Things to do when you’re stressed out and “on a budget”

by brandonnkelly

As is usually the case, life happens to all of us. Life, I call him Mark (which is my least favorite name, probably because it ends with a K that strikes the back of my throat – an area only engaged on the rare occasion that I find myself puking, Mark).

When Mark happens and you’re on a budget which is just a fancy way of saying you’re broke, I have some ideas that might relieve some of the tweak from your britches.

1)      Call that funny friend. We all have a funny friend, sometimes it may just be your friend who drinks too much and is generally always a little buzzed, but either way, they are funny. Sometimes they are funny without trying to be. Either way, it’s a chance for a quick chuckle, which you’ll notice didn’t cost you a dime. Some may feel that to better manage Mark, you must find someone having a worse time of it and then leave the call feeling relieved, this will not help and frankly is an amateur mistake. When you call a Debbie Downer, you will get sucked into their Markness and usually stuck on the phone for at least 40 minutes hearing about how bad their Mark is. DO NOT CALL DEBBIE, call the drunk!

2)      IF you have a job and it’s a Monday or a Friday, call in sick. Sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. But if you call in sick, don’t end up in the following places:

  1. On the local news, even just walking by one of those reporters could get you fired as you will no doubt end up on the evening news and will be spotted by your least favorite co-worker and then the jig is up.
  2. DON’T go to your favorite Thai lunch spot, because that would be near your job dumbass.
  3. Don’t get arrested. That’s more a general don’t but also applies here.

3)      If you are within two hours of a coastline, go to the beach. Nothing can enhance your mood like the ocean and beyond gas money to get there, it’s free! If you are landlocked find a state park, pack provisions and go for a walk – I hate to call them hikes because that just sounds too intense. Bring a book and just sit outside and let the sun give you free vitamin D.

4)      If it’s winter and it’s too cold to go outside OR if you hate it outside go to the movies (sneak in your own popcorn, drink and candy. If there’s nothing playing that you want to see – which is usually the case – check to see if your community is sponsoring any free concerts. If they are not, check in with a local university to see if they have any plays or concerts going on and while they may not be professional quality, free beats perfection any day. If nothing is going on where you live, drive to someplace that has something going on, even just a poetry reading – which should be free, because it just should be.

5)      While you’re out, pick up some fresh vegetables and maybe an ingredient that you aren’t overly familiar with, maybe a new spice. Try to make a new dish one that is unfamiliar to you. There are thousands of free recipes online to choose from.

6)      When you come home, put on some music from a different time period or culture. Make it a theme night. Since you can’t jet off to Rome, put on some Italian opera music and make an Italian dish from scratch.

7)      Change the lighting around in your house, there’s nothing more renewing than entering a new space, so refresh your surroundings. Move things around, change your comforter cover and maybe light some candles.

8)       I think the TV should be completely off limits. It’s a distraction and it can ruin the experience and it’s also a part of many people’s daily routine and since this is supposed to be a sort of mental vacation, turn the tube off.

9)      IF you have a bathtub run the water, put some bubbles in there, if you’re a dude, bubbles are ok for you too. Soak. Bring your music into the bathroom with you but don’t put the radio directly over your bathtub or else you might end up on a permanent vacation.

10)   If you have no bathtub, put on some super relaxing music and lay on your back in a room that you do not use very often. Focus on your breathing and imagining the life that you want. Don’t limit yourself. Seriously, take your mind on a journey. Imaging living in the place you will feel most content, perhaps it’s a little fishing town in Spain, maybe Detroit, probably not Detroit, wherever it is, put yourself there. Imagine feeling excited to slap your feet down on the floor first thing in the morning and going off to do the thing that most energizes you. What is that thing? Imagine being surrounded by people that bring positivity to your life and do not drain your resources. I am basically asking you to craft a new Mark for yourself. When you are done. Write down what you saw. Put this on your refrigerator and begin to build a plan to get there.

11)   Once you’ve done that and your back is sufficiently stiff, get your ass to bed since you can’t call in sick two days in row!

The whole point of this de-tweaking plan is to get you out of your head and into a different space. Once the location has changed then it’s important to take a look at what’s going on in your head, peeling back the layers to determine what you want. Chances are you are tweaked because you are not living the life you want. People tend to use vacations as a tool to achieve this, but in a difficult economy many, many people cannot afford to take the time off to take a vacation, or simply don’t have the disposable income to do so. What I’ve offered above is a way to game the system and take a free vacation, if only for the day. Good luck.