On today’s episode, I’m about 10 unconventional ways to relieve stress.

Fed and Fit podcast graphic, episode 163 10 unconventional ways to relieve stress with Cassy Joy

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Episode 163 Transcription

Cassy Joy: Welcome back to another episode of the Fed and Fit podcast. I am your host, Cassy Joy Garcia. And we are back today with an old-fashioned episode for longtime listeners. We are going to dive into a mindset topic. And instead of having somebody on to join me, you get just me! {laughs}

I’m pretty pumped about today’s episode. We’re going to talk about 10 unconventional ways to relieve stress. When we think about health and wellness, we know that stress management is a top priority. But when we’re told that we need to manage our stress levels; it almost becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. Because we start stressing about our stress levels. Or manifest destiny. When we start to be nervous about our stress levels, we start to stress about them a little bit more.

Because it’s a difficult topic for us to really have clear direction on. We’re not quite sure; what do we do? It’s very ambiguous. It feels very fuzzy, and it’s hard to really wrap our arms around stress. Do we need to care a little bit less? What is it? Do we need to have a different kind of emotional reactions to different things in our lives?

So, instead of saying, “Let’s get on top of our stress.” We’re going to talk about 10 unconventional ways to relieve them. And hopefully there’s something in here for everybody. And even if you’re thinking you’re not somebody who gets generally stressed out, or if you are somebody who feels pretty calm, cool, and collected on top of things, I still hope there’s something in this episode that maybe resonates with you and maybe you can take away to implement in your own life.

Alright. So let’s jump right in. Number one. Unconventional way to relieve stress. Make a donation. It’s interesting, because when we feel stressed out. Or when we are worried, or anxious, the world is about us. Right? It’s me, me, me, me. I think I need more. I need more of this, I need more of that. I need more time. I need more sleep. I need food right now. Whatever it is. I need people to listen to me. I need people to respond. I need to figure out my goals.

Whatever it is, we’re stressed for one reason or another. And I’ve found that it’s often because we have planted ourselves at the center of the universe. Which we should be; but that’s really where a lot of the angst comes from. And there’s some unrest there.

I have found that when you’re feeling stressed out, and it’s all about you, if you make it about somebody else, all of a sudden things feel a little lighter on your plate. And it becomes a little less about you. Some of that worry and that angst is relieved a little bit. So choose an organization that really resonates with you, and give them a donation of either money or time or resources.

I have a feeling that when you do that, it will instill, without you really trying to, it will instill a certain sense of perspective and appreciation for where you’re at.

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Ok, number two. Along those same lines. Give an anonymous gift to somebody that you know. I’m talking about somebody that you know. Maybe your neighbor just had a baby. Maybe you have a colleague at work who you know has been working really hard, and maybe he or she hasn’t received the recognition yet from some of your other colleagues. Leave them a really nice note. Maybe some flowers. Maybe a thank you for all of your hard work, right?

Maybe drop some yummy gluten free warm cookies off onto the porch of your neighbor, who just had that baby. Deliver flowers to somebody; maybe your mother-in-law or your sister-in-law. Somebody who you know is just; you would like to show a little anonymous, just because love.

There is nothing sweeter. Rewind back to the days of school, when we had our lockers. If you got a note in your locker, with somebody saying, “Hi, I think you’re pretty.” {laughs} I don’t actually remember if it happened to me, or if I just wanted it to happen so badly that I made a memory up {laughs}. Do you know what I mean? But gosh, what a wonderful feeling to get some sort of an anonymous note like that. So what a sweet thing to give somebody else. And again, it becomes more about somebody else, and a little bit less about you. And I have a feeling stress levels will start to subside just a bit.

Number three; take a day off. Even though you don’t think you can. Because often times, when we are in; and you guys, I’m saying this mostly because I need to hear it. It’s in those times that we feel like we have to work, work, work to make those deadlines and to be on top of all of our obligations. And we’re feeling a little bit more and more buried.

Have you ever heard the analogy of the mouse that was dropped into a bucket of cream? The poor little mouse was dropped into a bucket of cream, and she was swimming, swimming, swimming trying to climb out of that cream. And just couldn’t get to the top of the bucket. And then all of a sudden she turned that cream into butter and was able to climb out. That’s sometimes how, when we have a really overloaded work schedule and a really overloaded family schedule. The laundry hasn’t been done. I don’t remember the last time that I got my hair cut. Who knows what. Not to mention, actual work obligations. Traveling to see family. Trying to be a good spouse, a good parent, a good friend. All of those things can feel like they’re piling on top of you.

And as much as I love that little mouse analogy of working, working, working, and then one day you’re able to climb out; I do think that there is something to be said for building yourself a little raft and floating for a day. {laughing} In the cream. Just to stick with this analogy. We’re going to stretch this analogy until it’s really paper thin.

But building yourself a little raft so that you can take a day off, enjoy the float in your little bucket of cream. Just sit with all of the tasks that you have to do. Let the laundry sit. Let the hair cut go another day. Let those work to-do’s sit. They will be fine tomorrow. And if somebody really needs to reach you, they will call you. But take a day to just relax, to just be with your family. Let the house be messy. And just be.

I have a feeling that you will be able to hit the next day more recharged. And you will be able to climb out of your to-do’s faster than you would have if you had just hammered away at them tired. So when you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed out by the mountain of to-do’s facing you; this is unconventional advice, but I say take a little break. Maybe a day or two time off. Maybe take a true weekend. Again, I’m saying this so I can hear it as well. But take a true weekend, and I bet come Monday, you will be so much more energized to relay go after it.

Number four; organize your pantry or closet or garage. Get in there! I’m talking, deep organization. Once upon a time, before a baby was born, I remember feeling very overloaded by all of the things that I had to do. It was like; oh my goodness! Because I was also building a maternity leave. If any other business owners are listening, who have had a baby, or you can just imagine and empathize. When you are a business owner, and you have other folks working for you, dependent on you for work, you can’t just take a day off. You can’t just take three months off, like I wanted to for a maternity leave.

I had to build a business that could carry those three months. Build enough work for my team to sustain itself. And that was an enormous project that we worked on. That Amber, my right-hand girl at Fed and Fit here, and I worked very diligently to really build. And we did it. We did three months’ worth of content. Great content, I think, even and we took care of our clients. And of course, Amber worked throughout that time.

But it was a considerable amount of effort. And I remember being in the middle of that, wanting to also prepare for baby. Prepare our home, get a little nesting done. Wanting to also appreciate every last moment Austin and I had as just the two of us. Travel; all kinds of great things. Stay on top of my own health. And man, I was feeling very overloaded. I was feeling very stressed by the weight of it all.

It’s one of those things; organize pantry had found itself on my to-do list, and it had been there for probably months. But it’s one of those things that it’s not an urgent task, right? Other urgent tasks always float to the top of the list. And organize pantry just stays on the list. But it kept getting scooted down, because it wasn’t top priority.

One day, I decided that I needed to do something different. Because at the end of the day, the things that I was accomplishing was not making me feel refreshed. Or like I had really made progress. So I decided; you know what? To heck with it. I popped in my headphones. I turned on an audio book. And I spent, you guys, 6 hours organizing my pantry. Your pantry probably doesn’t need 6 hours’ worth of organizing; maybe? I hope it doesn’t. But if it does, go for it. 6 hours of organizing.

I tossed all kinds of stuff that had been expired. We had a whole bucket of food that we were going to donate. And I really got in there and got it organized. Because I knew that we were going to be tired once baby got there, and family was going to be over. And I wanted it to be organized for them. So I really got in there. I dug in there, I organized my pantry, and all of my other “high priority” to-do items did not get touched that day. But I went to bed feeling less stressed.

So I think it’s because I pulled out that ancient to-do, and I accomplished it. So whether it’s your pantry, your closet. You need to go through and you need to weed out some clothes. That’s another one that I’ve done. Or your garage. Get in there and organize your garage! If it’s anything like our garage, which is organized right now because my husband tackles it. But get in there. Buy some plastic buckets and some shelving and get it all organized. Just seeing how nice it is, and being able to go about your day in the days and weeks and months to come, you’re able to really enjoy that hard work and that organization in your closet and your pantry and your garage. So it’s one of those stress relieving activities that pays off for a long time.

Number five. Minimize your routine. We’re talking toss the beauty products that you don’t use anymore. Go ahead and donate the clothing that you have not worn in a year or more. And donate the blankets that you’re not using anymore. I’m using examples of things that I tend to hang onto. But I’m sure maybe you’re thinking of something that you’ve held onto.

Oh, here’s another one, thinking about it, sitting at my desk. Power cords that I don’t use anymore that I don’t need for electronics that are gravely outdated. It’s ok to get rid of those things. It’s ok to minimize what shows up in your drawers and things. So I say, when it comes to beauty products; open up your cabinet. Open up your makeup drawer. Open up under your sink with all your hair care products. And if you’re like me, every once in a while I’ll just buy something here or there. I’ll use it once or twice. And I don’t like it, but I don’t want to toss it because it’s almost full. So I just let it take up space and complicate things when I’m trying to decide what products to use.

So instead, go ahead and pull those things out. What do you do with them? You can give them to somebody if they would be interested. Or if they’re expired, go ahead and toss them in an appropriate way. If they’re in a recyclable bottle, make sure you recycle the bottle. All kinds of good stuff. But that’s one for beauty products. Especially makeup.

Man, I tend to really hoard makeup products. Because I just never know when I’m going to need that pasty glitter eye shadow. But you know what? Six years have gone by and I still haven’t used that pasty glitter eyeshadow. So out it goes.

Minimizing my routine. Going to bed at night. I have three different body butters that sat on my nightstand, and sometimes I would use one, sometimes I would use the other. But truth be told, if I was honest to myself, there was really only one that I loved. Capital L-O-V-E-D. And that is my Primally Pure body butter. The almond and vanilla is my favorite. I use it on my hands, my arms, my legs, and my feet. So the other ones get moved out of the way, out of sight, out of mind, minimizing that routine.

Clothing that you haven’t worn. Sometimes I fantasize about approaching my wardrobe; I think it’s a Steve Jobs approach. Where you have just essentially the same black shirt and the same pair of pants. Just five of them, and you don’t even have to think about it. You don’t have to go through that deciding factor every day or every night whenever you pull out your clothes.

I’m not saying that we all have to go that far; or go as far as maybe a capsule wardrobe. But let’s go ahead and clean out the clothing that we have not worn in over a year, at least. Because that way it’s not even an option when we’re looking at getting dressed in the morning. You don’t even see it there as something we have to consider.

And then blankets. This is another thing that I tend to hang onto. But I tend to hold onto blankets; old, dingy blankets. Because I think, “you never know when you might need a blanket. There might be a whole bunch of kiddos here one day wanting to build a blanket fort.” Well, truth be told, I’ve got lots of blankets. Great ones! And I don’t need to hold onto some of these other ones that are just taking up space in my blanket bin.

Anyway. I would say minimize your routine in that regard. If you find that there’s something extra sitting around. And by routine, of course I mean thinks sitting around. But if you find out there’s something extra, go ahead and find another home for it.

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Number six. Hire a deep cleaner for your home. Oh my goodness, if you’re listening and you’ve done this, you know how good it is. Go for it. You deserve it. If you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed. This is kind of along the same lines of cleaning out your pantry, minimizing your make up drawer, cleaning out your closet. There is something to be said for walking into a home that’s baseboards have been scrubbed, and your blinds have been dusted. It lifts the air. It makes you feel a little less stressed. Because at least the house is thoroughly cleaned.

And you know what? You didn’t have to take out the time to do it. Because you’ve got other priorities going on. Whether it’s family, whether it’s work, friends, whatever it is. Travel. Go ahead and spring for it. And if you don’t have the cash in your pocket, say for my next gift all I want from your family members, or your hubby, or whomever it is; say I just really want a deep clean for the home. It’s worth every single penny.

Number seven; apologize to three people. This one is a little, again, unconventional. But if you challenge yourself; can you think of three people, three individuals who you could apologize to for something? Even if it was teeny tiny. And even if you think they were more wrong than you were in a situation. Can you think of three people?

Again, this goes along with the theme of making it less about you and more about somebody else. Owning your responsibility in all things. There’s something to be said. It kind of sounds counterintuitive when we take more responsibility that we feel less stressed. And the truth of the matter is, yes.

So think about it. What could that be? Could it be an apology; I’m thinking about in my life. One of my neighbors who constantly, very kindly, takes my garbage bin and wheels them up to my garage door after garbage day because I just have not gotten out there and moved the garbage bin myself. Right? Garbage truck came and went, and maybe I was home and I saw it come and go, and I thought, “I just can’t do it right now.”

You know what? Good old neighbor will wheel. And I’m not exactly sure which neighbor it is. It might be a team of them helping us out {laughs}. But they wheel it up to our garage door, making things really easy for us. But that’s work for them that they don’t necessarily need to do. So the next time I see; I suspect it’s maybe two or three of them. I’m going to see them, and I’m going to apologize, and I’m going to thank them for moving my garbage bin. “I’m so sorry that you’re having to constantly move my garbage bin. I want you to know how much I really appreciate that. It’s not your job, and it does not go unnoticed. Thank you so much, and I’m so sorry.”

Another example of somebody that you could apologize to on a relatively small scale; what if it’s just a family member that maybe you are harboring something against them. You thought that they needed to apologize for first, and then you would apologize. This is a great excuse, and a great opportunity to reach out to them first and to take ownership without the expectation of them also apologizing. I don’t know what the circumstance would be, but there’s probably one of those in every single family, so I bet you could probably get creative.

Ok, number eight. We’re going to 10. Number eight is publicly express gratitude. This is one of my favorite ones to do. And again, it shows that you’re taking yourself out of the center of your thoughts at this point in time. And you’re really showing gratitude for all of the wonderful things going on in your life. Whatever those are.

It doesn’t mean that you need to go out and do a hashtag humble brag. That’s not what we’re talking about here. What we’re talking about is a declaration of gratitude. “Thank you so much for friends and family, for really being wonderful people to us. We really appreciate.” Whatever it is. If you have something that you want to show thanks for. Email a small group of friends with thanks. Go ahead and post it on social media if you want.

It doesn’t have to be; like I said, it doesn’t have to be a humble brag. It doesn’t have to be, “I’m so grateful that I have this rock hard, six-pack, and I’m so grateful that I have this amazing job that I get to fly around the world three times a year.” {laughs} It’s not those kinds of gratitude. It’s the kind of gratitude where you really thank people for what they’ve done for you, or what they have taught you. That kind of a public expression. So get it out there.

Number nine; set aside a dedicated. This one’s a fun one! Buckle up. Set aside a dedicated day for personal care appointments. And I’m talking go ahead and cross off the eye doctor off of your list. Go get your nails done. Go get your hair cut. Maybe go get a massage, get a facial, and get that puppy dog of yours bathed and groomed. Personal care day. Oh my goodness, wouldn’t that be so much fun?

I can’t tell you how much I have deferred. This is going to make some people cringe. But I’m overdue on my dental appointment. And my sweet dentist, who of course I’ve known my whole life. Because it’s a family member. Has taken to texting me. “Cassy; you’re very overdue! We would love to see you!” {laughing}

And it’s just so hard. So darn hard to schedule those things. And then just like that to-do list of cleaning out the pantry, how it got bumped to the bottom of my list, and the bottom. Because it really wasn’t a top priority item. Nobody is really depending on me going to get my teeth cleaned except for maybe me. And they’re pretty clean; I take good care of my teeth. It’s so easy to ignore those kinds of to-do’s. Or ignore getting my hair cut. Because; oh, what’s a little bit longer hair?

It’s just so nice having it done. So just schedule; block off an entire day for all of your appointments so you don’t have to negotiate; maybe on this day I’ll go get this done and on this day I’ll go get this done. Just schedule them all back to back.

Ok. Number ten. Last one. An unconventional way to relieve stress. Number ten is plan next week. And as soon as I get done with this podcast, I’m actually diving into this exact task for myself. What are we talking about planning next week? What are we going to plan? We’re going to plan our meals. We’re going to plan and schedule workouts. We’re going to plan and schedule a date night. We’re going to plan and schedule a friend night. A night out with friends.

And I say let’s go ahead and skip planning this week. Because if you’re like me, it’s, who was this quote? Jim something? {laughs} Isn’t that great? Don’t you love when people quote things and say, oh it’s Jim something once said. Either you run the day, or the day runs you. I think it was a Jim. It was either a Jim, or Ayn Rand. I can’t remember.

And that’s sort of sometimes when we’re feeling stressed and things are getting away from us and it’s this giant, hairy ball of to-do’s and obligations and tasks that we don’t have time for. It feels like it’s a runaway train, right?

And then weeks go by, and you think; gosh. I still have not planned a date night with my husband or my boyfriend. Gosh, I still have not made it to the gym as often as I really want to. Gosh, I still feel like I’m playing catchup on my meals for my family because I’m just going and getting food. I’m not actually meal planning. Meals aren’t very exciting. It’s all very stressful and feels very last minute.

So I say; let’s let this weeks’ scheduling run away. Go ahead and let that train run away, instead od of you desperately clinging to it and trying to hold on. I say let it go, and get a head start on planning next week. Get a head start on planning next weeks’ meals, next weeks’ workout, the date nights, the friend’s nights. Whatever it is. Scheduling that deep cleaner. Scheduling that chiropractor appointment. That’s another one I’m putting off. Scheduling that dental appointment.

Get a head start on scheduling things for next week so you don’t have to feel; you just acknowledge that this week you’re going to let go, it’s going to be another week where you don’t schedule stuff. But it’s ok, because you’re getting them on the calendar for next week.

And then when next week rolls around; guess what? You had a head start. You weren’t desperately trying to plan all this stuff at the last minute on a Sunday evening. You got it done! You got it done early. And what a good feeling that’s going to be to know that that is done.

Ok. I hope that’s helpful. Just to rattle through them one more time; ten unconventional ways to relieve stress. Number one; make a donation. Number two; give an anonymous gift to somebody that you know. Flowers, food, or a nice note. Number three. Take a day off; even when, or especially when, you don’t think that you can. Number four; organize your pantry, closet, or garage. Number five, minimize your routine. Go ahead and toss some beauty products. Skim out clothing that you haven’t worn. Blankets that you haven’t used. Minimize your routine in areas where it’s a little extra.

Number six; hire a deep cleaner for your home. Go for it. Spring. This is worth every penny. Number seven; apologize to three different people. Even if they’re small things. And even if you think that they were more wrong. Number eight; publicly express gratitude. Number nine; find and dedicate a day for personal care appointments to include chiropractor, dentist, eye doctor, nails, hair, massage, facial, puppy bath. You name it! And number ten; plan next week. Plan your meals, your workouts, your date nights, your friend night. Skip planning this week, and just get a head start on the next one.

Alrighty, team! I hope that you found that helpful. This has been a really fun show. I hope that you enjoy these kinds of episodes. Please comment. I would love to know which types of shows are really resonating with you right now. Do you prefer more mindset topics? Do you want us to jump into some more geeky nutrition science? Would you prefer that I keep up the reverse interviews?

Do you like really hearing about other people’s backgrounds and then sort of a live coaching call? Not live, a recorded coaching call between the two of us? That’s what most reverse interviews are. Or would you really like to hear about some more business stuff? Talk about blogging as a business. I’m happy to jump into any and all of those things. Please let me know. The best place to tell me would be in a comment in the podcast. So on the actual post where this podcast episode was aired.

Thanks everybody for tuning in. We’ll be back again next week.

About the Author

Cassy Joy Garcia, NC

Cassy Joy Garcia, a New York Times best-selling author, of Cook Once Dinner Fix, Cook Once Eat All Week, and Fed and Fit as well as the creative force behind the popular food blog Fed & Fit.

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