The Dream Me


Autumn has rolled into Huntsville and I’m torn. We’ve got so much going this year, stuff I’ve been referencing as “Fall” that I’m supposed to be doing, and Fall is here and I don’t have the time to do it all and suddenly these cool, cloudy days are sending me into CRAZY PANIC ATTACKS. GIVE ME MY SUMMER BACK! I’m not READY yet…JEEBUS.

I’ve taken some of your advice lately and been trying to turn nightly tea into a ritual. An anti-anxiety ritual that doesn’t involve eating 14 bowls of cereal or 12 peanut butter sandwiches. It’s kinda working, I guess. I miss the nightly binging, tea doesn’t quite do what a full belly does, but it’s something.

I’ve been talking to people a lot lately about what they do to unwind. Some shop, some take baths, some just go out for drinks with friends. All of those seem nice but the people who kill me are the ones who clean or COOK to unwind. Why can’t I do that? Why can’t I have an actual therapeutic desire to cook or clean? Do you know how much EASIER life would be if I had to cook or clean to calm my anxiety? THAT WOULD BE AWESOME.

Oh…OH! What if I had this unquenchable need to scrub toilets when I was stressed? Or wash bedding? Or…OR…DUST BASEBOARDS? Man. Can you imagine? I’d live in the cleanest house EVER.

For now? It’s eating and beer. So I’m starting by trying to substitute the ritual of making tea. And it’s close enough to eating and beer that I’m kind of fooling myself a bit. *sigh* Maybe someday I can train myself to clean when I’m stressed. A girl can dream…


  • EmilysHollow

    I DO like to cook to unwind, but I hate to clean up, so that just causes more stress. I think if you give it time, the nightly tea will start to help more and more as your body gets used to not needing that food. I’m not that good at it, either, though. I have a glass of wine each night. And that’s not BAD, but most nights I’ll have another one after dinner, during TV time, and I almost always wish I hadn’t. Yet the next night? THE SAME THING. So weird.

    What about reading? Just a few pages of something? I’m out of that habit, too, and miss it greatly. Even just 10 minutes with a book makes me feel better. I wish I were crafty or liked puzzles, or something.

  • Cara

    I just realised there’s another step I use in the tea ritual; I hadn’t even noticed. When I’m anxious and making tea to settle down, I always do a few yoga stretches while its brewing. Nothing overly ambitious, just running through the Wii version of the sun salutation a few times, which is not actually the sun salutation but is a good overall stretch of my whole body… The only time I clean to reduce stress is if I’m procrastinating or getting rid of stuff. The Goodwill pile gets huge when I’m overwhelmed.

  • Amanda

    I love to cook or bake to unwind. However I do not enjoy the cleanup after I’m done, so I make hubby do it. Lately I’ve started water bath canning. I’m like Suzy Homemaker or something, it’s crazy. I bought the Ball canning book and find a recipe that makes 4-6 jars. It’s sort of therapeutic, creating food and saving it for later in the cold winter months. I never, ever thought I would be that type of person. LOL!

  • Courtney

    One of my roommates in college cleaned when she was stressed and as a nursing student she was constantly stressed. We lived in the cleanest apartment EVER. Man, I miss her. When I’m stressed, I go for a run and then go lay down in front of the tv and completely veg out. But you’re already running all the time so maybe running shouldn’t be your stress reliever.

  • Margie

    I’m with you on the wtf-who-cleans-to-relax? Hate doing dishes, not fond of cleaning. Strangely, I DO like doing laundry, and love ironing — but not to the point that I’d do either if I felt stressed (there would have to be a full load of something before I started the washer, and a decent block of time free before ironing, so as not to waste energy).

    So you’ve got a long Fall “to do” list? Maybe there are a few things that could be dropped, or delegated? Or maybe just jumping in and doing something will give you that accomplished feeling.

    Then there’s therapy… you’ve mentioned anxiety before, and while we all have it, and you’ve come up with better, healthier ways to cope (which you’re doing, not just thinking about), but it’s still bugging you. Maybe it’s time to figure out the source of the anxiety, so you can deal with it head-on?

  • Mimi

    Kim, As you try to unwind just think about all you do for your family and what it is doing for them. Your success in being a wonderful wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend etc. should make you able to relax. When I read your entries they make me smile. Just thought I would let you know that you do a wonderful job and you should feel very good about all you do. Your family is so blessed to have you in their lives. That in itself should allow you go to bed at night and get the rest you need. You deserve it so allow yourself to relax.
    Love Ya
    Mom H

  • Carrisa

    You could take up knitting. It’s not a cheap hobby, but I know of people who knit while they watch tv to keep them from eating. Nikki looks like the kind of girl who wouldn’t mind owning a hundred scarves. Clearly I’m one of those people who eats her feelings, the good and the bad and the ones that belong to the person next to her. So you know, grain of salt and all that.

  • Sarah Lena

    I clean when I’m stressed. It’s a blessing and a curse, because when I’m not stressed, I get irrationally livid that the house isn’t clean. I go around on a foot-stomping rampage about how I’M THE ONLY ONE WHO CLEANS THIS HOUSE! and then I get stressed out – and then I clean. Welcome to the joy of living with me.

    So, um, girl, I’ve been looking at your pics of your (IN SPANDEX, no less) and thinking that whatever your nighttime ritual? Is worth picking up at my house too, because DAYUM, you’re looking so svelte!

  • Jen

    I sometimes do sleepytime tea at night, but the one thing I’ve really found that cuts the cravings is lowfat or fat-free Greek yogurt. There are yummy flavors, it’s high in protein, and it’s hearty enough that I feel like I’ve had dessert.