How do you handle stress?

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handle stressEver since I moved to Minnesota, I’ve gained way too much weight. Why? Stress. I’ve always self-medicated using food. A warm chocolate chip cookie always makes me feel better. What do people do to battle stress that isn’t food or booze? No one ever seems to have an answer to this question. Sometimes they say exercise, but how in the hell am I supposed to exercise in the office?

Honestly, during the first year I moved here I started having panic attacks. They weren’t huge or debilitating, but scary enough. Mostly, it’s weird flutterings in my chest. Sort of like I can’t catch my breath. It doesn’t hurt, but sometimes it makes me cough.

These panic attacks culminated from a combination of things, a sort of perfect storm of stress. New job, new city, new relationship, plus the shittiest winter the Midwest had seen in 30 years. I officially hate winter now, at least what happens in Minnesota anyway. On top of all that, I was planning a wedding. Even a small wedding like mine caused me more stress than I imagined. I had nightmares about being late to my own wedding.

Winter was the biggest stressor for me. Part of the reason I tried to work on my own last year was because I didn’t want to have to drive in the snow. Of course, last winter wasn’t very bad, and then I realized that trying to constantly scrounge for money wasn’t helping the stress issue.

It also doesn’t help that I don’t walk as much as I did when I lived in Sacramento. Here in the Midwest, if the weather isn’t trying to freeze us where we stand, the thunderstorms are trying to kill us all and for someone who pretty much hates outdoors anyway, it is that much more difficult to get exercise. I would go to the gym that’s literally five steps outside my front door, but I hate people and would rather not run into them more than necessary. Alright, I know I’m being stupid about the gym. I should just suck it up and go walk on the germy treadmill for 20 minutes. But after spending 40 minutes in the car being subjected to a plethora of idiots and assholes, I kind of just want to veg out and watch TV.

I just really need to find better coping mechanisms. That or suck it up, ditch the stupid excuses, and get on the treadmill.

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