Today did not go as planned.

I was hoping to submit a paper that I’d been working on all week in the afternoon so that I would have the rest of the day to move on to other assignments and relax. Seeing as some things take a lot longer than expected, I found myself on the bottom floor of the business school at 9:30p.m. still working on the paper. I was pissed.

I was frustrated that I couldn’t go out with my friends to watch “the game” (I have no idea who was playing in this game, but I still wanted to go to hang out and have a beer), I was angry that I was sitting and staring at my laptop for the entire day and I was really mad that I had not yet had dinner. Food does these things to me.

When I finally completed the paper I didn’t feel relieved. Instead I felt stressed thinking about all of the things I didn’t get to do and all of the things I needed to do before I went to sleep. Moments like this can either make me really productive, or really upset so I decided to take all of my energy and just move.

I knew the gym was closing at 10:30p.m., so I’d only have a half hour to go but I didn’t care. I wasn’t going to burn off the copious calories that I consumed last night at a Thanksgiving dinner party (that’s why I went to the gym yesterday), and I wasn’t going to cross tonight’s workout off of my fitness schedule (I couldn’t anyway because I was supposed to have done an upper body workout tonight). I went to clear my head for 30 minutes, and sometimes that’s what going to the gym needs to be about.

I went on the elliptical for 20 minutes. I watched “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” I did yoga poses to stretch for 10 minutes. I walked home. I showered. I finally ate dinner: whole wheat mushroom ravioli with leftover spinach, mushrooms, zucchini and crushed tomatoes.

I’ve learned that exercise, however efficient or not, is the most effective way for me to relieve stress. Part of my becoming a Zumba instructor was my intent to keep dancing and working out while helping others do the same. “Stressercise,” my new-found name for exercising to relieve stress, always makes me feel better at its end because when I’m working out I’m not thinking about work.

I hope that you all will take some time tonight to think about how you can effectively relieve stress; I’m sure it will leave many a cookie dough tub unopened if you do.


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