August 21, 2012 4:57 AM   Subscribe

What do you do for stress relief when you can't work out?

I like to be physically active when I'm stressed out. It's less about fitness than burning off mental energy.

My normal routine is to do some hard sprints through Brooklyn like a complete weirdo, and go sailing approximately once a week.

But, ironically, I've broken a rib... sailing. So, for the next month or so, I can't really do much.

I like meditating, but it doesn't have the same release. Walking doesn't either, and is also kind of hard on the ol' McRib.

Any ideas?

Bonus round: Anything that will make this stupid thing heal faster, other than sitting around? I've heard Arnica, and I will try that, but most signs point to "just sit around." :(
posted by functionequalsform to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
PS3. Nothing like slaying a few dragons on Skyrim to feel a little stress relief. It doesn't hurt that my boss kinda looks like one... and this may be a little physically stressful but (real-world) archery is my all-time favourite form of stress relief. I suspect it would be rather painful with a broken rib, however...

As to helping with the healing process, this article suggests pineapple and yoghurt, and cutting down on red meat and caffeine. Get well soon!
posted by tzb at 5:08 AM on August 21, 2012

First person shooters, definitely. The kind where you end up screaming and throwing the controller at the screen.
posted by anaelith at 5:25 AM on August 21, 2012

Cooking. Take on a few moderately complicated dishes you've always wanted to learn and take the time to make them. Osso Bucco lamb shanks. Really good Pad Thai. Pasta and sauce from scratch.

The combination of prep, a good glass of wine and Van Morrison in the background takes me to a very happy, stress-free place. Plus, the eatin' ain't bad either.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 5:26 AM on August 21, 2012 [4 favorites]

Housecleaning, especially purging old junkmail/clothes/tupperware/food/medicine cabinet stuff.

And masturbation.

Sometimes the second as reward for the first.
posted by argonauta at 5:28 AM on August 21, 2012 [5 favorites]

This isn't the most exciting suggestion, but a good ten minutes of pen-to-paper journalling always clears my head much more than meditation.
posted by oinopaponton at 5:37 AM on August 21, 2012 [5 favorites]

I see from your profile that you like music. Do you play an instrument? I find playing the guitar cures most ills; when I want to unwind, I play songs so familiar I can play them in my sleep, and when I need a distraction, I learn something new.
posted by Defying Gravity at 5:40 AM on August 21, 2012

Depending on your personality, organizing things - taking EVERYTHING out/off of a cabinet/shelf, purging some, cleaning others, putting it all back together in a better arrangement than it was before.
posted by julthumbscrew at 5:50 AM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I will second the "organizing thing" recommendation. Go through all your stuff. Filter out anything you don't absolutely need. Donate it to charity.

Also, if you're a journaler, I find looking through old journals to be great stress-relief. It helps you to remember that the big disaster you were worried about two years ago has now been completely forgotten and turned out to be but a blip on the radar.

Or pick up a new creative hobby, like painting. Buy some art supplies and try to produce one painting per week. Don't bother with still lifes or trying to learn technique, just paint shapes and colors according to how you feel. Or do this with another medium, like writing. Making something out of your internal state that you can point at and say, "There, that's how I feel right now," has a strangely therapeutical effect.
posted by deathpanels at 6:11 AM on August 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

You sound like a physically active person, so I know "be patient in order to heal" is a difficult thing to accept. Just remind yourself that the better you heal now, you will have fewer issues in the future.

I have only heard of arnica as effective for inflammation (to prevent a bruise immediately after a soccer game, for example). If you do go the arnica route, please, please, do not waste your money buying the homeopathic versions!
posted by Pocahontas at 6:16 AM on August 21, 2012

Can you go to a gym? Maybe a stationary recumbent bike, or elliptical w/out the moving arm thing would be easy enough on the rib?

Also, paddleboats!
posted by effigy at 6:44 AM on August 21, 2012

Shooting guns at the range or other legal areas for firearms discharge.
posted by jadepearl at 6:54 AM on August 21, 2012

Stretching parts of your body that you don't know about, like feet.

Massages are cool.

Read something new, different and engaging.

Pull a Batman and go BASE jumping, spelunking, and then masturbate.
posted by Giggilituffin at 6:55 AM on August 21, 2012

It's escapist more than strictly stress-reducing, but rereading familiar, well-loved books.
posted by mchorn at 7:04 AM on August 21, 2012

Oh man, that's the pits. As a person who requires exercise for stress relief but also sometimes finds myself injured (from exercising too much), I try to avoid starchy or sugary carbs as much as possible while inactive. That seems to help with the awful "amped up and no outlet" feeling I get in my body. Sending my wishes for a speedy recovery.
posted by indognito at 7:19 AM on August 21, 2012

sex, drugs & rock n roll
posted by KogeLiz at 7:24 AM on August 21, 2012

Playing Rock Band with the huz is great stress relief. I can only play the drums, but the combination of focusing on the notes on the screen/letting the rest of your mind rest & hitting things with sticks is fantastic.
posted by Fig at 7:49 AM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Mindfulness meditation.
posted by whalebreath at 3:40 PM on August 21, 2012

oh man, I know just what you mean and you have my sympathies.

RE healing faster: my husband broke his arm a few months ago, and his orthopedist told him the only thing shown to make bones heal faster is a high-protein diet. Since he was craving red meat anyway, he ate beef pretty much every day for a couple of weeks. His arm healed in record time--he was out of the cast in four weeks, instead of the six originally predicted. It's worth trying, if you eat meat!
posted by min at 7:11 AM on August 22, 2012

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