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Anxiety Advice

March 5, 2008

This isn’t strictly personal finance related (perhaps personal development). Although, I’ve found you can make almost everything you want to write about personal finance related.

I’m a recovering perfectionist (lately not so much recovering as relapsing), and I’ve been anxious about my new job. I’m also anxious about pretty much everything else in my life as well. The anxiety is really getting hard to deal with. I can’t seem to relax, let things go, and keep it all together. No matter how much I want to.

I’ve been running a lot lately, well over my 3 times a week goal. I’ve always heard this will relieve stress, so I’ve been really diligent about it. I think it is helping, but it just isn’t enough. I’m still way more stressed out and anxious than usual, and I can’t seem to “just relax”. I can easily recognize the flaws in my attitude, but I can’t seem to overcome them.

I’ve been trying to do stuff outside of work and to be gentle on myself, but I just feel stuck. I feel like sitting down on the floor (or perhaps laying) and bursting into tears. That can’t possibly be the best solution. So I ask you, what do you do in order to relax and de-stress? Do you have any advice for me?

Also, when you end a sentence with parenthesis, does the period go on the inside or outside of them? Same question with quotations.

And what is the deal with the guy who came to my door and offered me the LA times for free, but then requested a check “as a tip for the little guys that deliver it”? That isn’t free! (There, I added a little money note after all.)

13 Comments leave one →
  1. March 5, 2008 2:51 pm

    Stress is the worst. I have found that yoga really relaxes and destresses me. I’m not a huge meditator or anything, but I like that you have to focus on your body and what you’re doing, so you aren’t thinking about outside stresses. And the quiet helps too. One of the biggest advantages to yoga (besides the actual yoga) is that it’s a forced environment where there is no blaring music or background TV or flashing lights or other things to fill up your mind. Amazingly destressing. Humans used to exist mostly in quiet and with natural sounds. Now we exist mostly with artificial lights and noise constantly surrounding us. Not relaxing.

    And to answer your other question, sentences that end in parenthesis should have punctuation outside (like this). But sentences ending in quotes are the opposite, like “this.”

  2. March 5, 2008 3:54 pm

    Meg already answered the grammar. But even as the “Grammar Nazi” of my various schools, I break the rule a lot – specifically, anytime I write a full sentence inside parentheses or place a quoted phrase at the end of a sentence. (It doesn’t make sense to me to do this)! And this just doesn’t “look right.” The period is not part of the original quote! lol

    As far as stress, just keep focusing on things you enjoy. Read a book, sleep as much as you can, and be as patient as possible. *hug*

  3. March 5, 2008 4:06 pm

    Are you taking a watch, music or anything else when you run?

    I’ve found that when I lace up the shoes and head out the door with no toys (or training goal) I have my most peaceful runs.

    I do yoga primarily to loosen up / stretch out my body; but, it definitely has relaxations and focus benefits. Like Meg said, sitting in a room by yourself with nothing going other than soothing music (or an instructional dvd) really lets your mind wander off.

  4. March 5, 2008 6:53 pm

    Carol, you can retain your status as Grammar Nazi. (This is correct.) It’s an exception (to the punctuation outside parentheses rule).

  5. Andrew Stevens permalink
    March 5, 2008 8:30 pm

    The quotation mark thing depends. In America, commas and periods always go inside the quotation marks. If it’s part of the quote, exclamation points, question marks, etc. should be inside, e.g. He said, “That’s a big balloon!” However, if an exclamation point, question mark, or dash is punctuating the entire sentence, it goes outside, e.g. Did she just say, “go to your room”?

    The rules are different in England, Canada, and the Commonwealth. There, they follow logic for periods and commas as well. E.g. I like the play “The Tempest”. This is correct in Britain, but would be wrong in America where we’d put the period inside the quote. However, if it was punctuating the phrase inside the quotations, then it would go inside as well. Everybody agrees that He said, “Go west, young man.” is correct.

    Elizabeth is correct on the parentheses rule.

  6. sjean permalink*
    March 5, 2008 8:59 pm

    Lol, i got much more punctuation advice than anxiety advice! I guess it is easier when their is a clear answer. But as Andrew pointed out, even there the answer isn’t entirely clear.

  7. March 6, 2008 11:27 am

    One thing I find helpful, but is also really hard to do, is to meditate. Not for long or I would fall asleep, but to find a quiet place and concentrate on my breathing, even for 5 minutes calms me down. Also try say to empty you mind, I can’t do that. So I spend that time just thinking about my breathing.

  8. Lorri permalink
    March 6, 2008 3:26 pm

    Stress is my area of expertise. I have been so stressed out at times in the past that I would have a melt down in my car driving home. I have learned that you have to discover the destressers that work for you. I went to get a massage, didnt work I was so tense the entire time I could not relax enough to enjoy it. I like to walk, take nice long hot baths, while listening to classical music with a nice glass of wine and fruit. This helps me chill out alot. Do a variety of things until you discover what works best for you. Maybe start a journal, plant some flowers, read a book, cook a meal, there are so many ideas you could try. Just keep working on it until you find your niche, but most of all JUST BREATHE!

  9. March 6, 2008 7:28 pm

    I like to talk my stress out (i.e. vent). I’ve found that this doesn’t work unless you commit yourself to it 100%. No short little, “I’ve had a bad day” type deals. You need an in-depth conversation of a half-hour minimum with someone who is willing/obligated to care, and can handle your narration of just exactly how horrible your day/job/boyfriend/life is. They must be able to do this without trying to change the subject, or (even worse!) trying to turn the conversation around to how bad their own life is.

    I find that family works well for this purpose. Friends will do in a pinch, especially if you can trap them… invite them over, make them dinner… do something that will make it hard for them to say a polite goodbye. I’ve found that you have to be careful not to overuse friends though. For some reason they are less likely to remain friends if they suspect that you will be using them for stress relief on a consistent basis.

    Also, just a warning: while blogging/email/letters are a fine form of stress relief in their own right, they will not work for this particular method. There needs to be at the very least a phone conversation. Most ideal is face-to-face, where you can emphasize your points with wild gestures, and also grab onto people when they start to edge away. Having a shoulder to cry on is also handy.

    But in all seriousness, my unhelpful advice aside, I hope your job gets better as you settle in:)

  10. sjean permalink*
    March 6, 2008 10:14 pm

    Thanks for the tips everyone! Looks like yoga/meditation is something I can give another shot too….

    @shuchong – “nd also grab onto people when they start to edge away” Lol. Phone calls will have to do for family (too far away for in person) and the boyfriend will listen, unless of course, he is helping cause the stress! I am quite sure it will get better, but in the mean time, I’m trying to deal with this.

  11. CHB permalink
    March 7, 2008 5:48 am

    what helps me is reading a really “fluffy” but long book, like chick lit or true crime/mystery. I also enjoy watching a really sad movie and having a cry-fest during or after. I’m not a talker, so I also like to take a 1/2 hour and write stream-of-conscious about anything and everything that’s stressing me out – then throw the writing away! I think this works better if you’re physically writing, not typing. good luck!

  12. sabrina permalink
    March 7, 2008 7:11 am

    I’m not sure how helpful it’ll be for you, but when I’m really stressed out or anxious I do two things. First I make sure and pinpoint exactly what I’m stressed out about. (Sometimes I just get this intense anxiety and I don’t know from where!) Once I do this I usually figure out if there’s anything I can do to stop the feeling, and even just knowing where its coming from helps me feel a tiny bit better.
    2nd, I put one of my favorite CD’s into the stereo and sing at the top of my lungs. The louder the CD and the singing, the better. And make sure there’s no one around, lol. (Unless you have nothing to be ashamed of.)


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