Handling Stress When It’s Overwhelming Is Easier Than You Might Imagine

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Want to know a secret? I don’t handle stress very well. I have several theories as to why – none of which are medically backed, medically diagnosed, or medically anything. I am not a doctor, and I gave up on Grey’s Anatomy when they killed off McDreamy (but I was kind of off that train a few seasons before) so my doctoral degree is lacking in a major way.

  • I like to be in control something fierce
  • I don’t have that much to be stressed about so it always surprises me
  • I like things my way

So, now you know I don’t handle stress very well and I’m an anal-retentive do-it-my-way-or-else kind of person. I’m making myself sound lovely, right? Anyway, I don’t handle stress well, which is why God gave me a husband who handles it like a champ. When things don’t go my way, I get all kinds of crazy. Seriously – all kids.

To the point my husband will basically kick me out of the house with a kiss and a, “Please don’t come back until you’ve gotten a massage or bought yourself something or taken out your frustration on someone else, mmmkay? Love you, bye,” and that’s that. He’s too good to me.

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I don’t handle stress very well, but only at first. Give me an hour or two, and I’m much more reasonable and much more capable of handling stress in a way that’s probably a lot more productive than fighting the overwhelming urge to throw something at something and scream loudly.

Therapists – thoughts on this one?

At the tender age of 33, I’ve learned that handling stress well isn’t something just anyone can do. I can’t change that I overreact and panic, but I can change how I handle myself when I’m handling stress. When life throws me lemons, I’ll get my shit together enough to add vodka eventually, but not until I practice a few very specific things to help me calm down and rationalize.

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Walk Away

I know me, and I know when I’m about to go off. I can feel it in my ears. Seriously. I can feel my ears turning red and beginning to burn when I’m made very angry or stressed beyond belief. Before, I might have lost my mind on whomever was unfortunate enough to have upset me, but I’ve learned being a rude bitch is not all that productive – I mean, it is, but I don’t want to be that crazy person.

Now I walk away. The second I feel my ears start to turn red and burn, I know where I’m going – out the door. I remove myself from the situation until I feel the heat leaving my body. It’s for the best.

Go For a Drive

One of the most therapeutic things I can do is go for a drive when I’m stressed. When I’m mad, nothing makes me feel better than getting in a car, putting the windows down, opening the sunroof, and turning the music up entirely too loud. It’s like therapy without a couch or a copay.

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It’s even better if I decide to take my husband’s car when I’m losing my mind. He has a little two-seater convertible, and I can put the top down and drive with the music up too loud. It feels better. It’s a manual transmission, too, so I feel powerful in it. It helps (just don’t forget to obey the law, please and thank you).

Take a Time Out

When my husband feels I’m stressed, he’ll plan a date night for us. He will get me out of the house for a time out in which we are not allowed to discuss anything stressful. We plan trips, we go shopping, we tell funny stories, and we laugh a lot. It helps.

Say a Prayer

When I’m calm enough to stop my anger, I say a prayer. If someone else is the cause of my anger, I’ll pray for them. If it’s me that’s causing my own stress or anger, I’ll say a prayer for me and give thanks that God put so many good people in my life who know me and know how to make me feel better.

Not handling stress well isn’t a shocking disclosure, and I imagine it’s something many of you also struggle with. Stress isn’t fun or easy, and it gets to us when it’s gone on long enough or when it’s exceptionally overwhelming. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, but it’s something we can all learn to work on together.

What do you do to handle your stress? I’d love a few more tips and tricks I might not already practice.

My Body in My 30s: What My Body is Telling Me

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When I was 29, I could not wait to turn 30. I’d been hearing for years that your thirties are the best years of your life and considering how amazing my 20s were, I was pumped for my 30s. Let me tell you this – my 30s have been amazing, and it was hard for me to imagine anything being better than my 20s. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been through dark, difficult, trying times. My husband and I lost two babies before we ever got to meet them, we had our twins early and spent many long nights in the NICU, and we went through a full year of having two 2-year-olds. If that’s not enough to terrify you, well, you’re a better person than I.

I think it helps that my husband and I are pretty laid-back people who just like to enjoy life, and that’s made our 30s even better than our 20s. But what really caught me off-guard when I turned 30 and in the past 3.5 years is how much I’ve matured. I’ve always been a bit of an older soul; a goody-goody if you will. I don’t like to get in trouble, I like to do the right thing, but I didn’t really know what maturity meant until I began to become more self-aware in my 30s. The thing that has been the most shocking is how much I’ve learned to listen to my body in the past three years.

I never knew what listening to my body meant. In my 20s I could get away with very little sleep, long nights, I could drink for days straight from morning until noon on vacation and feel like a champ the following day, overextend my body, and basically do what I wanted and see no ramifications.

Life was good.

In my 30s, that’s changed. Apparently, people, I’m now quite old and my body has changed so much. I like it, though. I’ve never felt more beautiful, more self-aware, or healthier. But man does my body talk to me like never before.

Actually, it talks to me too much. Like – too much. It doesn’t shut up, and I already have four kids who do the mama, mama, mama, mommy, mom, mommy, mama, mama, mama, thing for five minutes BEFORE they launch into a 20-minute story that could have been told in 3 sentences or less. I don’t need anyone else talking to me. But, my body is kind of a bitch like that. She wants to be heard.

That said, I’ve learned to listen to my body. If I don’t, she makes me suffer. If you’re still struggling to listen to yours, I’d love to share with you what mine has taught me since turning 30.

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What My Body Says: My Head Hurts, I’m Tired, My Skin Looks Like Hell

What My Body is Telling Me: Drink Some Water, Girlfriend

I love water. In fact, I don’t drink soda, juice, tea or anything else. Wait. That’s a lie. I drink the hell out of coffee and wine. On a hot summer day on the boat or at the beach or by the pool, hand me an ice-cold beer and let’s call it a day. But water is my jam. I need it. I drink it so much I’m not sure how I don’t float away. I love it. But my body has taught me to realize that I need more than I thought.

When I notice these things coming on, I know I haven’t had enough water. It means I’ve been on vacation, and it makes me suffer. When my head hurts, I feel tired, and my skin looks less than vibrant, I need to get my water on.

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What My Body Says: I Have No Energy

What My Body is Telling Me: Get to the Gym

Sometimes I have no energy, and that’s probably because I have four kids. But when I feel like I really have no energy, it means I need to get my behind to the gym. I work out every day and if I skip a day while we’re traveling or when schedules get a little hectic, I feel it. I have no energy. I can’t function, I can’t concentrate, and I can’t get through the day. Going to the gym when my body does this changes the course of everything. I feel instantly better.

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What My Body Says: I Feel a Cold Coming On

What My Body is Telling Me: Slow Down, Take a Break, and Get Some Damn Rest Already

My body is big on telling me to slow down. I push it hard. I do everything all the time, and I rarely ever slow down. When my body starts to feel as though it’s getting sick, it’s time for me to slow down and rest. I know immediately I need to shut it off, turn it down, and sleep in, stay in bed, and cancel plans.

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What My Body Says: I Feel So Gross

What My Body is Telling Me: Eat Some Vegetables

This happens to me anytime I skip eating veggies for a day. I don’t do this often but when I do, my body talks to me about it. It usually happens on cheer competition days for my daughter. We’ll stop at Starbucks on the way to the venue, eat things like pretzels and chips, and fast food while we’re there, and we usually stop quickly at Chick-Fil-A on the way home. We are so tired, so exhausted, and so ready to be home we don’t bother stopping for anything healthy or cooking at home. My body gets mad at me, and it won’t quit until I eat something healthy.

My body says so much to me on a regular basis, and it’s not easy to understand what it’s saying until you begin taking care of it. Your body – and my body – needs rest, exercise, and healthy food to function properly. Without it, we don’t feel well. Understanding what makes us feel well is far better than wondering if there’s something wrong.

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3 Accessories that Add Chic Style to Any Ensemble

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I’m not perfect, but I refuse to leave the house looking like it’s obvious. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I don’t feel comfortable if I look sloppy. I get up at 5 am so I have time to shower and get myself ready as well as work for a few hours before the kids get out of bed. I have more confidence when I feel I look good, so you just won’t catch me looking sloppy. It’s my thing.

But, I’m not always in the mood to stand in my closet and choose a perfect ensemble. Sometimes I run out of time. Four kids will do that for you. And sometimes I’m just lazy. When I’m lazy, I promise you I will choose the simplest, most basic outfit and add a few very specific items to it so it looks more put-together than it really is.

It’s lazy. It’s cheating. It’s my favorite thing to do.

We all have mornings when rushing is what happens, and that never does anything for our mood. To ensure I don’t look as rushed or sloppy as I feel, I make sure I get out of the house looking as though I’ve got my shit together when that’s the last thing I have. I know it works, too, because I hear it all the time.

“Tiffany always looks so pulled together and great!”

And I love it.

But don’t get me wrong. I don’t feel it. So, I’ll fake it til I make it by adding a few of the most basic, simplest, chicest accessories I own.

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Oversized Sunglasses

Ladies, these are your best friend. They’re even more so if you wear them indoors when you quickly into a building and wait a second before pushing them up over your head. I love a pair of classic Ray-Ban Aviators with a mirrored lens (preferably in a color that goes with my outfit) or my classic black YSL frames that are oh-so chic. I don’t know what it is about frames like this, but they have the power to change even the most basic outfit.

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Nude Heels

You can dress up a pair of jeans and a white tee with a pair of nude pumps in a second. Even if your jeans are torn, your shirt is hole-y, and your mood is sour, you’ll look amazing in zero seconds flat. Nude heels give you legs for days – and they add a touch of elegance to any ensemble. Bonus points if you throw on a black blazer over your casual tee.

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A Great Handbag

My go-to is my LV Neverfull GM, because I have a million kids and all their stuff. I’m certain they’re all hoarders who want their stuff-hating mama to go insane. Regardless, any gorgeous handbag is going to help you look put-together, classic, and elegant. It works even more if your bag is structured such as this one, this one, or this one.

The great thing about fashion and style is how personal it is. The rules are few and far between – and they’re meant to be broken. If you feel confident and gorgeous when you walk out the door, that’s exactly how the rest of the world perceives you.

#LaundryUpgrade Contest: Laundry Room Goals

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I don’t spend much time in my laundry room. My husband does the vast majority of our laundry, and I’m not even remotely ashamed to admit that. He’s good at it, whereas I’m lazy about it. Well, maybe not lazy so much as just careless. Most of my clothes don’t get washed at home, and what does is pretty much yoga pants and underpants – and you can’t do much damage to those.

The problem – according to my sweet husband – is I don’t like to leave things undone. If there is any laundry, I want it washed. I can’t waste time leaving dirty towels dirty because there’s only two of them but plenty of kids’ clothes to wash. So, I ignore the whole sorting thing and just wash. I also (allegedly) over-stuff the washing machine and dryer, and I guess you’re supposed to measure laundry detergent rather than just eyeing it. Whatever.

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So, laundry isn’t my thing – but I do love a good laundry room. In fact, my husband and I are in the beginning stages of a laundry room remodel. It needs it – desperately. All the photos included here are of our laundry room at home. As you can see, it’s ugly. It’s what it looked like when we bought our home, and we need to do some updating.

It’s got great bones. It’s HUGE. It’s the size of a small bedroom, and we tend to use it for a lot of storage. Christmas items we were too lazy to stick in the attic, our beer-rator (which sadly has much more Gatorade and water than actual beer), strollers, coolers, and cleaning equipment make themselves at home here. Like I said – our laundry room is massive and we want to make it more functional.

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“Laundry rooms are no longer the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ room in the home,” according to Tim Johnson, Senior Director of Product Management at Masonite International Corporation. Masonite International Corporation is a leading global manufacturer and designer of doors for both interior and exterior use, and the company believes that every room in our homes should reflect our personal style.

As you can see, our personal style is so absolutely not reflected in our laundry room. Basically, it makes us look like people who have a vacuum obsession, a lot of kids, no desire to get into the attic, and a love of the Yeti cooler.

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True story – I have a vacuum obsession (I have white carpet and four kids, okay?), we do have a lot of kids, we are too lazy to get into the attic, and we do love a good Yeti cooler. All right, then. Our laundry room does say a little about us, but it’s not stylish.

Our goal is to turn one wall into a gorgeous command center for our four kids and their school supplies. We’ll remove the bottom rack on the right wall to make that happen and so we can move the beer-rator over to the corner and out of the way of the window. We need white wooden blinds on the window, a new sink, and we’ll repaint the ugly cabinets a gorgeous shade of antique white, add some decorative baskets (for sorting. Please see my mental eye roll) with labels, and we will rip out the ugly tiles and install wood floors after painting the walls a lovely shade of light grey.

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We have some serious laundry room goals – seriously, check my Pinterest boards – and I think it’s time you create some of the same goals. Imagine doing laundry in a room you love. How much nicer would that be? The amazing team over at Masonite International Corporation wants you to get excited about doing laundry, which is why they’ve launched a fun social media contest called “Laundry Upgrade,” and I’ve been asked to share this news with all of you.

All you have to do is take a phot of your old, ugly, outdated, boring, uninspired laundry room and post it to Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Don’t forget to add the hashtag #LaundryUpgrade to enter your photo in the contest for a chance to win one of Masonite’s gorgeous barn door kits AND a $100 Home Depot gift card to use to update your tired laundry room.

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Don’t put this off, y’all. The deadline is April 30. Photos hashtagged after this date will not be considered valid, so you only have a few weeks left. And since we all know you have your phone in your hand at all times, there’s no reason you can’t snap a quick pic and hashtag it in less than five. Don’t forget to take a few minutes to check out Masonite and their gorgeous work at www.Masonite.com.

Good luck – and happy laundry days!