Over the past few years I have become a stress baker.
At first, bryan enjoys the stress-baking. It means made from scratch scones and muffins in the morning, pot-pie and lasagna for meals, cookies and brownies for dessert. Zu helps me extra in the kitchen. A half hour or so of stirring and kneading and measuring, and I’m a happy momma again. Something about the sole concentration on simple, textural tasks of pouring and mixing is soothing.
But then my stress reaches a level where being in the kitchen a little extra stops helping. I start to burn things, skip ingredients, forget steps. It makes for some really bad meals. Which leads to budget stress and not-pleasing-my-family stress.
So that is where we are right now—the balance has tipped, and so I am laying off the flour sugar and eggs and trying to find another way to deal.
Being a teacher, my stress is seasonal. Mid-october to November, then again mid-march to april. (though you should have seen the chaos in my kitchen when I was a week overdue with June! I couldn’t boil water right by the end of it). Try as I might, eventually my defenses against stress wear thin and I’ve got ulcers and knotted muscles and sleepless nights. (Next semester I'm teaching all online classes though, so I've got high hopes for less stressful seasons!)
Over the years there were different ways I handled stress. Yelling at people was a favorite way when I was younger, but I’ve since learned that makes me sort of hard to be around even if you really love me extra much, so I’ve opted for internalizing the stress. Then I used to eat more when I was stressed, but this year I’ve been changing my eating habits (and 15lbs down because of it) so I’m trying to find something healthier to replace that habit. For a while cooking was helping, but I have so much on my mind that I find it too hard to concentrate.
It makes me a mess in all areas—nine out of ten little disasters we have had this month are the direct result of my carelessness. I’m thinking about trying out breaking things on purpose next to relieve stress, since breaking them on accident seems to happen so often lately anyway. Bryan and I have a date this weekend though, so maybe some one-on-one time without kids and just with my honey will help.
I mean, I'm just raising two kids two and under, working full time as a professor, editing my first book--what is there to be stressed about?
What do you do to relax when you are stressed?