Facing Stress Without An Eraser

I have had a trying couple of weeks. That is, I am going through a rough patch. Nothing evil or insurmountable. But annoying. Stressful.

I’m going through a rough patch that might cause a person to end the day with a well-deserved adult beverage. Or a sleeve of Donettes from the 7-Eleven down the street, chased with a wild cherry Slurpee. Or at least a Diet Coke and some pretzels. These things would erase my stress for a while.

For me, avoiding alcohol and drugs is a habit that can certainly be tried, if not exactly tested by the sort of scrape through gravel that my days have been lately. The world’s edges can be awful jagged. But I’m home right now as I write this. Chilling. If not high on life at the moment, not flattened by it either.

But to navigate stress without sugar and wheat? My clean eating habit means no white powdery Donettes, which were my go-to, emergency bumper against getting too annoyed, anxious, and alarmed to do things.

So many daily functions of my life are easier now in my third month of healthy eating. Getting dressed takes two seconds, as opposed to the disheartening slog it used to be. My makeup takes two seconds because my skin is clear. I’m healthy, impervious to the cold and flu going around work, gliding up and down the stairs to my classroom like a sylph in Dansk shoes.

Someone once told me that sweets don’t help a person solve her problems because sugar only makes them worse. Okay. But no, though. Sugar does help me solve my problems. Three Donettes of the sleeve in, and I’m calmer, happier, more pleasant to live with. I’ve got the oomph for my chores. By the end, my mouth burns pleasantly from the silica-like powdered joy. I’m reminded that there is comfort in this unforgiving world, and it is quick and round and wants me to be happy. For a tiny while, my stress feels erased.

In case you were wondering, Chia seeds and carrot sticks do not have the same effects.

I am a person sitting on a pile of privilege. Life is good for me, even at its most difficult. But I’m still a person who gets stressed out, lonely, and fed up. One reason I turn to sugar is because it works well in smoothing over unpleasant feelings. It’s difficult to avoid treats when I’m feeling tricked.

If you, like me, are avoiding a food that is unhealthy for your system, then you know that stress is a trigger for relapse. Here is what I am doing these days instead of relapse:

  •  eating enough protein, nuts, and vegetables to not get legitimately hungry, even if it means my weight loss goals are stalled.
  • drinking a lot of water.
  • looking at Pinterest way more than is strictly necessary
  • rereading books I already know I like
  • watching The Walking Dead, Sons of Anarchy, and other violent terrible shows on Netflix because those people’s problems are so much worse than mine that I find them soothing.
  • cleaning my house (it helps, I swear)

You might add yoga, baths, meditation, going to the gym after work. Prayer, walks, Chia seeds, carrots sticks, glasses of water, darning your socks. Those are all good ideas too, but none are as effective as quickly and with as much loving kindness as a sleeve of white powdered Donettes from the 7-Eleven.

I have to go now. I have to drink water, make salad, and go to bed early. I’m not going to feel much better tonight, but at least I know that tomorrow I won’t wake up with regret, a sore stomach, and no pants that fit me. At least I know that tomorrow has a chance of being an easier day.  Donettes don’t even try to promise that.

Journal Topics:

  1. List your soft addictions. Which ones have a detrimental effect on you? Which ones are truly harmless?
  2. What is your family history with cocktails and drinking? What role does alcohol play in your life?
  3. Plan your ideal spa week. This isn’t really on topic with today’s post, but it’s something I like to think about when I’m stressed. I look up awesome spas online that I can’t afford and plan imaginary days for myself of massage and chakra realignment.
  4. List the bad effects you suffer when you partake in one of your detrimental addictions.
  5. What does the healthiest version of yourself do instead of the sugar or the drinking or the eating or the. . . . . .?





One Comment

  1. Great post! Made me stop & think.😊
    Especially loved the journal prompts.


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