MetaComfort January 17, 2019 7:15 AM   Subscribe

Let's talk about stress-relief. When you're faced with stress, what do you do to provide yourself a bit of comfort? Do you cook a familiar meal? Do you listen to a song? Is there a television show/series you re-watch? Maybe you exercise or you drink your favorite drink. Or it's as simple as calling or visiting with a friend or a loved one. What are your comfort hacks? Let's share our methods of dealing with stress. Be well my fellow MetaFilter friends. Remember to take care of yourself and know that you matter.
posted by Fizz to MetaFilter-Related at 7:15 AM (91 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

I have been known to eat chocolate cake while in the shower.
posted by cocoagirl at 7:28 AM on January 17, 2019 [15 favorites]

I have a set of comfort movies, mostly very cheesy, that help, and if it is really bad, Dead Poets Society. Face in cat's fur or when available, face in current person-with-whom-I-am-sometimes-unclothed's shoulder. Blankets. Cinnamon.

Most of all though, recognizing when every muscle in my body is squinched up and I am sitting on approximately 5% of my couch, and forcing myself to slowly unfurl.
posted by wellred at 7:29 AM on January 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

Surprising no one on this planet, I play a video game, but for the last two years it's the same one: Binding of Isaac. It's like a cheeseburger for me: familiar, easy to consume, and it makes me happy.

I also enjoy making breakfast for dinner, specifically 'eggs in a basket' where you crack an egg in the middle of a piece of toast and flip it a few times until it's cooked and slightly runny. It's also easy to consume and familiar. It's low-stakes thinking and it makes the world a bit better.
posted by Fizz at 7:30 AM on January 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

Personally, I like bourbon, but I'm trying to drink less of that lately.

I do like going and getting a beer with my friends Craig and Ben, most times just one of them, every once in a while both. I used to work with Ben, and I've known Craig since college. They're both great friends and they like each other as a bonus.

There's nothing better with a hot shower with some music playing in the background.

If I really need to zone out, I get my Switch out and play Lumines. What a way to pass 30 minutes in no time at all.
posted by deezil at 7:32 AM on January 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

i always enjoy a nice after work cocktail, but as some kind of bizarre personal ethos whenever i hear myself mentally mutter "i cant wait for that drink" or "i sure could use a drink" then i don't. i go for a walk or hug somebody.

i also play hockey and so will often feel the stress building and building until gamenight. and then after words i feel like a million bucks. wish my personal time, pocket book, and body would let me play 4 times a week!

i do use the 10 minute head clearing walk to great effect. when its at the end of the day i call it "comuting" (i work from home) and during the day i call it a "smoke break". big deep gulpfuls of air, very brisk pace. and then when i feel better i kind of shuffle back.

and i stress eat. anything salty. recently it's been macadamia nuts, but baked lays, or pringles, or anythig salty and crunch.
posted by chasles at 7:32 AM on January 17, 2019 [6 favorites]

A walk if the weather is good, cake if it is not, or finding the most amusing discussion on MetaFilter (failing that, making a FPP to try and start one off).

At some point in 2019 I'll probably add "Animal Crossing on the Nintendo Switch" to that list.
posted by Wordshore at 7:36 AM on January 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

I also have comfort movies, in two sets: Costume dramas and space movies. Costume dramas include Pride & Prejudice (Kiera Knightly version), Sense & Sensibility (Emma Thompson), Little Women (Winona Ryder), Emma (Paltrow), The Young Victoria, and some others in that vein. Early space program movies: Apollo 13, The Dish, Hidden Figures, The Right Stuff.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 7:37 AM on January 17, 2019 [8 favorites]

I try these things, generally in that order, and stop when I feel better:
- Take a deep breath
- Smile
- Close my eyes for 5mn
- Eat something very slowly, paying attention to all five senses
- Go out for a walk
- Take a nap
- Read fiction
- Write
posted by motdiem2 at 7:38 AM on January 17, 2019 [5 favorites]

I stress-eat and watch shows on Netflix that I've seen 1000 times already.

But there are other habits, healthier habits, that provide my soul with nourishment and relief from stress. Primary among those is spending quality time with people I like and building community. I'm trying to be better about actively setting aside time for that.
posted by duffell at 7:43 AM on January 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have favorite books I reread (Carry On took that place in the last few years), favorite movies I rewatch (Bend It Like Beckham), favorite people that I snuggle (spouse and kid), and yes, also some stress eating. It's called comfort food for a reason.

I have a hardback copy of Carry On for at home, but bought the kindle version so that it's on my phone and kindle and thus always with me if I need it. Also for traveling, I like soundtracks for musicals, Bring It On and Buffy's Once More With Feeling.
posted by Margalo Epps at 7:45 AM on January 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

I will reread passages from Dune and/or The Count of Monte Cristo as well. These are books I am so familiar with that I can turn to any page and immediately start reading and pick up the story.
posted by Fizz at 7:49 AM on January 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

Weed when possible, iron and listen to a history podcast (History of English, for example) or watch history videos. I stay away from the more tragic and oppressive episodes of history so the older the better eg. ancient or medieval. Also, read Metafilter.
posted by Botanizer at 7:53 AM on January 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

Cannabis and Pornhub.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 8:01 AM on January 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

Lately, playing "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild". So many different things to do, and the paragliding is really restful for some reason.
posted by theatro at 8:03 AM on January 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

Books, craft, cats, food, occasionally gardening, and editing Wikipedia. The latter is strangely satisfying in a sort of I have made a stand for well-referenced reality in a, usually dusty, corner of Wikipedia.
posted by paduasoy at 8:06 AM on January 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

Ahem, Fizz's comments made me realize that I also routinely reread Dune and the Entire Vorkosigan saga when I feel super stressed. Also play Sid Meier's Pirates.
posted by motdiem2 at 8:11 AM on January 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

My go-to comfort thing is putting on some Wallace and Gromit. It usually works.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:12 AM on January 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

I've been on a kick to turn my bedroom into the softest coziest room in my house, so now that it's almost complete my routine is turning out all the lights except the fairy lights, wrapping myself in a huge fluffy blanket, and making a warm mug of haldi doodh. If I need TV, it's usually Leverage or B99.
posted by specialagentwebb at 8:14 AM on January 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

Well, since what innocently used to be Friday afternoon GRARing hour (a mostly private thing between me, my computer screen, and occasionally some Mefi-threads) has evolved into a media-wide, family-life-intruding Truly-This!-Every-F******-Friday-Cliffhanger show, one thing to soothe our nerves was to install a new tradition:
Feastie beastie is basically: buy some really nice stuff at the store and eat it all on Friday evening. The simplest recipes are often the best.
posted by Namlit at 8:18 AM on January 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

I wear really, really soft leggings and cross-stitch with a movie or and audiobook on in the background. Or I cook something incredibly elaborate and have friends over.

And I don't actually enjoy this, but going to a really intense workout class, the kind where you're miserable every second and don't know if you can finish, is great for stress relief if I can get my butt to go. I just did one and feel incredibly peaceful and calm now.
posted by rogerroger at 8:19 AM on January 17, 2019 [6 favorites]

I like to bottle it up inside forever.
posted by bondcliff at 8:20 AM on January 17, 2019 [33 favorites]

Good coping mechanisms include going for a walk, writing a letter to a friend, taking a bath with some sort of decadent bath product, and watching old episodes of Call the Midwife or Parks and Recreation, which remind me of all the good people in the world doing their best to help their community.

Less good, but sometimes really satisfying, coping mechanisms are strong gin and tonics, working myself up into a righteous lather until my rage is spent, and furniture kicking.
posted by the primroses were over at 8:21 AM on January 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I stress eat. My other stress-management activities require time off work, space, silence, and preferably a large pool of hot, bubbling water. Alas, stress isn't exactly caused by having easy access to free time and a spa.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:22 AM on January 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have a couple dozen audiobooks I've listened to death; and I love each and every one of them. When I'm really fighting the fight I'll forgot something new, turn to something comforting and take a long walk with the audio for company.

These walks generally finish with either:
  • Shouting at the sky and kick tree stumps, or
  • Meandering towards known comfort food that I don't have to have much human interaction to acquire.
The bad times are, hence, extra bad when they come in the night and can't easily be walked out. Sometimes, then, long showers in the dark. I miss the place I once lived with geothermal hot water.
posted by mce at 8:25 AM on January 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

I do things that demand my complete attention, where there's no room left in my head for whatever is causing me stress. Two favorites are rock climbing and turning bowls with a spring pole lathe. Both combine a physical workout with mental problem solving that uses a different part of my brain than I typically use in my job, which I find helps keep me balanced.
posted by jedicus at 8:26 AM on January 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

Also, they both prevent me from using my phone or a computer, so that helps. And if I'm very lucky I'll be climbing in an area with no cell reception at all.
posted by jedicus at 8:30 AM on January 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

I have been known to eat chocolate cake while in the shower.

you are Valid and i support your choices
posted by poffin boffin at 8:36 AM on January 17, 2019 [20 favorites]

I've got audiobooks that are comfort listens. Spider Robinson's Callahan's Key was one for a long, long time.

Of all things - and Dr Bored for Science will attest to this! - Mythbusters is serious comfort TV for me.

I really try not to stress eat, but when I do, good bread is usually what I go for.
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 8:37 AM on January 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

Lately I've been re-watching The Office episodes on a loop (early seasons). It's not a perfect show, but it's familiar enough that it's just white noise stress relief in the background.
posted by Fizz at 8:43 AM on January 17, 2019 [5 favorites]

I plugged it in the "How to make friends" thread, but my wife and I are trying to bring Crappy Dinner Parties back into our life.
posted by duffell at 8:50 AM on January 17, 2019 [10 favorites]

Definitely go outside.

Look at pictures of islands on the island real estate site and dream of living in a lighthouse, or look up learning how to sail a schooner programs. Or look up again the whole sail the world on a container ship thing.

Stress bake! In the winter I'll make cake or bread and in the summer it's pie, which means I'll end up standing over the sink holding a piece of pie in my hand and eating it in my underwear.

Go to a museum - any museum, I like museums - or go to the "big" library. Something about wondering the stacks relaxes me and I'll usually end up sitting on the floor reading a book.

Listen to classical music. Re-read old books - funny, Dune is also on my list! I also like The Volcano Lover by Sontang and this not quite graphic novel called Flaming Iguanas, by Erika Lopez, about learning how to drive a motorcycle across America. There's a scene in the book when the main character attempts to sew the words "Flaming Iguanas" across the back of a leather jacket but underestimates how much work it is so it just says "Flam" and it just kills me every time.

Dump out the junk drawer and reorganize it.

My doc sent me some articles about some preliminary research on how wearing blue light filtering glasses might also decrease anxiety - he knows I like to experiment. I don't have any blue light glasses but I do have snow goggles, which are yellow and work kind of the same way. So lately there's been a lot of wearing giant can headphones while also wearing my snow goggles and baking.
posted by barchan at 8:57 AM on January 17, 2019 [11 favorites]

Pretty sure I am composed of 100% pure stress at this point.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:58 AM on January 17, 2019 [17 favorites]

Beauty channels on YouTube or animated movies, especially Wall-E, the Incredibles, and Big Hero Six.
posted by ellieBOA at 9:00 AM on January 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

I've been making paper plants and flowers at night. It's good because it occupies my hands and just enough of my brain that time passes, and I end up not looking at my phone, angrily refreshing the US politics megathread or the Brexit thread.

So with the help of the Cricut I bought as a result of this, in the past two months I've made:

- Various crepe paper peonies for the ancestral shrine my mother keeps at home
- A test crepe paper protea
- A pair of iridescent, peacock-colored crepe paper anenomes for my friend to wear in her hair
- A paper dinner-plate burgandy dahlia headband for another friend to wear in her hair
- A paper wreath of nine lucky oranges for my mom to put on her door for Chinese New Year (citrus is a traditional Chinese New Year gift because there is a kind of citrus whose name is a homophone for the word "gold", and nine is a lucky number because it's a homophone for "always," so giving someone a gift of nine citrus or a multiple of nine is like wishing for them always to be rich, which is a traditional blessing at Chinese New Year).

My current short-term projects are:

- Finishing baby shower gift for my friend, where we all made crepe paper peonies at the shower, and I'm going to turn them into a fun photo frame of all of us (50% done)

- Finishing another paper wreath of lucky oranges for another Chinese friend of mine (90% done)

- Finishing a paper wreath for a friend whose much-loved kitty recently died unexpectedly. The cat was obsessed with eating houseplants, so the wreath will have wheatgrass and pilea. Those are all done, and the only part left is a miniature Rothschild's slipper orchid, the most expensive and arguably fanciest orchid in the world, because her cat was truly a treasure among cats. And slipper orchids are generally safe for cats to eat. (66% done)

- A paper succulent wreath for my friend who lives in a basement apartment, where she doesn't get enough light to keep her treasured real succulents happy (15% done)

My long-term projects are:

- The bridal bouquet for a wedding in 2020 (what can I say, I'm a planner)

- A series of wreaths for my mother's front door in the four seasons (the nine oranges will be her winter one, and I'm plotting the other three seasons)

- A series of paper plant panels in the style of a living wall for the space above the couch in our living room, which has stayed stubbornly empty for years.
posted by joyceanmachine at 9:09 AM on January 17, 2019 [13 favorites]

Walking at the local wildlife preserve.
Snuggling with my lovely cat and hearing her purr.
Rereading a favorite book—if I am really stressed out I won’t retain anything new.
Naps (with the aforementioned lovely cat).
posted by bookmammal at 9:09 AM on January 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

Knit, bath, candles, and watching speedruns of my favorite old videogames.
Not all at once.
posted by Gordafarin at 9:25 AM on January 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

There's a shop on Elston that sells used fantasy, horror, sci-fi, and mystery paperbacks. Across the street, there's a vast taproom, none too bright or loud, that usually keeps at least one really good stout on offer. I like to take a long walk to visit the former, and then I page through my purchases at the latter.
posted by Iridic at 9:31 AM on January 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

Cleaning the kitchen is a very good destresser for me, often coupled with a podcast or music. Unfortunately for the state of the rest of my apartment, this doesn’t work as well for other rooms. Also, if I’m angry and stressed about something I try to go for a walk.

Living in Finland has introduced me to regular sauna going. I still can’t stay in one for long enough to fully unstress mentally, but it helps my body unwind.
posted by Kattullus at 9:32 AM on January 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

Shower with undiluted Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap + sliding into bed with freshly-washed sheets is bliss.

Make a list of the things I like about myself (most of my stress is rooted in self-loathing).

Catastrophize minor inconveniences to the nth degree until I make myself laugh (helps with perspective).

Playing my 5-star playlist at peak volume.

Find something to clean or organize.

Try to make someone else laugh.
posted by Twicketface at 9:38 AM on January 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

I watch Critical Role and/or tidy up. I like to sort stuff a LOT so if I can manage it I pick a drawer or a box to go through and get rid of the things I don't need and then organize what I can. Critical Role just soothes me on a lot of different levels.
posted by Hermione Granger at 9:56 AM on January 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

Music, yes. Burning it off for a while through exercise. Cat hangouts. Peppermint tea (okay, tisane). Writing scraps of fiction that don't go anywhere and I don't care you're not my fiction supervisor. Reading indefensible fluff, sometimes. Rewatching problematic-ish fave anime Princess Jellyfish. Rewatching aged-fairly-well ultra-fave anime Revolutionary Girl Utena. I think a November/December rewatch of the latter helped to stave off my usual January grar.

I have had unhealthy self-soothing mechanisms and a tendency to bottle up, so it's an ongoing search.
posted by cage and aquarium at 10:10 AM on January 17, 2019 [5 favorites]

I like to paint (walls, not pictures) while I listen to fluffy, silly podcasts about celebrity gossip or recapping reality tv shows. The long hot shower afterwards just melts my muscles which finishes the whole thing off.
posted by hollygoheavy at 10:29 AM on January 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

Hot tea + warm cat in lap (cat not too near the hot tea).
Walking in nature - lots of trees (bonus if pine trees) and water/ocean preferable, but anywhere even sort of outside will do.
Comfort reading (Bride of the Rat God is one, and Pride and Prejudice is another).
Transcribing stuff at the Smithsonian Transcription Center.
Comfort watching of stuff like The Middleman.
posted by gudrun at 10:38 AM on January 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

Immersing myself in music (i.e. stopping everything else and just sit there Really Listening to it) works. Also getting a few proper belly laughs from British panel/comedy shows or old MST3K episodes. If I can manage it, getting myself out in nature for a while is wonderful too (and healthy!). Then again, I can always count on good scotch...
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:44 AM on January 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

What I find soothing:
*long, leisurely walks
*going to the library or bookstore
*drinking coffee and looking out the window
*sitting with my cat
*crocheting or knitting or sewing
*messing around with plants
*eating hot popcorn while reading in bed
*reading books generally
*sardines on toast or spaghetti
*listening to NPR on my commute
*listening to music, but especially jazz
*hot showers
posted by rue72 at 11:17 AM on January 17, 2019 [5 favorites]

I blame Metafilter for the idea of putting maple syrup in my coffee, but my maple syrup is aged in Pappy Van Winkle barrels, so.

Also, I hit the pimiento cheese pretty hard. And the Twizzlers.
posted by emelenjr at 11:23 AM on January 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

I forgot to say databases and historical research. A good database can be pretty comforting.
posted by paduasoy at 11:43 AM on January 17, 2019 [5 favorites]

Oh a half hour or so of youtubed Graham Norton clips will do me a lot of good, as well.
posted by wellred at 11:47 AM on January 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

- A big mug of yerba mate with honey and lemon, or a hot chocolate
- Brian Eno's Discreet Music over headphones
- Warming up my favorite blankie in the dryer
- Trashy reality TV shows on Bravo
- Cheez Its, or crab rangoon from Chinese takeout
- Pigeon pose and cobra pose in Yoga
- Buying fresh roses from the discount euromart
- Low stakes iOS games like "Hidden Folks" or "I Love Hue"
- Bombay Sapphire in the summer and Bulleit in the winter
posted by nightrecordings at 11:49 AM on January 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

I run.
posted by smoke at 11:57 AM on January 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

Recently, soothing video games like Stardew Valley or slow-paced games like Sunless Sea. Rewatching The Good Place or Planet Earth. Also weed.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:06 PM on January 17, 2019 [5 favorites]

Shop around and find a coffee place where the owners/ servers are nice and and the crowd and ambiance suit you. Go there when stress mounts, feel at home, read, listen to the music, be nice, tip well, and do not use the staff as a stress relief, insist on letting the activity comfort. Leave the stress at the door. Own your aplomb. Always ask how they are, smile and listen, be joy.
posted by Oyéah at 12:13 PM on January 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

My stress generally comes from knowing I have to Do The Thing, so I put of Doing the Thing for hours, days, sometimes weeks, while I instead marathon any number of TV shows I have even a marginal interest in. Then, five seasons later, I still haven't Done The Thing so all the stress comes back, whereas if I had just Done The Thing I would be relatively stress-free and could go watch the five seasons of The Show I Had Heard Some Good Things About I Think without it being a terrible coping skill.

I am actively conscious of this and yet I do it every single time. I'll be 50 this May. I suspect that since I have yet to learn, I will never do so.

(Do it enough times in a row, and I end up as a voluntary in-patient on a locked ward. To be fair it only ended up that way once, but oddly, that was the most stress-free five days of my life. A+ would recommend completely disappearing from society and having zero responsibility for anything again.)
posted by tzikeh at 1:02 PM on January 17, 2019 [8 favorites]

Re-reading books or fanfic, something that I don't quite remember the details of but I know it will all work out ok in the end. Putting on podcasts or audiobooks and hiding in the dark under my weighted blanket. In the right weather, the same thing but with headphones and a sleep mask in the hammock outside. Replaying a city building game, right now I'm going back through Pharaoh.

What would make these even better: a sleepy dog, or if one of my cats actually liked to sit on laps. Next cat will have to pass lap testing before adoption.
posted by buildmyworld at 1:02 PM on January 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

When I am depressed, stressed, or just generally out of sorts, I find myself:

- Spindle spinning. I have to concentrate to a certain degree but the motions are repetitive and don't require all of my brain, it's very pleasant in a tactile way, and in the end I have beautiful yarn that I made myself.

- Reading horror novels, especially cosmic horror. There is a perverse comfort to the idea that nothing I do matters because the universe fundamentally doesn't care about me at all.

- Color-by-number or complex dot-to-dots.

- Pokemon games. I'm playing Pokemon X right now and it's delightful.
posted by darchildre at 1:37 PM on January 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

Wine and Anthony Trollope novels.
posted by JanetLand at 1:38 PM on January 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

Bed and book.
For extreme stress: very long walks
posted by sciencegeek at 3:32 PM on January 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

Most stress-relieving environment: sitting on the futon with a good book and a lapful of some kind of stupid sewing where it doesn't matter how terrible my sewing skills are, occasionally glancing over at my husband playing Zelda (the pretty one, I don't care about the game stuff but I find the backgrounds super soothing) or watching Ginga Eiyuden (I like playing listening-test with the background music: spot the Bruckner).
posted by huimangm at 3:59 PM on January 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

There are some films/tv shows that I go to to calm down:
- The Muppet Movie
- True Stories
- Skidoo
- Harvey
- Yojimbo
- Sanjuro
- Star Trek TNG or TAS (I'm almost always watching TNG)
- Stephen Universe

And some video games:
- anything in the Katamari Damacy series
- anything in the Ace Attorney series
- Earthbound
- Phantasy Star
- Final Fantasy X

And, finally, there's going on long walks. Preferably in the rain. At night.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 4:41 PM on January 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

My go-to for stress relief is to fire up Netflix and rewatch episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Yes, I've seen each episode multiple times, but that's the beauty of it. Whatever is bothering me at the moment is put to the side while I immerse myself in an entirely different world - one filled with hope and positivity.
posted by Roger Pittman at 5:15 PM on January 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


Which is to say, as someone who manages anxiety as a part-time job I have to first figure out "Is this a chemical issue or something else?" Once that part is sorted out and I just need to do garden variety soothing, my usual MO is trying to figure out if I need to destress or if I need to relax which are, of course, different.

destress: long walks, video games, internet cat pictures, write letters/postcards to friends, catch up on Mister Robot, various data cleaning and massaging projects (updating WordPress in a zillion places), cooking/baking, writing Wikipedia pages, coffee and the paper

relax: meditating, turning the heat up and the lights down, reading, taking a bath, birdwatching, lighting some incense, stretching, lighting a fire

Wintertime is just touchy for all of this. When the weather is nicer, my usual deal is just GO OUTSIDE and it almost always works.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 5:26 PM on January 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

Go outside & listen to birds and bugs
Roll around on the floor with our 10 month old lab puppy
Plunk around on guitar
Watch soccer - especially european leagues (better & more subtle skills & no commercials!)
Watch old reruns of TNG and Seinfeld
Sit at the table with coffee or wine and talk to mrs yoga about anything and everything, light or heavy
Take a long hot shower or bath
posted by yoga at 6:04 PM on January 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

Greg Dulli has an incredibly positive impact on what I assume are my serotonin and dopamine levels.
posted by Little Dawn at 7:25 PM on January 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

And I like building wikis, so my work on the MeFi Wiki is basically a stress-relieving hobby - it can be soothing to mine and organize the awesome of MetaFilter, and there's a 'flow' state that I can get into while working on it, and it's comforting to think it might be helpful to people, especially when they are stressed.
posted by Little Dawn at 8:46 PM on January 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

I usually stress-eat, but lately I’ve been making myself get on the elliptical instead (after having to go up another clothing size). I watch comfort TV, namely “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” (I see I’m far from alone in this.) Usually I stop feeling miserable, and start feeling actually capable of doing this, somewhere along about 17-20 minutes in. (I think that’s all the endorphins I’m ever gonna get — “Maybe I don’t completely suck at this!”)

Taking a walk outside nearly always makes me feel better, too. I keep reminding myself that if I am grumpy and prickly and a ball of anxiety, I should go for a walk even if I don’t feel like it.
posted by snowmentality at 4:11 AM on January 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

Wintertime is just touchy for all of this. When the weather is nicer, my usual deal is just GO OUTSIDE and it almost always works.

That's true. I find if I go out and weed my garden I always feel much better and happier. In the winter I read seed catalogs, but it's not the same.
posted by JanetLand at 5:37 AM on January 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

Long, aimless drives, sometimes with loud music, sometimes in silence.
Stardew Valley
A lot of my stress comes from avoidance, so I take a deep breath, and dive in and do what needs to be done, with vigor.
Archery, at one point in time, not so much now.
Stand-Up comedy
Live music, going by myself is almost more enjoyable than with others.
Going to the movie theater
I just discovered the (very expensive, but alllllmost justifiable) stress relief/happiness-gaining potential of spa services at a nice spa.
Reading through the chatty mefi threads and investing into all of your drama and/or joy and/or mundane daily lives
Clicking the [+]
posted by Fig at 9:21 AM on January 18, 2019 [5 favorites]

For historical reasons that seemed a lot more interesting as a first year college student, my go-to choice for decades has been Paul Simon's Songs from the Capeman album.

I make a point of never listening to it in any other circumstance, so as not to associate it with other things. It still works.

Long walks are also good. But, those are good at all times.
posted by eotvos at 9:55 AM on January 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

Being my goofy, embarrassing self like HEY IDGAF, COME AT ME WORLD is a nice little bit of stress relief too. Thus it came to pass that I decided to grow a patchy beard and wear a bolo tie to work. Rainbow socks too, but those are nothing new for me.
posted by duffell at 10:21 AM on January 18, 2019 [3 favorites]

This may sound exceedingly weird, but I like to plan out how I'd spend money if I won the lottery. Not a billion dollars, but some "reasonable" amount ($20 million?). I like to think about how much I would set aside for a new house ($2 million for purchase, renovations, and new décor, including the services of an interior designer), how to thoughtfully structure a trust fund for my aging mother (what is the right balance of annual disbursements versus initial cash outlay to allow HER to also buy a new home?), whether I'd like to be a member of a fancy gym or instead install a world-class in home gym and have a trainer come over regularly, and so on. I think about what mundane, daily purchases I would upgrade (definitely would switch to totally "clean" makeup and skincare!) and where I'd hold our annual, all-expenses paid vacation for the extended family. The list goes on and on.

Maybe this sounds horribly consumerist (it is!) or depressing (I won't ever actually have this kind of money -- I don't even PLAY the lottery!), but to me it's actually soothing. The best parts are planning out how I would ease the lives of those I love: helping out my mom so she can live an upper-middle-class life in her retirement instead of pinching pennies like she does now, or imagining setting up full college funds for my niece and nephew. I like to think about those things. Once I heard someone say, "If you have problems that can be solved by money, you don't have real problems," and I get the sentiment there but....gosh, extra money would make a lot of things in life so, so much easier. So I think about that.
posted by Bebo at 11:30 AM on January 18, 2019 [3 favorites]

I find videos of the charming Irish folks at Try Channel (the channel formerly known as Facts.) to be very soothing and comforting. At this point, reaction videos are fairly well-trod YouTube territory, but there's something about hearing them in an Irish accent with that particular sense of humour that does it for me.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:33 PM on January 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

Once I heard someone say, "If you have problems that can be solved by money, you don't have real problems,"

LOL fuck that person let's take their money away and see if they still feel the same


Okay, carry on.
posted by tzikeh at 1:24 PM on January 18, 2019 [8 favorites]

Playing guitar. If I'm super stressed, changing the strings on a guitar is maximum relaxing.
posted by signal at 7:05 PM on January 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

I do the re-watch things you liked and know so well that you're both happy yet capable of turning away because you've seen it before many times anyway. Farscape, Star Trek, Battle Star Galactica, M*A*S*H, Andy Griffith, Twilight Zone, etc.

Or I watch cartoons of the very lite but subtle 'there are jokes for adults' type thing. Sorta funny for anybody, but not too deep. Sailor Moon, Avatar, TrollHunters, Ladybug and Cat Noir.

My best comfort is take-or-leave when the comforting is done.
posted by zengargoyle at 1:37 AM on January 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

in current favourite descending order:
* reading cookbooks: Salt Fat Acid Heat, Smitten Kitchen, The Baking Bible
* Rivers of London audiobook series
* Fifth Element
* Big Hero Six
* playing piano. Today is 2&3 part inventions.
* Pacific Rim — kaiju!!!!!
* bubble baths
* cookies. Kilos and kilos of cookies.
* Pink Panther cartoons
* Bugs Bunny/Chick Jones cartoons

And I mostly do this perched at the cafe table on the kitchen.
posted by lemon_icing at 2:58 AM on January 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

Take a walk. Get back to the car, turn around, take a longer walk. Grumble under my breath until I get over it. Try not to look utterly demented (thank goodness for earphones).
Take a long swim at the Y. It's harder to grumble underwater, but it's amazing what you can do when you are fully invested. Then a nice, hot shower (watch the language).
Pet a cat or dog (currently not an owner). No grumbling there, more scritches and belly rubs.
Talk it out with someone, if by doing so I am not just kicking the can into their yard.
I do not stress-crochet, stress-cook, or stress-drive.
posted by TrishaU at 4:28 AM on January 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Taking to bed is my go-to.

Also, "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" has never not helped, even if only briefly.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:55 PM on January 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

"Taking a walk" was my default before my skeleton crapped out. It was also great for writer's block.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:57 PM on January 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

✓ Stress eating
✓ Cheezy movies (in my case mostly horror movies)
✓ Video games (Stardew Valley works better but takes longer. Hunting Brotherhood magahats in FO4 isn't as effective but usually quicker)
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 1:32 PM on January 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

Maintenance plan for stress: Bike commuting helps me keep the daily stress at bay. I've also tried to keep one outing with friends on the calendar each week as well as one lunch away from the office with work friends.

As need comforts: I'm a fan of reading the actual links posted here or magazines with a big fuzzy cat or two in my lap. I also occasionally visit a bar or restaurant and sit at the honest to goodness bar and chat with the staff of anyone else looking for idle chatter.
posted by advicepig at 7:22 PM on January 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Can't sing, but I find a quiet space and I sing to myself. Sing like no-one's listening. Half a verse of this, three choruses of that, occasional Beavis And Butthead mouthguitarwork and strong repetition. Anyone overhearing definitely wishes they couldn't.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 9:29 PM on January 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Obviously I consume immoderate quantities of booze and cheese like a regular person too.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 9:34 PM on January 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

I like petting the inordinately large soft pom-pom on a new hat I got this winter. I think it's a placeholder until I get a cat.
posted by batter_my_heart at 11:02 PM on January 19, 2019 [5 favorites]

Cat. (Personal to batter_my_heart: GET A CAT.)
Fancy new big round showerhead that, as advertised, makes me feel just a teeny bit like I'm in a spa.
Singing along with "Getting Married Today" from Company repeatedly to see if I can get all the words in.
Looking at real estate in places I probably don't aaaaactually want to live but that are, in some way that is compelling at the moment, better than here.
Horribly, because it's January and I'm low-functioning in January: watching Real Housewives of New York.

More generally:
Watch old movies because nobody gets, like, tortured to death in Bette Davis movies.
Knit something simple enough I don't have to be constantly counting but not simple enough I can tune it out entirely.
Run my hands under warm water.
[nb: do not eat cat. do not run cat under warm water.]
posted by Smearcase at 11:14 PM on January 19, 2019 [4 favorites]

Sometimes when I just need to stop thinking about something for a minute, I recite poetry in my head.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:22 PM on January 19, 2019

Funny, I was thinking about posing a version of this as a question on the green. For a long time I figured self-care was, like, bath bombs and stuff like that. I don't really like long soaks in the tub so I just rolled my eyes every time I mentioned self-care. Then I saw a facebook meme that talked about self-care in terms of things that make your life better - like doing laundry so you'll have clean underwear tomorrow, and I thought oh, that's practical and now it makes sense!

But I've been either doing practical things or zoning out with netflix to avoid how bad and anxious I feel about the practical things I'm not getting done (mostly b). And it occurs to me that I need to take care of myself and make my life better by figuring out what things make me less anxious and sad - preferably not just while I'm doing them but afterward.

So far:
*walking or other exercise
*making art
*hosing dinner parties (sometimes)
*being around friends
*phone calls with friends
posted by bunderful at 6:36 AM on January 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

*hosting dinner parties, not hosing.
posted by bunderful at 11:54 AM on January 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

I pull out my yarn collection just to look at all of the fun colors and to feel the textures of different fibers. I also plan or imagine potential new knitting projects for the future... All the while playing a knitting podcast in the background.

I also like to lay in bed and binge read a good novel. Or sit on couch with cat and binge watch a warm and familiar tv show on Netflix with a mug of never-ending hot tea.
posted by sweetpotato at 1:29 PM on January 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

I like listening to this Spotify playlist (it's called "calming," ... 'tis), especially the Guru Mantra. I also have an app called Calm that has a bunch of guided meditations and stories and stuff, I usually ignore those and listen to the lovely soundscapes: heavy rain, city rain, cafe chatter. Sometimes I double up and listen to both things *gasp* at the same time.
posted by moons in june at 8:11 PM on January 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

Historically and still some: eating.
More recent: brisk ten minute walks that get my heartbeat up a bit.
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 12:07 PM on January 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

- Do some kind of physical activity to exhaustion, then do it some more. Nothing clears the head like being dog-tired and sweaty.
- re-watch a few favorite shows or movies
- Cook something with a lot of vegetables. The cooking is relaxing, and most of the time I'm feeling crappy it's probably because I've been eating junk food. I also stress-eat, which can easily be self-defeating. This helps break that cycle.
- Unit origami
- Google flight explorer
posted by cirgue at 1:29 PM on January 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

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