This summer I've made a concerted effort to unclutter my calendar and eliminate travel, which I know has historically been one of my biggest stress-inducers, one that I bring completely onto myself. ("yes I would looooove to come and visit you! yes let's please go out twice next week! yes I will do that huge thing for you! yesyesyesyes!") In other words, I'm trying to get better about saying no.
So far this August, I've only spent one night outside of DC. That's improvement. I cancelled my annual trip to New Mexico, and my lovely girlfriends out there decided they'll come visit me over Labor Day instead. More improvement. I've never tried harder to do as little as possible. It doesn't feel like me, though, all this saying no. (I am my mother's daughter in this respect... hi Mom!)
There are overarching stress factors in my life, I know. There's time: not feeling like I have enough of it, even as I try desperately to empty my calendar. There's work: working too much for my own good, and dealing with work drama that requires more of my involvement than I'd like. There's also money: ummmm, yeah. But isn't it funny how the same things that can de-stress us can also backfire in our heads? For example:
- Animals. I love animals and instantly feel better when I'm around them. We've been trying to adopt a dog for ages (long story). But wait, when is the exact right time to adopt a dog and how should that be coordinated with life-planning and what about the costs of dog-walking and doggie daycare etc? I'd like to volunteer at the Washington Animal Rescue League, too, but wait, what about the time and can I really take on a new commitment?
- Reading. Books soothe me. (Read this and this, by the way, not this.) You know what I hate lately, though? Magazines. Unread magazines are piled up all over my home and do nothing but advertise to me the fact that I don't have enough leisure time to flip through their pages. Oh great, the third issue of Coastal Living to add to the pile of magazines still wrapped in plastic? Yet another Food & Wine? Awesome.
- Food. I love cooking. But not when I don't have time to care about it. See unread issues of Food & Wine, above.
- Friends and Family. My loved ones make me happy, but I'm less happy about my travel lockdown that hampers my ability to visit them. This is a biggie for me, a constant guilt cycle.
- Facials/Massages/etc. Traditionally my favorite indulgence has been a Triple Oxygen Facial at Bliss. T keeps trying to book me massages to relax. But no on both counts. I imagine myself lying there doing nothing but counting the dollars that could've been spent on, say, embryo freezing, and getting even more worked up than I was when I arrived. Sigh.
- Exercise. Like many of you, I love the high of exercise once I'm in the zone, and let's be honest - I could use the endorphins. Getting in the zone, though, is like pulling teeth. And only being allowed to engage in high-impact activities one week of the month? Not helpful. Not enough time to get in the zone.
- Water. Specifically, the ocean. My perennial happy place and the best way to clear my head. But there is no ocean in DC, and fertility clinic scheduling means I can't travel anyway. So.
- Writing. If only I had the time/energy to do it right.
And let's agree that I'll never again write a post as whiny as this one, okay? Pinkie swear.