Thought Catalog

9 Things To Do When You’re Super Stressed That You Probably Wouldn’t Think Of On Your Own

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Aidan Meyer

Are you down to have a nervous breakdown? Because you have so come to the right place! Life is stressful. Taxes! National security! Some of my friends have CHILDREN lol! But really, I’ve never met a person who hasn’t had at least one bad day in their existence. Here are some methods I have practiced and/or implemented that help assuage my sadness and stress whenever I feel like my world has spiraled out of control.

1. Cry

I know crying in public “makes people uncomfortable” and “No Katie, you probably shouldn’t be crying in the No.5 aisle at Walgreens” but is this or is this not America??? Crying is great! I always feel like I’ve run the emotional Boston Marathon once I’ve finished crying. Anytime someone gets upset with me for crying I get abundantly defensive and all, “SORRY FOR HAVING A SOUL.” Just fucking cry. If you’re having a bad day and you want to cry, just cry. You are allowed.

2. Find a small animal. Cuddle said animal.

I’ve written about how dogs are better than people. I can list 398 reasons right now, but I’ll just highlight the most reasonable–your dog will never sleep with your fiancee, you do not have to pay for your dog to go to college, your dog will never burn the house down, etc. L o g i c. Anyway, animals are just better at comforting people because they don’t speak. They just like, love you and stuff. They’re very understanding. They’re not going to say something that’s going to send you into a homicidal rage like, “This is a hard time. But you’re going to be okay.” Small animals just wanna snug and that is all you NEED.

3. Look up gifs of Kerry Washington.

Yes, you read that correctly. Just fucking do it okay? Sometimes I do this on Twitter and I see a few of Olivia Pope storming out of a room or yelling at the fictional POTUS about how he has to earn her and then I pray to God for 8 minutes to have her confidence and/or aura. This is where I’m at with my life.

4. Shop (I am a superficial person, it is fine)

A few weeks ago, when I was a-stressed, I decided to buy like three books and a red dress. Because that’s who I am as a human. Whatever. Sometimes, going to your favorite bookstore or pharmacy or smoothie vendor just helps make your day less shitty. If you’re not in massive credit card debt and don’t have bill collectors following you into and out of Forever 21, buy the $12 earrings that will give you a brief vacation from the universe. Do what you gotta dooooooo.

5. Scream into a pillow and/or your car

My father asked me to pick him up in Little Italy recently. I knew this was going to be a massive, inherent disaster. I hate driving. I hate it. If I know that I need to drive on a Saturday, I’m thinking about it, praying about it, and telling people I love them AT LEAST three weeks in advance. I fucking hate driving. Anyway, my dad was all “pick me up in one of the busiest neighborhoods in Manhattan when it’s raining!!” and I was like “the streets are no longer numbered, I’m lost, and I’ve been in traffic for an hour.” An hour and forty five minutes later, I got to my dad’s apartment (he would later yell “LEARN HOW TO DRIVE” at me on our drive back from my grandpa’s house, but that’s neither here nor there).

In the almost two hours in rush-hour-rain-lack-of-direction traffic, I had a lot of time to think. And by think I mean CRY LOUDLY AND ASK MYSELF HOW I GOT TO THIS PLACE IN MY LIFE. But it was fine. I like briefly yelled to myself for a minute, and I felt better! Driving fucking sucks though and I would rather walk to Idaho than drive through a metropolitan area ever again. But yes, if you’re alone and stressed in your car, yelling sometimes helps. I screamed into a pillow in my room once that was also ~oddly cathartic~.

6. Walk to a body of water

Something about water is completely soothing (I am sure I am the first human to ever make this groundbreaking observation). Sitting by a river or a pond or even a fountain sometimes just feels like a small gift from nature, if that makes sense. The sound and the environment is just comforting.

7. Call a grandparent or older and wiser family member/friend

My grandfather is the cutest human on earth, it’s true! He really is. I have a certificate that says so. Any time I have a conversation with that man I think “Wow, you are the sweetest and most adorable being, and I am not worthy to be eating chicken cutlets alongside you.” He’s just so caring and genuine. I love grandparents. They really do think you are the greatest thing to exist. So if you have them, call them, so your life can feel better.

8. Watch a standup special and/or read something that will make you laugh

I’ve seen John Mulaney’s standup specials on Netflix about 407 times. My coworkers and I scream random quotes at each other, like the productive and diligent employees that we are, from said specials throughout the workday. John Mulaney always makes me feel better. Laughing helps everything. Gandhi said that. (He actually didn’t, but here we are.)

9. Know that you can have a bad day

I’ve met a few people, albeit well-meaning people, who have been like “you can’t let yourself have a bad day!!! You have to be positive all of the time!!” I’m not a psychologist (contrary to popular belief I’m sure!!!) but this is just a setup for failure. An author recently inscribed my copy of her book with “Life is unbearable garbage.”

Sometimes, life is unbearable garbage! People we care about get sick or hurt or lost. We lose our jobs, and our minds. We watch too much of the news. We hear about babies with heart conditions. Sometimes, life is just terrible. It’s scary to revel in that fact. Some days I think you’re allowed to let the reality of a bad day wash over you. It’s okay to be sad and to scream and to buy the red dress. Whatever gets you through the day and onto better ones. I know nothing. I just have a small dog that makes me feel better. TC mark

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