Hey, Stressball: Take it Table by Table

Braunschweiger

Braunschweiger, so yummy . . . image via Schallerweber!

Quick post today, but I just wanted to get this out there: I am stressed as hell. I feel like everywhere I look, there’s stuff that needs to get done: the house, despite my best efforts, is drowning in clutter and I have no place to put it. The backyard needs to be raked and pruned. Our patio furniture needs to be put in the shed–except that would require me to reorganize our shed (which I just cleaned and reorganized last summer). Except that would require me to patch a hole in the roof so everything in the shed doesn’t grow a layer of mildew (update: everything in the shed is growing a layer of mildew gahhhhh).

So. Even though you know I love Christmas so, so, much, decorating for Christmas, on top of everything else, feels like . . . slapping lipstick on a pig? Making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear? Something porcine. My mind is racing, I can’t focus, and I feel like I’m already out of time.

This was helped greatly today, in part because my parents (wonderful parents) showed up with a new bookcase my Dad made (more storage for our many, many books), braunschweiger sandwiches, and Christmas ornaments. Plus, my Dad fixed my fence gate, something I’d actually forgotten to be stressed about. Yay, thank you awesome parents!

However, I also recited a mantra I learned when I was a waitress: take it table by table. I spent most of my restaurant career in Martha’s Vineyard, a popular vacation destination that was beyond slammed in the summer. When I started out, I quickly realized that if I started my day thinking about all the tables I would have, all the customers who could get mad at me, all the mistakes I would make that day–I wouldn’t show up for work, because I would be cowering under my bed.

So I took a breath and decided to take it table by table: instead of obsessing about all the things I needed to do or things that would or could happen, I would deal with them in the moment, as they happened. It broke down some 18-hour days into something bearable, and it’s a technique I still use (when I remember!).

Today, taking things table by table meant focusing on cleaning up the basement (where the bookcase is now, and where the Christmas tree will stand tomorrow) so we’d be able to take advantage of the extra storage space right away, and I cranked our patio umbrella down so our wind and rainstorms wouldn’t knock it over. I got that done, and I’m breathing a little easier now.

Does that sound goofy? Probably. What are your stress reduction tips? I highly recommend braunschweiger as well.