Aloha Friday: Overwhelmed

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’ve got about 10 hours worth of work to do and only 3 hours to do it in.  I come home from work, make dinner, spend a small amount of time with the kids, and get them into bed.  Then, I’ve got about 3 hours to get everything else done.  By “everything else”, I mean clean up from dinner, work on my blog post, and work on the various freelance projects I have to complete.  Add in a kid (or 2) waking up as I’m actually heading to be and I’ve gotten to sleep at about 1am every night this week.  It wouldn’t be so bad if I could sleep in, but B has this annoying habit of getting me up in the morning so I can go to my day job.  Sheesh!

There’s a mountain of things I’d like to do.  FollowerHQ needs some improvements, I’d like to read up on coding applications for Android devices, I’ve got my tie clip project, I still want to woke out a system to stream movies from our computer to our TV, and more.  This pile keeps calling to me, but I need to push it off.  The things I *have* to do keep draining time from the things I *want* to do.  I feel like I’m running on a treadmill at top speed and still slowly falling behind.  In short, I’m feeling overwhelmed and like I’m headed for a burnout.

My Aloha Friday question for today is: What do you do when you feel overwhelmed?

P.S. If you haven’t already, try out my Twitter applications: FollowerHQ and Rout.

Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this fun for Friday. Please be sure to head over to her blog to say hello and sign the linky there if you are participating.

Aloha Friday by Kailani at An Island Life

Aloha #151

Aloha Friday: Stress Relief

A few days ago, I felt like I was at the end of my rope.  So many stressful events happened one after another, pulling me in so many different directions that I just couldn’t take it anymore.  All I wanted to do was find a dark corner and hide from the world.  About the only thing that I felt like doing was playing Lego Batman on the Nintendo DS.

Last August, I wrote about NHL’s and my gaming addiction.  Since then, we’ve moved from Lego Harry Potter to Lego Indiana Jones and from that to Lego Batman.  I really like that Lego Batman lets you play in "Villain Mode" to help further their evil schemes… But more on that when I get around to reviewing the game.

I’ve found that, when I get stressed like this, I don’t function well.  All of my motivation to do that tasks that I need to do disappears.  Making myself complete them seems as hard as scaling a mountain.

Instead, I need escape from the situation.  Since I don’t have any friends locally, I can’t just head out with the guys.  Cooking is sometimes a stress reliever, but then I need to clean up from the cooking which adds more stress.  Watching TV will sometimes suffice, but I like being actively involved and feeling like I’m accomplishing something.

Enter video games.

Lego Batman isn’t so difficult that I’ll get frustrated by it.  And yet, it isn’t so simple that I feel like I’m not surmounting a challenge.  I can play it for a bit, allow my mind to forget all of my stressful thoughts for a time and feel like I’ve accomplished something.

My Aloha Friday question for today is: What do you do when you’re stressed?

P.S. If you haven’t already, try out my Twitter applications: FollowerHQ and Rout.

Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this fun for Friday. Please be sure to head over to her blog to say hello and sign the linky there if you are participating.

Aloha Friday by Kailani at An Island Life

Aloha #142

The No Blog Post Post

There will be no blog post today.

Ok, there’s this one.  So I guess there *is* a blog post today.  But this one doesn’t count.

There’s been a lot of stress in my life recently.  I’ve been feeling like I need to be running at top speed 100% of the time just to keep from losing ground.  Check that.  I run at top speed 100% of the time and *STILL* lose ground.  What doesn’t help is that, at times of extreme stress like this, my brain reacts by shutting down.  I’ll need some serious decompression.  I’m craving it right now.

So, as I write this the night before you are reading it, I’m not feeling motivated to write a proper blog post.  Rather than rooting through photos to pull together an image-laden blog post followed by a 1am bedtime, I’m going to let my mind vegetate a bit.  I’m going to load up Lego Batman on the Nintendo DS and break some blocks.  (Surprising how therapeutic smashing virtual scenery is.)  Then, I’ll try to get to bed early.

Hopefully, this combination will let me release some stress so my brain will unfreeze and I can blog properly again.

Update: As I tried to post this, I encountered server problems. Forget the DS, I’m going right to bed!

How do you react to too much stress?


As I type this (the night before the post goes live), I’m very stressed.  I’m not going to go into the cause, as that is work-related and I don’t discuss work items on my blog.  Suffice it to say that I’m stressed out and when I’m stressed out, my back spasms.

Personally, I could do with a nice, long massage.  Sadly, B has problems with her wrists so pushing hard on my back will just wind up with my back hurting slightly less and her wrists hurting much more.  Alternatively, I could use a heating pad on my back, but they don’t tend to stay in place.  In the past, a nice long bath in a dark room worked wonders as well.

Back in high school and college, I learned a technique for relaxation that I used to use quite a bit: self hypnosis.  Now, hypnosis has a mythos built around it.  People think “hypnotism” and think of a person being compelled to do weird things.  There are basically one rule of hypnotism: It’s voluntary.  You can’t be hypnotized if you don’t want to be and you can’t be hypnotized to do something you don’t want to do.

Since it’s a voluntary state, if you know just the right technique, you can actually hypnotize yourself.  I’ve achieved a self-induced state of hypnosis a few times.  It’s extremely relaxing.  Kind of like being deep asleep yet still aware of everything.

My first step is to close my eyes and calm my mind.  I push aside all worries and thoughts.  Then, I begin purposefully breathing in and out slowly.  I recite “one” in my head with each breath as something to focus my mind on (otherwise those pushed-aside thoughts creep back in).  As I continue doing this, I get more and more relaxed.

Have you ever been hypnotized or tried self-hypnosis?

I might try a few of my relaxation techniques tonight to see if I can’t unknot these spasming back muscles.

A Day Off and Expenses Pile On

As B wrote about yesterday, we’re going to be a bit “selfish” and go on a vacation that’s just for us.  It’s quite overdue.  While being a parent is important, it shouldn’t be your entire identity.  If you pursue being a parent to such a degree that you forget about being a couple with your spouse or being an individual, you’ll wake up one day to find your marriage in shambles and/or your life without any purpose (aside from your kids).  We don’t want our lives to head down this path, so we’re going to make time for us.

Sometimes, though, people just need time to themselves to decompress.  In summers past, B has either worked (in which case NHL was in daycare) or NHL got sent to a summer camp for some portion of the day.  This year, for a variety of reasons, NHL and JSL were with B every day… all day, every day.  By the end of some days, I think B would have welcomed the arrival of men in white coats coming to bring her to a nice, padded room.

Saturday, B broke down.  The boys (as seems to happen far too frequently) were being pains and she couldn’t take anymore.  We discussed matters and I offered to take the boys out for the day on Sunday.  (It was too late to take them out that day and NHL was being sent to him room so taking him out would be rewarding bad behavior.  Besides, Saturday is Shabbat and I don’t drive that day.)

Sunday, I got the boys ready and out we went.  We ran a few errands, did some grocery shopping and went out to lunch.  Meanwhile, B stayed home and did laundry.  No, this wasn’t an adventure out of the house, but it was quiet.  The bicker-free time helped her unwind and de-stress.

Of course, the stress levels weren’t helped by the universe sending more expenses our way.  The new HD TV is working fine and a coworker managed to repair my laptop for free, but this past week three new expenses cropped up.  First, B’s car needed some expensive (but necessary) repairs.  Then, on Friday, I went to mow the lawn.  I pulled the starter cord (which has been broken for a year now, but I’ve jury-rigged to avoid repair costs) and nothing happened.  The motor revved, but didn’t “catch” and start up.

I tried a few more times, priming the engine more, adding more gas.  Nothing seemed to help.  I sighed and put the mower away thinking we’d need to spend about $200 on a new mower.  (This one is just 7 years old.)  Luckily, I was able to fix it yesterday after having purchased a new spark plug (and spark plug wrench) for about $7.50.  Thank you, Sears!

Then, Sunday morning, as I was making breakfast, our microwave went.  It didn’t just stop working though, it began emitting blue lightning inside of it.  No, we didn’t put any metal inside.  It was sparking all on it’s own.  Needless to say, we shut it off and unplugged it.  Thankfully, B’s parents have a microwave they can give us. 

We dodged those last two expenses, but at times it seems like the Universe keeps sending stress our way just as we manage to shed the old stress.  That Disney vacation can’t get here soon enough.

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