We all have those days where we want to sit down on the floor and cry because everything in the world just feels wrong.

I had one of those days recently, and as unpleasant as they may be, they’re good reminders. They help you distinguish good from bad, stress from serenity.

But sometimes, after those days, you get stuck with a case of the blues, the mean reds, or another shade of mood. I’m stuck there today, so it got me thinking about those places we go and those things we do to try to pull ourselves out of a funk.

When we give ourselves time to deal and we take care of ourselves, it can really make everything better – and I’m not just talking about feeling-wise. There are countless studies that talk about all of the negative effects of stress. When we try to reduce it, we extend our lifespans and improve our entire well-being. Coping with stress is something I’m always interested in learning about, so I’m curious to hear what you do when you get stressed.

Practicing self-care in particular is something I love to read about. Gala Darling talks about it all the time, and there are countless other bloggers out there that share ways they bring their lives back into balance – or at least take care of themselves when they know they need it. You’ve gotta take care of your self, darling. You just have to.

I have a few things/places of peace I turn to when things are rough:

One is food. Not so much eating, but cooking. Tonight, that was my chosen method of therapy. I came home in a foul state, feeling defeated and drained – but on the way home, I decided to take control of my bad mood and treat myself to something hot and comforting. I stopped for a hot chocolate with cinnamon. It put a small dent in my grouchiness – it was a start.

After coming home and letting the Mister know that I wasn’t in a good state (communication does wonders for stress, by the way), I took to my cutting board and didn’t turn back. Some time later, I had French onion soup with melted Swiss, fresh grapefruit juice in mason jars for tomorrow morning, and Meyer lemon lemonade. ¬†Citrus – that’s another thing that lifts my spirits, both in taste and in scent. Cooking gives me a sense of calm and control – I enjoy it, no matter what the dish. Tomorrow, I’m making salsa and over the weekend, I’ll be roasting a harvest of squashes given to us by friends. And I’ll feel better for it.

Another is cleaning. When everything feels out of order, sometimes it helps to just bring the environment around me back into balance. I tend to clean in binges, usually on weekends, or whenever I get a nesting urge. After dinner, I did some chores and things felt even better. Granted, it was just cleaning the bathroom and straightening up the kitchen, but it made a difference.

Then, I decided to practice some self-care and take a bath with some lavender. The warm water helped me relax my muscles and get rid of the tension. Plus, the scent helped to wind me down after the straightening up spree. I’m a firm believer in the benefits of aromatherapy. I find that it works for me, so I try to incorporate it into my daily life to cut down on stress in those tiny moments where you don’t notice things piling up, but there they are. Adding to the weight, gram by gram, until something breaks.

When it happens, I usually cry. Crying is a natural, healthy thing. And when you’re done, you feel better. So, when you’re stressed, don’t feel guilty about crying. It just happens – and it’s totally okay. In tonight’s case, my tears only came from the cutting of onions – but still, it’s a small release.

Sometimes we like to talk things out. I spill the beans to those closest to me when I feel the pressure rise. It helps too, because then they know why you’re acting the way that you are and they can help you get through it.

Other times, we just need to be alone. Tonight, I’m in a state of needing some alone time. So I asked for it. Brent was incredibly understanding in the way that he always is, and I’ve gotten to work through some of my mess undisturbed. Don’t be afraid to ask for space. There’s nothing wrong with saying that you’re not in a good place and need a moment to breathe, think, and decompress.

Most of all, take care of yourself. You have to take care of you before you can take care of anything else. I’m trying to do that right now, so that tomorrow, I can wake up and shake my moody shade. So, I’ll leave you with some of my strategies for bringing things back into balance before I go off to two more places I find peace: watching a movie cuddled up with the cat and a good night’s sleep.


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