The last few years have been very stressful. We’ve all been through pandemics (plural!), political upheaval, economic horrors – you name it. And that’s not even mentioning the normal pressure of work and family. So how do you deal?
We asked the staff to The edge to let us know how they cope with the anxiety and pressures of living in today’s world (including having to write about these day-to-day issues). We got a variety of responses, from running and meditating to pulling weeds and creating chain mail.
In other words, this is how some of us here at The edge relieve our stress. Maybe one of them will work for you – or you can let us know which strategies have worked for you.
In the garden
There’s absolutely nothing better than eating the first tomato you’ve ever grown. Not only will it be the sweetest, freshest tomato you’ve ever eaten, but it’ll also be the product of months of watching something grow, grow, and grow.
I love gardening (à la Oprah “I love bread”), and for the fourth year in a row, I planted eggplants, tomatoes, garlic and a whole host of herbs in my little garden from Brooklyn. In fact, my garden is the main reason I can’t work from home. I’ll spend all day there obsessing over my magical green fortress. And while I think most people look at plants and see a green thing destined for a dry death, my experience has taught me that all it takes to grow a successful garden is watching YouTube videos and to water. I am not joking – Plant Tube has you covered, and I’ve found that weeding my garden often helps me weed my mind, too. — Becca Farsace, Senior Producer
We rent a small terraced house which has a very small garden just in front. (When I say small, I mean two patches of soil, each the size of a typical New York bathroom.) Because I never had the patience to plant, water, and mow the grass, I recently uprooted all the grass and other weeds growing there and tried planting sprigs of ivy in the hopes that they would grow and thrive and provide an easy to maintain but nice to cover cover. to look at.
Well, it’s midsummer, and the ground is well covered — not with ivy (which is doing its best) but with weeds. Lots and lots of weeds, all of which magically appear about five minutes after it starts to rain. A pain in the neck, right? But oddly enough, I’ve found that the process of going out and pulling the weeds in order to clear the way for the ivy to grow is, well, very satisfying. I’m doing something that (a) needs to be done, (b) requires no real gray matter (below what it takes to tell a weed from an ivy), and (c) helps me let off some steam by pulling those pesky weeds out of the ground. Great therapy, all things considered. — Barbara Krasnoff, Editor-in-Chief
There’s no normal way for me to present my anti-stress hobby, so I won’t even try. I have recently started making jewelry and chainmail clothing. Yes, chain mail, like what knights and other warriors used for protection in Ye Olden Days. I can honestly say that I haven’t been this relaxed in years.
This hobby falls into the broader category of making things, whether it’s jewelry or clothing in general, but there’s something about the patience that chainmail designs require that soothes my concerns. I go into an almost meditative state while working on the patterns, and it feels good to see the progress I’m making as I go. I started with a kit of Chainmail Joe before simply piloting my creations entirely. I’ve only been there a few weeks, and I’ve done so much jewelry already. But now I’m getting closer to my first chainmail top — just in time for the Renaissance Fair, too. It takes an absurd number of hours to make metal clothes, I’ve learned, but that time flies because it’s so relaxing. — Kaitlin Hatton, Hearings Manager
Move and meditate
In times of great stress, the only thing that really helps me is exercise. For me, that mostly means running, but any type of body movement works. Yoga, weight training, rowing, a nice long walk, a weekend hike, swimming in a pool – anything that forces me out of my overactive brain and into my body. I’ve never vibrated with meditation apps or guided breathing, but the exercise itself is meditative. Your only real goal is the next mile, next rep, or next flow. It’s rewarding to watch you get stronger and of course closing your rings gives you a dopamine boost.
The past three years have been the most stressful of my life, but all this exercise means I’m at my best. The 2020 elections? I ran 20 miles a week, lifted weights every other day, did a 30-minute yoga class in the morning, and walked after dinner. After my mother passed away late last year, the main thing that kept me going was training for a half marathon. Whenever I felt sad or overwhelmed, I could just go out and run 10 miles. It didn’t end my grieving, but it gave me a well-deserved break.
I know a lot of people think of exercise as a huge chore, but Elle Woods was right. Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, and I have no desire to murder my wife. — Victoria Song, critic
My favorite way to relax, perhaps counterintuitively, is to run really long. Saturday mornings are sacrosanct, when I often run more than 13 km. My favorite route is a 10-mile hike that takes me to a local trail with an elevation gain of over 1,300 feet, according to my iPhone’s Fitness app.
Regardless of the distance, a long run gives me time and space to process whatever might be going on in my brain, and having to focus on each step keeps me in the present. When I come home I may be exhausted, but generally I’m much less stressed than when I first walked through the door. —Jay Peters, Journalist
My favorite method of dealing with stress is to disconnect completely. When I can, that means going for a hike. It doesn’t matter if I’m just walking the dirt road near my house or hiking seven miles through my favorite trail system. Forcing myself to focus only on walking and not on a screen or the internet does wonders for feeling overwhelmed. And while I can still worry about whatever stresses me out, there are no Slack messages, tweets about horrible things, or anything else added to it (either because I’m in an area with no service and I literally can’t see them or because I can’t check my phone without tripping over a log or rock).
Ironically, my other method of ignoring the internet is very high-tech – it’s strapping a VR headset to my face and playing beat the saber. While I think my Quest 2 can technically access websites, it’s easy to ignore them when the alternative is to do a little dance while swinging laser swords. —Mitchell Clark, Journalist
I’m not used to it anymore, but I’ve used Headspace in the past for meditation and found it very accessible and adaptable. I’m way too anxious for the “sit and count breaths” style of meditation, so I love that Headspace offers guided meditations that you can do while you walk, take public transportation, or even clean. You can choose the length of your session, so it’s easy to fit into a busy day. And naturally, you get the playful excitement of extending your streak each day you meditate. This is definitely the app to try if you feel like a meditation failure like me. — Allison Johnson, Editor
Although my colleagues have already brought up exercise, I still feel compelled to share how it also helps me deal with stress (when I don’t let laziness and inertia get the better of me). In particular, I recently discovered how much regular stretching every day helps me. I found stretching techniques and poses @movementbydavid on Instagram, and it helped me create a new mini-routine to work on some of my personal issues. When I’m at my best, I supplement these daily stretches with running and/or home strength training. My routines are pretty simple, but they’re more than enough to work my muscles, and I always feel so much better afterwards. The post-workout euphoric state is real and helps me feel focused and in a better mood. It’s a great feeling to make improvements over time, and it’s especially great to have that good muscle feeling almost every day, instead of your muscles only feeling when there’s pain. or stiffness.
I tell myself that consistency is better than intensity, and when I have a good week of training, my stress level is better controlled. — Antonio G. Di Benedetto, writer, commerce
just say no
Repeat after me: “I quit”.
Look, a lot of us want to make other people happy, and we overload and then stress about it. An easy way to stop stressing out so much is to stop doing things that stress you out. This is undoubtedly what happened recently! I think we called it The big resignation? Anyway, like Today in tabs writer Rusty Foster likes to say, “You can always quit.
Plus, you don’t have to say yes to things. You can say no tactfully, if you wish, but “no” often works just fine on its own.
So you need some stress relief? OK. What do you really need to do? What can you say no to? Leave meditation and relaxing drinks to people who want to stay in the rat race. Give yourself more free time to dream.
Oh sure, you can be virtuous and resentful if you want. But you know who is Actually happy? Lollygaggers and refuseniks. — Elizabeth Lopatto, Senior Reporter