September 16, 2009 2:04 PM   Subscribe

A question about how to calm down. I am having a lot of trouble formulating this question, so forgive me if it's a little bit all over the place.

Dear Metafilter. Thanks in advance for your help & patience. I can't figure out how to ask this question, so let me just describe the problem I am having as I experience it.

Basically, I am a stress basket. Everything stresses me out. Most of all, interpersonal stuff makes me nuts. I overthink a lot of my social interactions, and it's really hard for me to let go if I think I've annoyed or offended someone.

In the past, when I have been in a good relationship, spending time with my boyfriend would be a strong antidote. He made me feel completely accepted, warts and stress and all. However, being single has not led to any discovery of an analogous de-stress mechanism (except I like hot baths, but this is impossible in my apartment). So I get wound up, and can’t wind down. The more stressed and upset I get, the more affected I am by things which are, in the big picture, not so important.

I think I am driving everyone around me crazy because I am always at a 10 on the emotional intensity scale. I am not the relaxed, comfortable, easy-to-be-around person I’d like to be. I don’t want to be this stressed all the time.

I guess I am asking how I can relax when I don’t have my family or a boyfriend around to make me feel accepted and OK with who I am. I am working on being my own best friend and loving myself as I am, but it doesn’t work all the time (should I just accept that this is a process, it takes time, and I need to give myself permission to get there slowly?). Especially when I feel criticized or rejected by my friends.

I welcome your thoughts and advice. Especially if you can think of a way for me to take a hot bath in NYC without owning a usable bathtub. How do I relax? How do I envelop myself in loving acceptance when there isn’t someone else to do it for me?
posted by prefpara to Human Relations (37 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Exercise. Go walk, run, jump, play a physical game. Your stress level will drop, I promise.
posted by disclaimer at 2:10 PM on September 16, 2009

My son is an anxious guy (he's a teen now) and I have definitely seen his favorite music have a soothing effect on him, even though his music of choice is metal and not relaxing to me at all. Have an ipod? If not, get one if possible. Play music while you exercise; wearing yourself out physically can have a positive mental effect as well.

Maybe a steamy shower with foamy shower gel and other luxurious hair and body products could take the place of the bathtub and steamy bath?
posted by misha at 2:10 PM on September 16, 2009

Kiddo, you sound like you have generalized anxiety disorder, to me. Your baseline stress-management is just busted, huh? You're not your chill, happy SELF? Something's wrong? That's what it sounds like you're saying, to me. I can relate to that 100%. I recently went on daily medication for this (prozac, in my case), after finding all other approaches, ultimately, insufficient and I could not be more thrilled with the improvement to my daily enjoyment of life and productivity. However, that is not the only approach. Exercise, hydration, B-vitamins and regular sleep are all ways to noticeably effect improvement. Alcohol is bad for stress-management, physiologically. Focused meditation of various forms is also helpful. Talk therapy is one of these forms, in a sense, and can be very cleansing. List-making, getting all the things running around inside your head OUT, is also something I have learned I simply have to do to cope with the stress of normal thought.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:10 PM on September 16, 2009 [6 favorites]

I have been like this before. I'm sorry. It sucks. When it happens to me, I need to talk to people about it. When it becomes clear that my friends and family can't bear that load (as has happened once, when I was in college), I talk to a professional about it.

a way for me to take a hot bath in NYC (prefpara)

Regarding this one particular thing, go to the Russian & Turkish Baths on 10th Street between 1st and A.

Good luck.
posted by ocherdraco at 2:11 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

I should clarify that the steam room, aromatherapy room, and sauna are going to be the closest things to a warm bath at the RTB; for me, they are relaxing in the same kind of way. If a tub (and privacy) are necessary, inquire with inexpensive hotels and YMCAs that have guest rooms whether or not they have tubs. It'll be more expensive to rent a room for the night, but if it really helps, it may well be worth it.
posted by ocherdraco at 2:15 PM on September 16, 2009

Well. One useful thing to keep in mind is that worrying so much usually has little to no effect on a given outcome. In other words, your stress accomplishes absolutely nothing useful. Are you gonna take that?
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 2:22 PM on September 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

First of all, give yourself a break for being stressed out. It's ok to be stressed out about interpersonal relationships. Your feelings are your feelings and they don't make you a bad person!

I honestly could have written this question about a year or so ago. Down to the bathtub thing -- bathtubs relax me and I don't have one. On that front, I've found that going to cheap spas and lounging in their saunas can be pretty great. Unfortunately there's nothing like this in Southern California as far as I know, but you might have better luck finding something in NYC, perhaps a NYC denizen here could recommend a similar alternative: Hot House Spa in Seattle -- it's something like $12 to get in, and you can just lounge in their sauna or hot tub or steam room for as long as you like. It's women only -- very nice.

Yoga and meditation can also help. When I get in that space, I tend to put on very soothing music, light some candles, make some tea and literally FORCE myself to focus on my breathing, just paying attention to breathing in and out. I'll tell myself I'm just going to do it for the length of a song, and then keep going until I feel better.

Also, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be very helpful when it comes to getting to the root of what's causing your anxiety and inability to accept yourself as a worthwhile person, or to get past your anxiety about having annoyed or offended someone (thereby making you anxious that you've permanently alienated said person, and are destined to eventually do this to everyone you know now and will meet in the future, until you become a social outcast, fated to live out your life alone in your bathtubless apartment... it sounds pretty silly and implausible when you see the words typed out, amirite?)

If you can't find a CBT therapist (or other therapist), or if you're in therapy right now and it's not doing as good of a job as you'd like, or therapy isn't an option, please immediately purchase or borrow a copy of The Feeling Good Handbook.

You sound to me like you're a very self aware and kind person who is very thoughtful and concerned about giving back to the people in your life. You do not always need to be a laid back, breezy person in order to have people around you. However, you do deserve to feel like you're more in control of your reactions to your thoughts and feelings.
posted by pazazygeek at 2:23 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Some anecdata. My anxiety peaks when:

1) I haven't slept enough. When I'm anxious I have to sleep way more than normal because whatever sleep I manage to get is crap. So I have to go for quantity over quality.

It's easy to get into a horrible cycle of "anxious because of not enough sleep. Can't sleep because I'm anxious."

2) I have vitamin/mineral deficiencies.

For me taking calcium helped immensely, or maybe it was the magnesium or Vitamin D that's mixed into it. Unfortunately, the expensive Vitamin store versions seem to work better than the cheap stuff from the corner drug store, but any is better than nothing.

Taking a high end (usually annoyingly expensive) Omega-3 supplement helps, too. Actually I have a whole fistful of stuff I take because it seems to help. (multi-vit, calcium, Omega-3, folic acid... ymmv obviously.)

3) I eat refined foods (white flour, sugar, corn syrup, etc). Eat whole grains.

4) I don't exercise half an hour a day minimum.
4a) I don't exercise in nature or someplace nature-ish. Running through downtown traffic isn't relaxing.

5) I'm overbooked. Underbook your day for awhile, so that you have a lot of time to get from one activity to the next. (This one is hard- things creep in when it looks like I have a little extra time.) I try for 3 things/day max when I feel anxiety creeping in.

6) I isolate. I try to socialize a few times a week with friends. Being at work with other people doesn't count.

7) I stress about not getting all of the above done. (yes, it's dumb)
posted by small_ruminant at 2:25 PM on September 16, 2009 [9 favorites]

I learned to deal with 'what if' stress--meaning that stress that comes from nervous, anxiety-laden overanalysis--by imagining the worst, imagining what I could do to avoid it, and accepting it anyway and planning for dealing with it afterwards. Had a job interview? I imagined not getting the job and planning to continue my job search. Someone said something ambiguous? They don't like me anymore and won't want to spend time with me, and that's their prerogative. Looming deadline? I can't finish by then, so I'll finish up as quickly as possible afterwards.

In other words, a lot of the stress of 'what if' stress is that you can imagine terrible things happening; but fully imagining those terrible things, and imagining yourself handling them like an adult, has a calming effect. You won't be surprised if the worst comes to pass, you'll have a plan already in place, and you'll be ready for it.

Overanalysts like you and I don't get very far by trying not to overanalyze. Better to go fully into it, and come out the other side.

And as I've said elsewhere, nothing succeeds like a habit of success. After you've done this a couple times, it gets easier and more natural to do it the next time.
posted by fatbird at 2:25 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Anti-anxiety drugs changed my life. They break the cycle of stressing out about being stressed out, so you can figure out what you need to DO about it. I strongly recommend making an appointment with a psychiatrist. You do not need to live like this.
posted by desjardins at 2:28 PM on September 16, 2009

should I just accept that this is a process, it takes time, and I need to give myself permission to get there slowly?

Yes, definitely! You didn't get this way overnight (you were either born this anxious or became this anxious over time) so you can't just snap your fingers and be a different way. And that's ok.

If therapy is at all possible, I encourage you to look into it. If you'd like a recommendation, memail me.

I hear you on the hot baths, and on living in a place that doesn't allow that as a possibility. Other options I enjoy: fancy hot drinks (homemade if finances are a concern), great books, naps, exercise (yoga in particular will help empty or slow down your mind), meditation, doing something FUN (for me it's dance class; I frequently laugh until it hurts), snuggling a pet, people watching, writing in a journal or anonymous blog, getting a massage, and volunteering.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 2:29 PM on September 16, 2009

This is probably even more personal, but when I'm in the middle of a freakout it helps me to sit, breathe, and catalog my surroundings. As in. I'm sitting. On a chair. It's warm out. There's a small breeze. My feet are too warm. .... My nose itches.

I don't know why it helps but sometimes it nips things in the bud.

Also, when I'm future tripping as in, If this, then this will happen. So this will happen! Which means THIS will happen! And then they'll say this! And then [catastrophe]! (Or some variation) I remind myself that my brain is doing That Thing again and that I don't actually KNOW what will happen and that I'm wrong a whole lot of the time.

(Then I carry on with it, but it loses some of its power.)
posted by small_ruminant at 2:32 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

This is probably even more personal, but when I'm in the middle of a freakout it helps me to sit, breathe, and catalog my surroundings. As in. I'm sitting. On a chair. It's warm out. There's a small breeze. My feet are too warm. .... My nose itches.

small_ruminant is describing something that is central to Buddhist practice - mindfulness. It's often a great technique to just rise out of the noisy cloud that is your mind and just be mindful of what is actually happening right now around you. It helps decrease the power of worries to make you suffer when you just take a moment to realize that it's all just noise in your head - and it's ok that there is noise in your head - there's noise in everyone's head, but it's unlikely to go away until you manage to step out of your head.

That's my amateur second-hand Buddhist 2 cents anyhow - hope it helps.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 2:44 PM on September 16, 2009 [4 favorites]

First, good for you for reaching out for help. You do not have to live like this - there are better (and less stressful) days ahead.

I agree with the previous posters who advised therapy in addition to other calming techniques. Sure, there are people who are prone to stress, but that doesn't mean that there is not some underlying cause. I would very much like to know why you are having these problems, not just how you can deal with the manifestations.

That being said, when I get very stressed about something, I also imagine what the worst scenario is and how I would deal with it. I sat for the bar in 2002 and I was a basket case. I'm sure I drove my then-fiance crazy and I know that I drove my soon-to-be-boss nuts. I knew, though, that if I failed, I would still be ok - the world would continue, I would still be loved, and I would (probably) still be employed. I also did everything in my power to make sure I didn't fail (I passed). But, knowing that it was not the end of the world and I could handle the worst if it came to that took the edge off.

When I'm very stressed, I head outside to my backporch and take the dog. Watching him roll in the grass usually does the trick, if not the breeze. If the weather is crappy, I take a nice steaming hot bath, read a trashy novel and escape. I find that even after 15 minutes, when I think back to what was bothering me, it's not as big of a deal. Perspective is key.

Good luck!
posted by Leezie at 2:45 PM on September 16, 2009

A multi-B vitamin really helps my stress levels go down and eliminates my associated teeth grinding. My bath substitute: warm footbaths with epsom salts or lavender.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:50 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm so sorry you're struggling with this. Anxiety like you've described can swallow your happiness whole, if it's not attended to, and that would be a shame.

My first thought, is have you seen a therapist? How about a psychiatrist? I'm not saying talk therapy or medication is definitely the answer for you, but I would not be surprised at all if it gave you some relief as well as some essential tools to manage your anxiety and stress. I would suggest looking into this, and think this might make the biggest impact on your stress and anxiety levels.

Secondly, taking care of yourself is key. Things like not eating or sleeping properly can feed anxiety like nobody's business. Exercise is a stress reliever for many folks, and I'd suggest giving that a go, too. It sounds so simple, it's easy to dismiss and think it's not going to make that much of a difference, but trust me, it will.

Lastly, besides certain people, what makes you happy on a very basic level? For example, you mentioned hot baths, so, steam rooms at the gym, a well-placed heating pad, or an electric blanket could provide a similar benefit. Are there particular smells you like? If you have a favorite perfume, wear it, and if you can get one of the electrical outlet oil burners and a scent that comforts you (or a scented candle), give that a go. It's amazing how scent can make a difference in our moods. Oh, and it's not my favorite smell, but I find those lavender eye pillows that you can pick up at any drug store are very relaxing. Same goes for music, depending on what you like, that can chill you out as much as it can pep you up. Try indulging your other senses such as touch, smell, and sound, and you might be able to reduce some of the pressure you are feeling. Good luck!
posted by katemcd at 2:52 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

I agree with all the suggestions above. I would just add one more thing after reading Leezie's post: get a pet. I don't have one now, but when I did, just knowing the creature was in the apartment with me was inexplicably calming. And playing with it was instant happiness.
posted by kitcat at 2:54 PM on September 16, 2009

Buy a meditation CD, like something by Emmet Miller or John Kabat-Zinn (sp?), and listen to it every day.
posted by Dr. Send at 2:55 PM on September 16, 2009

get a pet.

I don't have a pet and move too much to get one, but my last roommate had a cat and yes, it was incredibly calming, even though he was a spaz and not very bright. Weird how that worked.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:04 PM on September 16, 2009

I am a very anxious, naturally stressed person as well. I go see a counselor every once in a while to work on this. Exercising really helps, especially cardio. For some reason doing strength training doesn't have the same effect as running or swimming for me. Also, in the beginning, when I was super anxious and just starting to work on it, I would listen to my ipod all the time. I mean, all the time. I would listen to music I really loved or a really funny audio book, anything that would distract me from worrying too much.

Finally, and this was really hard for me, plan ahead. Organize your life as much as possible. Organization and routines help you not be anxious about everyday things. Keep your room clean, and have places for everything. Plan your day out including the details. This may sound super weird, but sometimes I would even think about things to talk about at a party before I went. Somehow, planning all of this ahead of time helped me relax around other people.

I am much better now due to the counseling and the organizing as well as the exercise. Good luck!
posted by bluefly at 3:27 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

should I just accept that this is a process, it takes time, and I need to give myself permission to get there slowly?

+1 for yes. Change doesn't happen by someone clicking their fingers. Took me ages to realise that. Also, any little benefit you create for yourself is still a benefit. In this instance, size doesn't matter. Any little thing that you can do to chill out helps, no matter how small it is. Getting to your destination of being chill is a journey filled with lots of little steps.

How do I relax?

Firstly, take 10 deep breaths. This has two effects - it causes your heart rate to slow down to something approaching a normal level, and it gives your brain something to focus on. Try counting in for six and out for six.

Then, write down what it is that is stressing you out. For example, you had a fight with Susan. You said some mean things to her. She said some mean things to you. She behaved inappropriately. As did you. Write all this stuff down as logically as you can, in a bullet point list. For each point, write down how you feel about it, and what you would do differently next time. This gets the situation out of your head where it's causing a problem, and onto paper, where you can categorise it.

Other people have offered great ideas for other stuff to do. I tend to play with my dog. She's like a panacea for life's ills.

How do I envelop myself in loving acceptance when there isn’t someone else to do it for me?

Firstly, stop thinking of it as enveloping. It comes from within, and it happens slowly. It's not like putting on a jumper. Then, read this book. It's all about loving yourself. You don't even have to pay for it. And after that, forgive yourself for not being perfect. Nobody ever is, nobody ever will be. Yeah, there are things about you that you don't like. I bet there are things about your family and friends that you don't like too, but you still love them, don't you?
posted by Solomon at 3:31 PM on September 16, 2009

I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) close to 10 years ago. Here's what has made a HUGE difference in decreasing my anxiety level:

1. Buspar--this is non-addictive, unlike other meds prescribed for anxiety such as Valium and Xanax, and is available in a generic, so you can get this for $4 at pharmacies like Target and WalMart & other pharmacies that offer $4 generic scrips, and most doctors don't have a problem prescribing it. I am on 30mg twice a day for a total of 60mg/day. This doesn't work for everyone, but it has sure worked for me.

2. Eating right. There are no workarounds for this. I limit my caffeine intake, keep my refined sugar/white food intake low and keep my protein, whole grain, fruit, and vegetable intake high. This will make a HUGE difference in how you feel physically, which in turn will help your mental health and balance.

3. Exercise. There are also no workarounds for this. Find an activity you like and you'll be more likely to stick with it and do it consistently. I laid off the gym/exercise for 8 years and got back into it a year ago. Combined with eating right, I lost 50 pounds and am still hitting the gym 5 days a week. I do strength training 3x/week and cardio 2-3x/week. You don't have to go to a gym to exercise, and no matter where you live, you can go for a 30-minute (at least) walk 3x/week. Losing the weight and getting fit helped my anxiety level plummet. The endorphins released during my workouts plus my increased positive self-image has done wonders where my anxiety is concerned.

4. STOP OVERTHINKING EVERYTHING. Really. Just tell yourself when you start spinning to knock it off. This is essentially mindfulness in a nutshell. I have to tell myself this so many times a day, even now, it's not funny. It sounds so simple, but do it. It works.

5. Stop hanging out with people who cause you undue stress. Obviously, this doesn't apply to co-workers. You have to work. But you can choose who you allow into your personal life. This may sound really harsh, but I jettisoned a number of people from my personal life this year who I realized were stressing me out (a lot, not just people I had little quibbles with here and there). They were sucking me dry emotionally, and once I let them go, my anxiety level dropped quite a bit. I'd much rather be alone than with people who upset me every time I am with them.

6. I have other hobbies. I bake. I cook. I take care of my pack of 5 animals. If these things don't interest you, look into volunteer opportunities in your area. Getting out of your own head is one of the quickest ways to stop the anxiety cold in its tracks.

Good luck, and hope this helps.

NOTE: I will always be an anxious person; that's how I am wired. But living with OMGEVERYTHINGINTHEWORLDFREAKSMEOUT100%OFTHETIME was untenable. Most days, my anxiety is fairly low due to the above list of things I do.
posted by PrettyGeekAtx at 3:35 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Jesus said "Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof." Basically, that was the God way of saying take one day at a time. When I get stressed, I remind myself of that rather forcefully and it helps.

Also do recommend exercise, as it helps your body with all those stress hormones you are shooting out. And it will help you relax.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:43 PM on September 16, 2009

As with all things, I've managed to overdo the exercise. If I run 3x/day (yay endorphins!) to get that 20 minutes of post-run calm, I can't sleep very well and I have to keep upping my exercise to get the same calm.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:48 PM on September 16, 2009

How do I envelop myself in loving acceptance when there isn’t someone else to do it for me?

Accept that human beings are interdependent and think about the people you love and who love you. Be grateful that you have such people. Connect with them as much as you can. Be kind to them and to yourself.

Our stress systems are designed to be modulated by other people-- this is why solitary confinement is hugely unhealthy, both mentally and physically and why massage and contact with familiar people is healthy. (Massage is a wonderful way to ease stress -- and is not as expensive as you might think, especially at the Chinese Tui na places which are all over the city).

Americans seem to believe that we should be happy without anyone else. This is unnatural. Suggestions about therapy, meds, etc. are all useful-- but accepting that needing people is not just OK, but healthy is also important.
posted by Maias at 3:49 PM on September 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

moderation's not my strong suit.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:51 PM on September 16, 2009

Maias, it's taken me until this year to realize that one-on-one socializing with a friend can affect me as much as having a meal when I have low blood sugar. I was raised to be completely independent, and it's hard to unlearn but I am having to, for mental health reasons. And yes, it's a thing I have to learn- it isn't coming naturally.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:54 PM on September 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

I asked a similar question a little while ago and received a lot of good answers. Basically, exercise, therapy, giving yourself something pleasing to distract yourself with (cooking, baths, drawing, knitting, podcasts, whatever), and limiting the anxious self-talk. Also, recognising that line between venting and winding yourself back up—that was an important realisation for me and has really helped.

I've been learning to figure out what I can change and what I'm powerless over, and learning to delegate the worrying to those who can actually do something about it. I've also been learning to limit my worries to shorter spans of time; I worry about today rather than The Rest Of My Life, or if things are really bad, I focus on the next 5 minutes. Usually there's not so much to worry about in the next 5 minutes (I can do this, I can handle it!), so I calm down.

I also made a new rule: No Ranting. It has been magnificent. I'm amazed by how much it helps.
posted by heatherann at 4:12 PM on September 16, 2009

Piggybacking on the words of small_ruminant, when I'm super stressed, seeing people helps. Most helpful is curling up on the couch with one of my best friends and trading foot rubs and massages and just talking things out. But when he's not available and I can't get ahold of anyone to hang out, having dinner (and a drink or 2) down at the counter at my local neighborhood restaurant really helps. Sometimes I chat with people, sometimes I just read a book, but the waitstaff is really nice, and so are the neighborhood folks who eat there.

Yeah, as someone who's been described as "fiercely independent," learning that I need other people has been hard, but the increase in my happiness and general peace of mind has been utterly worth it.

Or get a motorcycle. Even a lap or two around the city does wonders for clearing my head.
posted by mollymayhem at 5:14 PM on September 16, 2009

Ah, check out dialectical behavior therapy.

Will help with the mindfulness and distress (in)tolerance.

Especially useful if you have problems feeling rejected or upset with other people.
posted by kathrineg at 5:28 PM on September 16, 2009

Take a month a make a list of all the things you enjoy doing. I'm not talking about taking a vacation to Hawaii, fall in love, run a marathon type of lists but little things like eating a prosciutto and mozzarella sandwich, listening to a certain cd from beginning to end, taking a walk somewhere that clears your mind - pay close attention to anything that gives you a moments peace and most importantly - you can do alone. These are things that give you joy, you can do anytime and you'd be surprised how rarely you actually do them. Write them down and schedule them into your life as often as possible.
posted by any major dude at 6:39 PM on September 16, 2009

I am just like this. I am a basket of stress. I found counseling helpful. I also take Zoloft, which is a lifesaver for me. One thing I learned to do is say to myself, "what is the worse that can happen?" I envision this and usually realize that everything is ok, sometimes I find it funny. I am lucky to have a husband who helps me see the absurdity of things. Laughing is very helpful. Learn to appreciate the little joys of life.
posted by fifilaru at 6:48 PM on September 16, 2009

Lots of good answers above but I wanted to point out the obvious:
New York is a stressful city. It's exhausting and it's hard to get real alone time, but it's also hard to have quiet one-on-one time with friends. It's hard to make friends. It's hard to just walk out of the house and get a coffeel you have to have your psychological armor up all the time, in some sense. All of the methods above will help, but I just mean, give yourself some credit because you're coping with a much higher baseline level of stress than usual, just from living in a giant city. (Doubly true if you're an introvert!)
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:57 PM on September 16, 2009

For some, an orgasm helps. So assuming you don't have the boyfriend around to held with that, you could have a go at it on your own.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 9:22 PM on September 16, 2009

I've heard books by Jon Kabat-Zinn (a doctor who uses meditation in a stress management program) might be worth checking out. This CD on mindful meditation looks like it might be a starting point.

Many good answers upthread.

When you find yourself getting anxious, check your breathing. If you're breathing fast and shallow, try taking a few minutes to consciously breath slower and deeper. Focus on figuring out where you're tense and consciously deciding to relax those muscles.

Plan time with friends to do low-key things 1:1 - go to a museum, a beach, the Cloisters, upstate NY... just somewhere that can be a change of pace.
posted by canine epigram at 10:39 AM on September 17, 2009

Response by poster: I forgot to say thank you. Thank you. Not only did these answers contain very useful, practical suggestions, but the acceptance and compassion they communicated to me was incredibly helpful. In the last few months, I've gotten a bit better at soothing myself, so: you really helped me! Thank you so much.
posted by prefpara at 6:35 PM on November 15, 2009

Thanks for the update, and glad to hear you're doing better!
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:03 PM on November 16, 2009

« Older Help my dad see the Tech v. Texas game in the Bay...   |   Roses are red & violets are also red Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.