Stress relief a la country music & dill pickles

In my last post I talked about my first day on the job, doing job training for developmentally delayed adults when I was 17 years old.  I learned a lot about expecting the unexpected there.  From helping an elfin older lady named Cookie do up her bra to customizing stress relief.

Stress.  It’s a killer, it’s a pain in the back, in the heart and about every other body part.

We all experience it.  Not all of us know how to manage it effectively though.

But I digress.  First let me tell you more about working with developmentally delayed adults.  The organization I was working with would receive items that needed to be assembled.  Think folding cardboard boxes and putting items inside in a certain order.

Easy right?  Not for the folks I was working with.  It was my job to break down the jobs into parts that each person was capable of.  It was not easy figuring out for example what Larry, who was some 6′ 8″ tall, with the understanding of a three year old, could manage.

Sometimes I got it right and the human assembly line folded, elastic-banded, sorted, assembled, stacked and packed away.

Sometimes I got it wrong and stress levels would rise.  Tempers would flare.  Tears would flow and I’d have to start over again, re-assigning and re-designing  while soothing hurt feelings.

One day I realized we all needed a break.  Something to relieve the stress.  I asked around and hit on pickles and country music.

Say what?  Yes, that’s right, for some reason this group loved country music and eating pickles.

So the next time a meltdown happened I cranked the music and we all danced around, shaking and shimmying, some to the rhythm of the music, others to the rhythm only they could hear.  After a few minutes calm was restored and we continued our work.

Other days I’d serve dill pickles.  Different method, same result.

Cost for this wellness plan?  Under 10 bucks.  Results?  Many and marvelous.

And you?  What simple, irreverent, unusual methods do you use to relieve stress?


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12 Responses to “Stress relief a la country music & dill pickles”

  1. Bill Ursel Says:
    January 27th, 2010 at 11:04 am

    A challenge always. The tried and true endorphin rush. I do a whack of cardio 5 x/wk. Playing with (and being toyed with) by two cats is a great source of peace. I assumed I was a dog person; I now know that I am being drawn to the dark side and the cats are gaining ground. Being able to simply slow down, taking a step aside . . .For me, much easier said than done at times.

  2. Julie Szabo Says:
    January 27th, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Getting out for a walk is a great stress reliever for me. Trouble is, a good walk takes a lot longer than busting a move to country tunes. I think I’m going to give your method a try!

  3. Lee-Anne Ragan Says:
    January 27th, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Thanks Julie. Country walks and country grooves – both are good in my estimation. Hmmm makes me think I should shake it on the dance floor this weekend.

  4. Doug Says:
    January 27th, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Stress to me is like an onion – many layers, all which in one way or another make you cry (literally or figuratively) when pealed.

    The most basic first layer is summed up with me saying “I’m stressed”. This is usually is followed by me feeling the right to exhibit any of a range of negative emotions – grumpy, sad etc.

    The next layer is often my immediate search for instant gratification — looking for all those things that are bad for me — some may smoke, i eat potato chips. Finding solace in that salty greasy yumminess, through which I get a good feeling for about as long as it takes me to consume the bag.

    The next layer is more pervasive, its that sooty grimy layer that happens to my windshield when driving in heavy traffic in cities like Nairobi or Mexico City – everything I see becomes smokey, tinged in gray and black.

    My solution is by flipping the world on its head – looking to do the opposite of what I know i should do – kinda like flipping the bird to whomever/whatever is causing me the stress. If I am feeling angry, I force myself to be forgiving; if i feel sad, i push myself to feel happy; if the windshield is hard to see through, i roll down the car door window and stick my head out. My philosophy, I guess, is that I refuse to give in and let someone/thing else determine my moods or my life.

    and yet … I still eat the potato chips … I am not perfect i guess!

  5. Lee-Anne Ragan Says:
    January 27th, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Great in-depth descriptions. Funny how awareness doesn’t always bring about the right action (in the case of the potato chips) and it’s a great start. Here’s to hanging out the window with empty bag in hand.

  6. Lee-Anne Ragan Says:
    January 27th, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Cats huh. I relate to the cardio rush. I have to admit that I’m much, much, every so much more likely to do and like my cardio if my IPod shuffle is cranking great tunes into my ears. I work harder and enjoy it more.

  7. Collen Cowling Says:
    February 23rd, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    To start, allow me to point out that your internet site is fantastic. I love the theme that you have. It was very easy on the eyes. Appreciate your article too. Definitely subscribed to your feed to make sure I won’t be missing out on any updates. Excellent job! Toast to a productive business

  8. Lee-Anne Ragan Says:
    February 24th, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Thanks- that’s very kind. Glad you’re finding it helpful. Keep reading and I’ll keep writing.

  9. Will Mefferd Says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 8:30 am

    I am brazillian and actually have 2 internet business, and answering e-mails take me at least 2 hour per day! I can’t continue with this anymore. But, I don’t know someone that is able to answer the same way I do, so I wonder the day I will can get a trip without headaches.

  10. Lee-Anne Ragan Says:
    April 6th, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    Check out what Tim Ferris says in his book Four Hour Work Week. He’s got a great section on conquering emails. Crazy Busy by Dr Hallowell is also a great book; check out the review I wrote on his book. I was just in Brazil and loved it; would return in a flash. Check out my posts that I wrote while in Brazil if you’re interested.

  11. William Batter Says:
    April 7th, 2010 at 1:50 am

    Hello. Great job. I did not expect this on a Wednesday. This is a great story. Thanks!

  12. Esteban Wernex Says:
    April 21st, 2010 at 12:38 am

    Great advice and very true. One of the most important things bloggers, or any business, can do is try not to give up. Even when times are tough it’s important to be there for your readers and customers because they will remember you in a positive light once things get better and you will be rewarded for your efforts.

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