You Need a Chisel, Not a Retreat

The best stress relief comes from steady work.

When you’re worried about having kids…

Should you start a family? Few questions generate as many pro/con lists as this one. Plenty of us never know for sure. One thing helped me make up my mind. My childless by choice friends are adamant. They really don’t want kids, and they’ve always known. It wasn’t a question. The rest of us are open to the idea. So if you’re inclined to have a kid, then do it. Not right away. Just start putting yourself into a situation where it can work. Save up money. Get a better job. Move somewhere conducive to raising a child. Take small but definitive steps and see how they feel.

When you’re worried about death…

Perfectly healthy people think about their end all the time. Why? We know we’ll die, and we want it to suck a little less. A good plan can help. I’ve even started working on my deathbed playlist. Sounds grim, but it’s not. It’s just me knowing that I’ll want to listen to good music on my last day — not whatever crap the hospice staff can whip up.

When you’re worried about clutter…

Nothing stresses people out like piles of anything. Papers. Dishes. Diapers. Clothes. If you’re like me, you can’t relax until the chores are done. Some say it’s because we’re high strung. We should learn to live with a little bit of clutter and a few loose ends. But for some of us, letting things go takes more energy and emotional labor than just doing it. Organizing stuff actually feels good. The process itself relieves stress.

When you’re worried about your job…

Don’t tell yourself everything’s going to be okay. Do something besides wait around for someone to call you in for one of those meetings. You know the ones that begin with, “I’m sorry but...”

When you’re worried about your relationship…

Operating in two modes gets easier. The mental state can apply to almost any situation. Some of my friends have gone through bad breakups and divorces over the last few years. They had to prepare for mirrored futures — one with their spouse, one without. They did this without going insane. So can you. In the end, you don’t have a choice. Planning for only one future leaves you completely unprepared for the other.

When you’re worried about money…

Nothing freaks people out like sneak peaks at their bank accounts. We always hear “money doesn’t make you happy.” But anyone who says this probably has plenty of cash. The rest of us know how good life can feel when you’re sure you can pay rent and groceries for the rest of the month.

When you’re worried about failure…

Fear of failure always sucks more than actual failure. See, there’s failure and then there’s Failure. Neither one feels great. But you can always come back from failure. Little failure means your article got rejected. Nobody showed up to your concert. Nobody’s buying your artwork.

When you’re worried about anything…

A small gap lives between procrastination and overwork. I’m not a fan of killing yourself just to look busy. You can’t usually solve a big problem by hitting it with productivity hacks.

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