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Old 11-14-2008, 02:30 PM   #1
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Default How Do you Deal with Stress?

I would appreciate suggestions on how to cope with stress without turning to food.

For the past 15 years, when things get very stressful (not just daily stress, but an "event" of some sort... medical crisis, divorce, deaths, money problems) I always comforted myself with food. I get that scared, anxious, upset feeling and I quell it by eating. Now that I am not doing that anymore, I am struggling with how to deal with the stress.

Seems like I have some kind of big crisis every couple of months (I guess everyone has them), and today my stress level quickly and unexpectedly skyrocketed. It's a compound problem: basically my ex is going to get visitation with the kids, and they all will likely have to fly 2000 miles away and be gone for Christmas. And I have to pay half the fares. And I do not have the funds, and my husband is estranged from me and refuses to give me any monetary help on this. So I am alone, with stress from my ex AND my husband and feeling like no one is on my side. I am scared and upset and don't want to celebrate Christmas with just my youngest child, and all the others gone away. They have never gone to visit him before.

Anyway the exact issue isn't really the point... the point is, I have a lot of upset feelings right now and I need to figure out what to do instead of stuffing my face. The constructive thing I am doing is continuing to try and find a counselor to talk to about this stuff, but so far no luck finding anyone I can afford. I thought there would be free counseling somewhere, but apparently it is harder to get than I thought.

So until I find a counselor... what do you do to deal with major stress without eating?
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Last edited by Lyn2007; 11-14-2008 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 11-14-2008, 03:37 PM   #2
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Hey Lyn,

I don't belong to this little group of the website but I saw the new posts and this caught my eye... I have been doing alot of reading and searching for stress relief. I am also a sugar addict and am doing Kathleen DesMaisons Radiant Recovery program... My point is, that I know what you mean... I have a Husband with brain cancer...a daughter that is 17...my Dad had a tumor removed from his stomach a few months ago and I am living thousands of miles away from my extended family...I know stress...we are old friends... Maybe I am looking at things too simply...but you say that your ex is going to get visitation for the holidays and you have to put up half the money. Why? If you are working, but physically don't have that kind of money what can they do? If you had the money and just wouldn't pony up that is one thing, but if you are struggling and just plain don't have it I just don't know what they could do. He would then have a couple of choices...he could pay for the rest of the fare...or come to them...or whatever... What are the consequences of not being able to pay the other half? Can you talk to the court about your situation? Forgive me if I am missing some huge thing, I haven't ever had to deal with the horror of a divorce/custody issue and am totally clueless about some stuff...
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Old 11-14-2008, 03:43 PM   #3
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A couple things I've done when stressed that helped:

Throw on some of your fav tunes and clean your house.

Play some of your fav tunes and just sing along. If you can't get into it, PRETEND you're into it, it usually makes me actually get into it.

Yoga or learn how to meditate
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Old 11-14-2008, 03:47 PM   #4
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Ravengirl,

Thanks for the Radiant Recovery info. I think I am a sugar addict too. I will look into that.

As for the cost, it's just the law. State law says we each have to pay half of any visitation. I have a lawyer. If I don't pay I will be in contempt of court, which would not be a good thing as we hammer out the rest of the visitation agreement. I could also go to jail for that or be fined but technically I don't think it would come to that... basically, I am staying home with my toddler right now. I worked all my life and when I had her she had major medical issues and my husband agreed I should stay home and take care of her, and he is still paying the bills to finance that, but won't pay anything towards the visitation. I am going to have to either put her in daycare and work or (more likely) go through everything I own and start selling things off to pay for the visitation. I know a lot of women have to work... I did for years. But I had really hoped to be home with my last child until she is in preschool next fall.

Anyway it's just stressing me out trying to figure everything out right now...
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Old 11-14-2008, 03:50 PM   #5
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Ace,

the cleaning is a great idea. It gets my mind off things, accomplishes something important, and burns calories!

I have always wanted to learn to meditate. Anyone have any CD's or DVD's suggestions that are a good way to learn?
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Old 11-14-2008, 03:53 PM   #6
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I totally believe in the Radiant Recovery - and her books are great. Getting off sugar was a big step for me. Although, I have found a comfortable level to have it back in my life now.

Anyway, regarding ways to avoid stress eating.

- Deep, rhythmic breathing. Sounds corny, but it really helps. Blowing the air out hard also helps release tension.
- A good ***** and rant session. Then be done with it (key point).
- Exercise - always helps.
- Pillow beating. You might be surprised at how good it feels to just wail on a few pillows, and you can't hurt yourself
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Old 11-14-2008, 04:04 PM   #7
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I quickly googled these two sites, I havn't looked through them or anything but I'm sure you could find out how to do it for free online somewhere. If you find a site that tells you to pay, don't because it might be a scam, but any info for free online would be helpful
http://www.learn-to-meditate.com/
http://www.meditationiseasy.com/
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Old 11-14-2008, 04:06 PM   #8
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You can also try amazon.ca or .com for cd's and dvd's on meditation

Last edited by Beautiful Ace; 11-14-2008 at 04:07 PM.
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Old 11-14-2008, 04:34 PM   #9
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Thank you!!

BTW, short term, what I did to cope so far today:
Took my toddler out for a nice walk in the cool fall chill and crunched leaves under our shoes;
Came home, made a relaxing cup of pumpkin spice tea and crunched on a Kashi granola bar (something about crunching hard food is tension relieving. I used to eat chips but these are healthy, crunchier, and fit into my daily plan... although, hm, I am still "using" food...)
Planning on an exercise session on the bike later and going to lift weights very shortly.
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Old 11-14-2008, 04:37 PM   #10
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Exercise is an excellent way to relieve stress (so i heard). Plus it releases a chemical in our brains that supposedly makes us happier:P
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Old 11-14-2008, 04:38 PM   #11
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and congrats on staying away from the chips
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Old 11-14-2008, 04:42 PM   #12
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Honestly one of the things I do is hit the gym. Even if I don't want to ... I've found that I can get on the elliptical, put on my headphones, and just go. There have been plenty of days where I've spent 45 minutes on the elliptical crying (and hoping everyone else just thought it was sweat) and felt SO much better after.

Or if I'm angry, throwing around weights makes me feel better. I can squat and lift and push and work out my rage on inanimate objects.

Every once in a while it doesn't work, but most of the time if I do it, I feel better.

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Old 11-14-2008, 10:27 PM   #13
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As for counseling it's really hard to find free counseling but here are a couple of ideas:

Call any university within reasonable driving distance and ask them if they have a counseling program. If they do, ask to be connected to that department (it's not always in the psychology department). Then ask them if they offer or know of free counseling. Counseling programs often recruit clients from the community for graduate students to work with as part of their counseling requirements. Call both private and public schools.

I don't know what your religious beliefs are but often a local church might be able to offer some counseling or a small support group that might help. Some churches (some, not all) try hard to make some of their groups open to the community and limit any proseltizing. (sp?) Churches often look for ways to use their buildings to benefit the community as their way of giving back. If you are concerned about being beaten over the head with a Bible speak with the pastor about it - he/she might be able to help you find a group that is comfortable for you. Also pastors often are plugged into other resources in their communities.
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Old 11-14-2008, 11:07 PM   #14
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Now that I run I find that to be a major stress reliever.
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Old 11-14-2008, 11:08 PM   #15
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Ahhh...I see... Wow...that situation is just totally unfair...(I know, that doesn't help much does it?) I really don't know what advice to offer about that...I do care though...does that help?

Moving on to non food stress relievers! I have done the whole food use thing my whole life too, believe me I get it...totally! Radiant Recovery has helped me immensely so it might help you too... All the other smart Chickies around here have great ideas as well...exercise is wonderful...music is really good, especially if you have a favorite and can use headphones to blank everything else out. I have discovered Yoga and Meditation as well and they are wonderful...I have a beautiful bodhi seed mala bracelet that keeps me focused if I remember to look at it and touch it if I get upset. Also, I got really upset the other day and felt that binge urge...instead...I stopped...focused on my breath and made some herbal licorice tea...when I sat down with it I looked at it, smelled it, and tasted every nuance of the flavor. It is a huge mug that I use...easily 30 oz...(Ironically enough it says I love my bad *** attitude! It is a local brand of coffee Bad *** coffee...lol) by the time I finished it A) I was calmer and B) I was full and warm!!! I can't tell you how proud I was at that accomplishment...truly...I think it was the first time I was able to head off a full blown binge attack! Good luck Chickie...and I hope everything works out...

Raven
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