Need to de-stress quick
July 31, 2009 2:24 PM   Subscribe

I need to relax. Badly. Suggestions?

I have had an epically horrific week at work. Everything that could have gone wrong did. All of the worst people called and acted like the asses they are. My phone was ringing non-stop. My stress level is through the roof right now.

So, I've decided to take Monday off. Any ideas as to what I can do to de-stress so I can come back strong on Tuesday?
posted by reenum to Grab Bag (43 answers total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
I built a blanket fort over my bed with rope, push-pins, and sheets and I've been spending all my destressing time in there with a fan blowing in, reading Watership Down and pretending I'm a bunny in a rabbit warren.

why yes I do type well for a kindergartner
posted by Juliet Banana at 2:26 PM on July 31, 2009 [39 favorites]

Go to the gym, then go for a hike, then get hammered. Wake up the next day and make yourself an omelette, then have sex with someone and go for a swim. Finish off with a few push-ups and a good night's sleep.
posted by Pecinpah at 2:31 PM on July 31, 2009 [11 favorites]

Just for the obligatories: Exercise, meditation, and downer vices like drinking and smoking weed.
posted by rhizome at 2:32 PM on July 31, 2009

Best answer: I have found that when I have crappy weeks, being around supportive friends in a happy, drinky dinner type environment goes a long way.

Also, splurge and do something you really love to do, but don't usually have the time/money/opportunity to do it.
posted by Kimberly at 2:35 PM on July 31, 2009

hit the pipe and gain some perspective
posted by laptolain at 2:35 PM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

All that, plus get a good night of sleep the last night before you go to work.

Right now, you need a martini. Go out and get thee one.
posted by kestrel251 at 2:36 PM on July 31, 2009

Best answer: Completely unplug. No phone. No computer. No tv. Find a quiet place. Nearby woods. Park. Art museum. Don't talk to anyone. Breathe. You'll feel better on Tuesday. Alternately, rent the 3 funniest movies you know, make popcorn, and laugh until your stomach hurts.
posted by Cheeto at 2:37 PM on July 31, 2009 [5 favorites]

It's summer. Is there a swimmin' hole within driving distance? Ixnay on the pot IMO. Get some sun, some exercise, and some fresh air.
posted by @troy at 2:38 PM on July 31, 2009

I find a coffee, sitting in the garden and watching my dog chase a ball helps me de-stress quite considerably. I like doing all three together.

If part of the problem is the out-of-control-ness of the situation, maybe coming up with a few ideas as to how to make the workplace better would make you feel better?
posted by Solomon at 2:38 PM on July 31, 2009

Best answer: First thing is turn off your phone and probably your computer and probably your television, unless you're good at vegging out and watching something or playing a game. What do you like to do that during the work week you don't get a chance to? Read a good novel? Cook yourself a hearty meal of comfort food (whatever that means for you)?

Take a nap each day, just after lunch. Watch these movies. Go for a long walk with your mp3 player. Smile at everyone you see. Trust me, you'll feel much better when everyone your path crosses smiles at you (even though you're the one who initiates it). Go to bed early and curl up in a pile of blankets and pillows and watch bad TV or movies.

Good luck, and get off MeFi!
posted by Night_owl at 2:40 PM on July 31, 2009

see if you can talk your best friend in town into taking the day off, too! it's august, and at least here, that means half of the office is out of town anyway, so there's a decent chance you can talk someone else into playing hooky.

Then have fun -- drink outside, go to a matinee, play video games, go to a museum, whatever.

It sounds to me that life is stressful because of the negative interactions, not just because of being busy or overworked. So spend time with people who are nice to you and make you happy.
posted by mercredi at 2:41 PM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

Drink. Heavily. I find that to be highly underrated.
posted by jefficator at 2:41 PM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by pombe at 2:44 PM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

Get a massage. Take a nap in a park.
posted by np312 at 2:47 PM on July 31, 2009

Along with the other suggestions, get a massage! Or several. Seriously, the tension will fly right off.
posted by Tequila Mockingbird at 2:47 PM on July 31, 2009

Massage, nice meal out with a friend. No caffeine.
posted by mdonley at 2:49 PM on July 31, 2009

Oh! Is there a hammam or Turkish-style bath where you are? They are amazing.
posted by mdonley at 2:52 PM on July 31, 2009

Go car camping with a couple of good books.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 2:55 PM on July 31, 2009

Have yourself an orgasm, asap. Doesn't matter if it's by yourself or with a partner.

As for the rest, you probably have a good idea what will make you happy, whether it's drinking, eating donuts, sleeping, shopping, getting a haircut, or playing video games. Whatever you do, don't go on an all-out bender, but maybe indulge a little more than you normally would.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:55 PM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

Huge pile of take out chinese food. coca-cola or favorite sweetened drink. two or three seasons of your favorite television show; recommendations are: the west wing, arrested development, fawlty towers, or check out spaced, it's just recently been put online.

then again, I've been known to be lazy, so if that's not your bag . . .
posted by Think_Long at 2:56 PM on July 31, 2009

Oh, and if you're an animal person, hang out with a friend who has a pet, or go see if you can volunteer at your local animal shelter. Hanging out with dogs or cats generally puts me in a good mood.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:00 PM on July 31, 2009

Best answer: After maybe a good drink and a nice long sleep, perhaps you could pick one or two small projects that have been nagging you in the back of your mind and get them out of the way. I find that, when I'm freaking out about *everything*, usually I have a lot of little chores that I've been procrastinating about, and getting them done helps me get perspective on the big problems. Like, maybe, going through a pileup of mail, or cleaning out the fridge, or putting away seasonally inappropriate clothes. That little jolt of A Job Well Done really helps me stop flipping out over a bad couple of days.

Also, if you have a chance to totally smash the crap out of something, do it. Catharsis is a wonderful thing.
posted by Mizu at 3:13 PM on July 31, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: ymmv, but

1) go outdoors. Ocean, forest, rivers, anywhere and hang out at least 1 full hour. (I usually spend the first 20 minutes bored and thinking how dumb it is, and then I wind down.)

2) exercise (preferably outdoors)

3) do something small but visibly productive, if you have something handy. (I usually plant a flower pot. Not a garden- just a big pot or window box.)

4) if available, watch animals (ground squirrels, chickens, fish)

5) declutter and clean up at least your bedroom or living room so that you can sleep in an in-control environment.

6) don't watch the news or tense movies

7) drink only enough caffeine to keep withdrawal headaches at bay

8) don't go crazy on the sugar

9) eat whole grains

10) take vitamins (for me, a B Complex works well)
posted by small_ruminant at 3:15 PM on July 31, 2009 [2 favorites]

Massage and some hot tub time. Go catch a movie at matinee, ideally at an indie theater that doesn't show commercials between films.
posted by chairface at 3:15 PM on July 31, 2009

Whatever you do, stay off the internet. It will gobble your time and keep you from ever really unwinding.
posted by hermitosis at 4:12 PM on July 31, 2009 [10 favorites]

If the weather is good near you, head outside tomorrow. Bring a bag stocked with reading material and indulgent picnic food (wine, cheese, tasty expensive fruit). Bring a blanket, find a spot in the shade, and just veg out, letting the sun, and the breeze, and the ambient noise calm you down.

Make plans now to do some things with friends later in the weekend, and then ignore your email for the rest of the weekend—just show up at the appointed time.

Tonight: take a long, hot shower. After it's done, curl up in a comfy robe or pajamas and watch your favorite escapist movie. Something you love that you know all the lines to.
posted by ocherdraco at 4:27 PM on July 31, 2009

Best answer: Sometimes I need to be smooshed. Lie on a bed, the floor, or a couch and cover up with a nice blanket (I like quilts). Have somebody nice take one of those big pilates balls and put it on you and then lean onto it, smooshing you. Then they should move the ball a little bit and smoosh you again. Repeat until thoroughly smooshed. They should probably say inane little things to you while they put the pressure on you with the ball.

Mrs Phillips is a therapist for autistical people and she says this helps them 'get organized', whatever that means. All I know is that it de-stresses me quick.
posted by stubby phillips at 4:40 PM on July 31, 2009 [2 favorites]

Asking for hugs is another good way to get smooshed.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:50 PM on July 31, 2009 [2 favorites]

I go for long drives, blast my music, and sing my lungs out. It starts sorta angry, then winds down. I stop somewhere random and explore whenever I feel like it. Hopping over fences or crawling through bushes makes me feel like I'm on a journey. I found an old hobo camp once by doing this. Then you feel cool cuz you found all all these secret weird things. And you get to sing!
posted by shinyshiny at 4:55 PM on July 31, 2009

Someone I knew once suggested getting some cheap ceramic plates from a goodwill type place and then throwing them at a wall. I'd wear safety glasses if I were you.

One of the most relaxing experiences I've ever had was when I ended up having to stay in a hotel overnight when my landlady decided to polyurethane the floors unexpectedly. There was something awesome about the blandness of the room, the air conditioning, and the lack of responsibility.

Nerf dart gun war with someone you like.

Being on the beach makes me happy. Is there a particular location that does that for you? Can you go there?

Talk to someone about it. Write a very long angry letter and then don't send it.


Long walk.
posted by sciencegeek at 5:20 PM on July 31, 2009

Go to the gym or playground. Shoot baskets until you're tired. Treat yourself to something delicious, plus a few drinks. Sleep in Saturday. Do whatever the hell you want for the next three days.
posted by limeonaire at 5:30 PM on July 31, 2009

Sex, with someone in addition to yourself; beach, dogs, yes; not so sure about Juliet Banana's tree-fort/rabbit-warren thing. Too claustrophobic for me. But back to sex. Yes, and lots. Just when you think you've had enough, try again, just for fun.

And nobody's mentioned music. Not the ipod thing, the real one, like some friend who can actually play an instrument in "real time" (gosh I hate that phrase). Or maybe you can.

Just lie still and look out the window, or better yet be out the window. And I second-third-eighth all the people who said get thee from thine internets.

Eschew transactions, i.e. don't buy anything. And massage does work wonders.

Disclaimer: I am not, nor have I ever been a hippie.

One last word, although I'm not sure where you are: ocean
posted by emhutchinson at 5:42 PM on July 31, 2009

Go out this weekend, get drunk and fuck someone you don't know. If you have an SO, get drunk and fuck your SO in a new position and/or location.

Monday, go do something strenuous outside (running, biking, etc.) if possible, otherwise inside. Then go for a beer with a friend, again outside if possible; don't get drunk. Go to sleep early.
posted by Simon Barclay at 5:43 PM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

Break your routine. Go somewhere you don't normally go. Outdoors is a huge plus.
posted by Lord_Pall at 5:56 PM on July 31, 2009

Stay in a hotel Saturday and Sunday nights. A decent one, with a cafe and pool deck at least, maybe a bar in it. Lounge around the room/pool/bar all day Sunday. Don't talk to anyone you already know - meet all new people for that day. The change of scenery from your home and normal routine will be very refreshing.
posted by ctmf at 6:23 PM on July 31, 2009

I've found any time when I've decided "I am going to do this to relax!" it doesn't work.

What does work is being lazy -- staying in bed for hours reading favorite books, not getting dressed (staying in my pajamas or other loungewear) watching terrible-but-enjoyable TV (anything I don't have to think too hard about) or a favorite-but-pleasant movie, ordering takeout (or walking a short distance to pick something up if I do actually get dressed). Basically, it's like a sick day without actually being (physically) sick. Giving myself permission to not do anything, not worry about anything, tends to make me feel better. Making plans just feels like more stress to me.

But that's me. If going to your favorite restaurant or hanging out with friends works for you, then that's what works for you.

Good beer also helps, though.
posted by darksong at 6:52 PM on July 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

Have a bath. A long, stupidly luxurious bath with bubbles, possibly with a book/ laptop/ cigerette, depending on your vice of choice (i like all three, personally). And prepare to wallow, dont give yourself a time limit.

And if you have more time, go outside! Go for a walk, for the sake of it if nothing else, i find it always clears my head at least a little.
posted by stillnocturnal at 7:46 PM on July 31, 2009

Best answer: Two words:




Your local humane society likely lets you pet them FOR FREE. seriously!
posted by NikitaNikita at 8:14 PM on July 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


-Good Cigar+Diet Coke/cocktail of choice+lawn chair+iPod


Not sure of your gender, but:

-Hot Lather+Badger Brush+DE Razor (a great shave is always relaxing)

Good luck, and indeed, UNPLUG THE INTERNET!
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 8:15 PM on July 31, 2009

if you have any opportunity to go swimming, I find being in water to be consistently and wonderfully calming and delightful. if you can combine this with some sort of outdoors-in-a-beautiful-place time, all the better. or...nthing the aboves.
posted by supermedusa at 8:53 PM on July 31, 2009

A few people have mentioned it already, but even minimal changes to your routine can do wonders. Do something you don't normally do, something you enjoy, just by yourself. Get away from it all. Get your mind off of things. Read. Take a nap. Dance a lil'. Eat good food.

And most of all...

Get away from this thing called the internet.
posted by csjc at 12:48 AM on August 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

XBOX360. I recommend Prototype. Also, laying into something (a punching bag) or someone (at karate class, for example) is fantastic therapy. I did tech support for an internet provider quite a while back. You are pretty much describing every week of my life for about two years. I wish I had a 360 back then, but at the time the PS2 and SSX did a pretty good job.

Also, buy some good headphones and listen to your favourite music. This song was and still is my "escape track".

I've got no idea why people are telling you to avoid TV, computer or internet. For many of us, those are the most therapeutic therapies of all. Not all of us get frustrated or stressed when we go online, some of us know how to operate a PC, and some of us actually know how to put movies like "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" into a DVD player.
posted by tra at 7:54 AM on August 1, 2009

Would like to second the concept that internet and computer can be good. I chill out by lurking on metafilter! I get stressed without internet.... but im lame like that.
posted by stillnocturnal at 10:55 AM on August 1, 2009

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