Coping Mechanisms

Most people who know me would describe me as a generally sweet and happy person. However, if anyone heard my inner dialogue these days, sweet and nice would NOT be what comes to mind. Lately, a lot of things have been putting me in an sour mood – holiday tourists that clog up the sidewalks of midtown, freezing temps, 4pm darkness, douchbags that disappoint , boredom at work, whine-inducing race performances…you get the idea. In order to not be perceived as a raving lunatic (or just plain bitchy), I need coping mechanisms to deal with my stress.

One of those outlets is obviously running, but good friends (and wine!) are equally important in the quest to keep me sane.

On Friday I met two of my best lady pals (who also happen to be bloggers) for a vegan dinner at the E. Village Caravan of Dreams. I contemplated a salad, but eventually ended up tucking into a rosemary aioli and mushroom burger on ciabatta. It was washed down with sangria because a vegan meal definitely needs to be balanced out by some indulgent wine!

As the night wore on, we found ourselves in the speakeasy atmosphere of Cienfuegos. The stress of the work week and my bad mood slowly dissipated as my girlfriends and I sipped rum punch and laughed so hard my stomach hurt (seriously…this is when you know your core strength is weak).

The atmosphere of Cienfuegos makes you think you’ve been transported to Cuba…

Blogger in action…

One bowl of pumpkin patch punch, please. Pureed pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, ice, and RUM.

I definitely need my alone time, but I also need good company. My outlook on life was completely different by the time I arrived home Friday night. I didn’t even think menacing thoughts about the dude who took the last open seat on the 6 train. Viva wine and friends!

And the Butterlane banana-peanut butter cupcake devoured at 1am didn’t hurt either….

[photo credit: Elizabeth G., FreeFoodBoston]

By Sunday, I was in need of another one of my go-to “feel better” activities – a good long run. The weather gods smiled upon me and I was able to hit up Central Park during a brief break in the day’s downpours. Wearing my favorite “bad ass” tank top and shorts, I powered through a few solo miles in the calm 55 degree weather. With each step I felt like I was leaving a tiny bit of what was bothering me on the road. And throughout my run, I was lucky to meet up with not one, but TWO running buddies (hi Ada and Jacqui!). The miles flew by and I had run almost 10 miles before I felt like stopping. I finished up my run with a hot shower and when I emerged I felt renewed. That feeling won’t last of course, but that’s why I keep pounding out the miles day after day. And why I try to keep my social calendar booked with friends and fun. I need them to keep me sane, grounded, and reminded of how lucky I actually am.

What do you do to keep yourself balanced? I’m always lookin’ for new ways to ward off the crazy stress monster…

  • I can COMPLETELY relate to this. It is so important to keep your social calender full too. When I am stressed and upset, I usually push people away which makes it even worse. I’m glad you had such a great run 🙂 I have my “off weeks” too, but things always seem to get better and remembering that I can run and have great friends always makes me feel better!

  • One of my best coping strategies is pretty quick. Just download one of those hidden object or time management video games from places like BigFish or PopCap! They’re just enough to require your full attention and immersion for a few minutes, which for me is essential to getting my mind off of whatever is bothering me.

    Oh, and chocolate is nice, too. 😀

  • I feel you, girl. The only difference is you had a whine-inducing race performance, and I had a wine-inducing one. It’s how I cope, I guess. That and I danced it off.

    Dance party soon, okay? Like a crowded, sweaty, who-cares dance party!

  • It’s definitely that point in the year with the stress and the whininess and the blahs. Aside from running/sweating, playing piano tends to do the trick for me. And spending quality non-stressful time with friends and family is paramount. Just reading this post soothed me, actually. 🙂

  • yeahhh e-vill girls night out! 🙂 hanging out with laydee friends always makes me feel better, so long as there’s booze involved. i also like to shop for pretty dresses and other clothing items (some of which i return days later) to make myself feel better, which is entirely unproductive but makes me feel purdy, which is important. haha. you’d think i’d be good at this since i’m supposed to be the social worker, right?! i guess i skipped the chapter (along with all the others) on twentysomething coping strategies. i’ll get back to you on that one post-finals season 😉

    anywho, love ya megan. i am here as a rum-drinking buddy, professional eating buddy and yoga-goer. and a friendly ear, as always. but you knew that already! 🙂

  • i know that i NEED my friends and need to have nights out. it’s often the very last thing i want to do when i’m stressed but i know that i’ll be MORE stressed if i don’t.

    lucky you meeting up with ada and jacqui! i wish i lived near more bloggers/running peeps 🙂

  • A girls night out is the best drug ever. One of my best friends in college and I used to go for a run and then go out to brunch on Sundays (when we weren’t hungover of course) and it was glorious.

  • Yep, you pretty much covered it. Friends. Booze. Running. I like a good snuggle with my cats to cheer me up, too. Wanna borrow them? 🙂

    Sending you a hug from NC!

  • I’m sorry the week was bullshit plus, but you did everything right in ameliorating it: carbs in multiple forms, buddies, running, and showering. Shelby sent you a hug, so I’m going to send you a fist-pump, Jerz style.

  • I know what you mean…this time of year especially (I think) can bring a lot of ups and downs. Running always makes me feel better too – so does baking cookies, watching a movie with friends/the boyfriend, and getting out of the house to do something “special” (even if my budget can only afford a trip to a cafe for a latte!)

  • The holidays are a bit brutal. I feel like I’m being pulled in a million directions and work is always nutty. Coping? It’s all about getting some ME time, friends time and doing something outside the box.

  • I love your strategies of feeling better! I also use friends, wine and running to put me in a better mood!!! Hope this week is better!

  • megan, i heart you! and i’m with you on this 0 friends, drinks, great food, and exercise are definitely at the top of my list of coping mechanisms. i think just getting out in the world and doing things i love is really what helps. there were times in college when i was incredibly stressed out (hello, impending thesis deadlines), and i would go see a play and just lose myself in the theater. that’s the art nerd in me, but there really is something about forgetting yourself in the story of someone else.

    friday was so great and so worth the sloshy stomach that plagued me during saturday morning yoga. (truth.) we’ll chat soon about this weekend! 🙂

  • um, for some reason that posted as “zero friends.” i hope the internet isn’t trying to tell me something.

  • OMG, how have I missed Butter Lane? That cupcake looks divine! I love knowing where you go out because I always learn new spots. I am a creature of habit and usually stick to my ol’ faithfuls. Glad you’re feeling better!

  • I love spending time with my pup when I am stressed 🙂 And running, of course! Hope things get less stressful soon for ya.

  • Bobbie

    I pretty much use the same coping mechanisms as you but I also throw in a zumba class when I’m feeling anxiety ridden or just in a foul mood. The dancing while burning major calories is a winning combination for me! So good that you recognize when you need a little time with your girlfriends 🙂 Girlfriends are the best!!

  • Running & cooking… then stopping for the day around 6 or 7 and having a cocktail with hubby before we dine.

  • Megan

    Butter lane.

    GIMME IT.

    I need some coping mechanisms that don’t leave me straight up obese.

  • Ellen@FirednFabulous, how could you not know about Butter Lane?! It’s owned by former Glamour editor (now Food Network-er)!!! 🙂

  • Ahahaha! Your description of New York these days is exactly how Katie (Lilveggiepatch) described winter in New York to me when I was visiting her in the spring … definitely not a time for me to come visit, she said!

    My coping mechanism: Reading and spending time with my nephews, they always make me smile 😀

  • Ugh, sorry dude. I hope this week is treating you better 🙂 Whenever I feel stressed (hehe, like um all the time lately…) I make myself put everything in perspective and look at the big picture. It helps. Running and eating cupcakes are also excellent strategies. Hope to see you soon!