Random Thoughts: The But I’m Still Stressed Edition

Thanksgiving was so, so nice. Dan, the children, and I drove up to my parents’ house Thanksgiving Day. It was 60 degrees and sunny. While M napped (or, more accurately, chatted to himself in the pack-n-play), my parents took the girls to the park. Dan and I read and napped, respectively. For dinner it was just the seven of us. Kate had turkey.

My mom had spent time earlier in the week preparing and baking, so the actual day was not spent in the kitchen. God bless her. I roasted some beets. Which Kate also ate.

That night, after all the kids were in bed, we adults played a game and drank wine. It was really low-key and lovely, and my mom got up with the kids the next morning, so going to bed at midnight wasn’t that painful for me. (I’m telling you, if my parents are any indication, not only do you need less sleep as you age, but you can also drink more — not like get trashed, but have more than two glasses of wine — and still rise with the sun and/or the grandchildren at 7:30 a.m. It amazes me. Maybe they get to nap, more, too though. That’s a possibility.)

We drove back to Pittsburgh on Friday, and spent two days cleaning and otherwise preparing for the kids’ birthday party on Saturday.

This is the first year we combined the kids’ birthday parties. Between the holidays and birthdays, November through January are crazy with gifts and parties and travel. In order to cut down on travel and expense, I threw one party the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It went swimmingly — more than swimmingly. (I, personally, feel it was a stroke of genius. My husband has reservations still. It was a shitload of work for nearly three days, I’ll give him that. And, as happens when we clean the whole house, our office, once more, is trashed.)

The other thing that is sticking with me (aside from the loveliness of a small gathering on a holiday, and the success of the party) is that my mom worries about me and my stress. She made the point a couple of times: So much stress is bound to have physical consequences. I agree with her, but I’m not really sure what else to do.

I see a chiropractor once or twice a month to help with back and neck issues (she’s *awesome*).

My biggest stress reliever used to be exercise. And I don’t get exercise any more. I’m in terrible shape. (We’ve been over this.) I would love my workplace to install a gym. I wonder if I can make that happen. Believe me, it’s the only way I would get regular exercise. I cannot get up any earlier, and the thought of trying to add a workout to the end of my day — stresses me out.

I still read, about 20 to 30 minutes a night. That helps me wind down a lot. Sometimes I catch some TV. I usually have a beer or a glass of wine.

I also, almost daily, have a cigarette. (Outside.) (This is not going to help my mother’s peace of mind.) I’m not proud of this fact. I’m struggling with it (as with so many other things.) But it’s something I do to destress. (I know, ironic.)

I’m not really sure what’s next, what else to try to change, what I’m going to do in the long run for my health.

This is where I am.