from the closet to the hanging box and directly into the new closet. It makes unpacking a snap and keeps clothes as virtually wrinkle free. Plus, it helps you feel productive and less overwhelmed when it comes to unpacking.
  • Group similar items together. Pack books with books and DVDs with DVDs. Keep kitchen items in one box and bathroom supplies in another.
  • Pack cleaning supplies last so you can do a final clean before you leave the keys behind and a quick clean at the new place.
  • Make a To Donate box to give to the local shelter.
  • Label boxes: Identify general contents, location to be delivered and if it is fragile. This helps you unpack more efficiently and helps the movers know where to place them. Use sharpie pens or stickers. This packing strategy can eliminate a lot of stress.
  • Use towels & blankets to wrap fragile items. This accomplishes two things – it serves as protection for the breakable item as well as a place to pack the blanket, thus leaving more room in other boxes for other things.
  • Do not overpack a box. Although it may all fit, remember they get heavy fast and that you have to be able to lift and move the box.
  • If you live in a building that has doormen or maintenance men – ask them for boxes. Or go to your local grocery store and see if they have left over boxes they’d like to recycle. Boxes aren’t cheap.
  • If you have something you are afraid might spill – like an olive oil pourer – tape a cotton swab to the spout before wrapping.
  • Do not wait until the night before to start packing. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you run out of tape/boxes, all the stores are closed and the movers are coming in 4 hours. It will be a lot less overwhelming if you make it a gradual process.
  • Use a buddy system: packing is more fun when you have someone to help keep you focused and motived.
  • If you rent your own moving truck – put the big heavy stuff (the couch, bed, tables, TV’s) in the truck last so they are the first to come out. This way you can determine where you want them to go and place the boxes around them rather than have to trip over boxes and move the heavy stuff again.
  • If you move on your own – get a dolly. It will save you weeks of aches and pains and medical bills.
  • Pack perishable food last.

Eliminate:

  • Moving is a great opportunity to purge those belongings that you have been unnecessarily hoarding. Go through your belongings for things to throw away or donate. The more you keep, the more effort required to move it and unpack it. Do you really need those magazines from three years ago? Those shoes you haven’t worn in 5 years? That half empty hotel shampoo bottle?
  • Check expiration dates: Go through your cupboard and toss anything that is expired, will expire within a month of moving or has is 1/3 or less remaining.

Keep This “Just In Case” Kit With You:

  • Move any items yourself that are especially delicate, valuable or personal. The mover’s limits of liability would not cover the replacement of these items of they were lost or damaged during the move and it gives you a piece of mind.
  • Basic tools (hammer, screwdriver, knife, tape, etc.)
  • Payment for movers
  • Bathroom Essentials (towels, soap, toilet paper)
  • Kitchen Essentials (snacks, disposable utensils, cups, plates, etc.)
  • Cleaning Essentials (sponges, all-purpose cleaner, broom, dustpan)
  • Important Documents & Personal Essentials – (fancy jewelry, medication, glasses, medical records, bills, passport, new/old lease etc.)
  • Keys and directions to your new home (pick this up before the move to avoid delays and stress)
There’s a lot to do when moving, things can easily be forgotten and there can be a lot of anxiety about the process and pending change. But, following this easy tips and with a little planning and organizing, moving can be stress-free and possibly even an enjoyable process.

What are your best moving tips? 

My last wardrobe box.                                         The others were filled to capacity.
*This post was sponsored by you move free. They can help you find a new apartment. All the tips and suggestions are my own.*