Laugh Your Way to Lower Stress

Archive for December, 2012

Happy Anniversary

Today is the 34th anniversary of my first wedding day. Break out the champagne! I can’t remember where I’ve parked or my whether my best friend has pierced ears, but this I remember.

I was just 22. He was 21 but would turn 22 the next day, so you don’t think I robbed the cradle (I waited for marriage #2 to do that). We had dated since my senior year, his junior, of high school and by the time we stood in front of the Justice of the Peace in that park in Abilene, Texas and said “I do,” we both had an inkling that we should run away screaming instead. There were so many signs.

I’d wanted a big wedding; he didn’t want to spend any money, so instead we attended his best friend’s big church wedding earlier that day and then headed out to a local park to get hitched. I guess he figured I got to be part of a big wedding on my wedding day, so I should be happy. I do not advise any grooms to attempt this approach–your bride will definitely remember it and hold it over you for a very long time.

I wore a dress that I bought for the occasion but with the idea that I could also wear it to work. It was the color of the sky that cloudy afternoon. Instead of a bouquet, I wore some dead flowers in my hair that I had saved from a Renaissance Fair in summer. Not to mention that I was still recovering from surgery to repair a deviated septum and my usually pasty face was highlighted by two not-quite invisible black eyes. Needless to say, I was a stunning bride!

Oh, a lets not forget the ring. It was tiny and lovely. I would know because I bought it for myself.

I was young and didn’t know now what I know then — if it scares the holy tar out of you, you shouldn’t oughtta marry it. That we managed to stay together for 10 years was primarily because I took up marathon running and was usually 13.1 miles away from home.

In honor of that anniversary, I will celebrate today not by drinking (I’m a cheap drink and would let me have my way with myself), but by paying homage to how much I have learned since then and I would never make a mistake like that again. I’d at least buy a new dress and fresh flowers. Wait, I mean, I would wear comfortable shoes so I could Image

run away screaming if the occasion called for it.

Don’t Pour Some Sugar on Me

If you had to pick the worst time of the year to try to kick the sugar habit, you just couldn’t beat the holiday season, or as it’s known in some circles, “Diabetes Month.”

I’ve been a sugar addict my entire life, but I’ve only come clean about my problem in the past 12 months. I even tried to wean myself from the drug earlier in the year, but it was before the election and I found myself so woozy, I was afraid I might accidentally vote Republican. So I nixed the sugar-free diet.

Now I’m trying again. So far, I’ve turned down fudge, gingerbread cookies, and a double salted caramel latte with amaretto. That last one took every ounce of strength I had. It helped that I had a friend handcuff my hands behind me. I would have had to have a very long straw to sip down that delicious goodness. Don’t think I didn’t Google “long straws.”

My blood sugar is still relatively low and I don’t have any real symptoms of sugar overload–well, except for the fact that hummingbirds buzz me every time I go outside because my pores ooze sweetness. But I know that I can’t keep eating cookies and cakes and pies and chocolate and did I mention cookies without suffering some kind of consequences.

So far I’ve gone two and a half days without eating any processed food with more than 3 grams  of sugar listed on the label (have you read your spaghetti sauce lately?)  I do allow myself to eat fruits and veggies that are sweet, so my kitchen compost is littered with banana peels and carrot peelings. I know this makes me a cheater in the minds of sugar ascetics, but I’m okay with that. I’ve always felt that if you set your standards low, you’ll be happier with your life.

I know that I’ll cave in soon and eat someone’s homemade holiday goodies, but so far so good. The hummingbirds and I are both happy.Image


It’s a Woman Thing

After teaching humor as a stress management tool for twenty years now (if anyone asks, I’ll say I started in kindergarten), it occurs to me just how much stress we women create for ourselves by our stupid fashion choices. It’s almost as if many of us get up in the morning and run through this checklist: Feet hurt? Check! Fabric riding up my butt? Check! Body shaper that squeezes me two sizes too small and prevents me from taking anything except shallow breaths? Check? Underwire bra bruising my ribs? Check! Ripping hair from my eyebrows and nether regions? Scheduled! Okay, ready to face the day.

Why is it that everything that supposedly makes us look female causes pain?

Last year on the DisneyLand episode of Modern Family, Gloria walks around the theme park in stiletto heels despite being miserable. Her husband Jay breaks down and buys her a pair of fuzzy slippers and asks her if perhaps the reason she gets very angry from time to time is because she’s always wearing uncomfortable shoes.

When I lead play sessions at conferences, the first thing I do is invite everyone to take off their shoes and the women are usually thrilled to do so. I used to wear high heels when I performed on stage and the whole time I was up there, part of my brain was thinking, “I can’t wait to get out of these heels and into my Danskos.”  If these Danish-designed (originally, now they’re made all over the place) clogs are any indication, I’m thinking Denmark must have some of most relaxed women on the planet. In fact, according to a report on 60 minutes, the Danes are as a whole happier than most other countries. I’m sure it’s the comfy shoes and the calmer women.

If you’re wondering how you can reduce holiday stress this year, ditch the uncomfortable clothing. Give the 6″ stiletto heels back to the strippers. Use your thong panties to stake up your tomatoes or as an eye patch on Talk Like a Pirate Day. Put on your Snuggie (maybe you can embroider a snowman on it for the season) or PajamaJeans and take a few deep breaths. Once you stop caring about your muffin top, a little holiday shopping and decorating won’t faze you at all.