Stress is a funny thing: It affects different people in as many different ways as there are sources of stress. Many people indulge in lousy food choices or various alternate behaviors to negate their stress--even if just for a moment. Chocolate, anyone? Other people can't eat (oh, to be one of those people!) when under the gun. Some get testy and take out their stress on others. One way or another, most of us engage in stress-reduction behaviors that really aren't so great for us, even though we all know there are healthier methods for stress reduction out there such as exercise. And who can blame us? I mean which scenario brings about temporary stress relief faster:
1) getting dressed for the gym, driving to the gym, puttering in the locker room, hitting the elliptical, showering, etc, driving home...
2) an easily scooped mouthful of moist, decadent chocolate cake from Magnolia Bakery in NYC that is coated in the most vanilla-iest frosting imaginable, made from real ingredients that have an amazing texture and linger on your taste buds, begging you to have more, more, more....
Ooops! Sort of gave myself away there, didn't I? Okay, the truth is this: My wonderful husband brought home a Valentine's Day cake from Magnolia on the 13th. It's a big cake. It's sitting in a glass cake holder on my dining room table. It calls to me. It mocks me. It dares me to notice that it's still there. It knows I'm in writing mode for the sequel to Treehugger. It knows that while I looove writing it, I do come across moments of minor writer's block, and that causes me stress. It also knows that I haven't gotten to the gym in a week and half. It's an evil cake in that it knows I can have my cake and certainly will eat it, too. After all, not being able to do so is a stupid adage that makes little sense. Seriously, if you have not been to NYC, Magnolia is another reason to go. After all, "stressed" is "desserts" backwards.
Luckily, I do have a healthier, albeit time-consuming stress-reducer when hubby isn't bringing home cakes to die for, and I share this one with many other writers: reading. Not just any reading, either. I mean I have so many things I have to read for various reasons that just reading anything won't do. I need to read works that give me an escape of some sort. Currently, I'm reading "Day of Honey" by Annia Ciezadlo, which is a memoir about food (yep, there's that food thing again) during war. It might not sound like a light read, and it isn't--but it is intriguing, and the descriptions of interesting meals is nothing short of a real mouth-watering treat.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is my other escape at the moment. Again, not light and certainly not cheerful, but the trilogy is a real page turner. I'm on Book Three: Mockingjay, and I tend to sneak 10-minutes breaks from life here and there to read it. I have found that only books that beg me to turn the next page will cause me to sneak away from obligations. Perhaps dinner will wind up on the table late or I might postpone finishing the writing of a chapter, but sneaking off to read is lot more honorable than that walk past the cake on the dining room table. And, admittedly, that walk is clearly pre-meditated since--oh, look at that!--there's a fork in my hand! The only trouble is, whenever I dip into The Hunger Games, I think of food (hunger=food) which can translate into that premeditated walk past the table. If anyone would like to come on over and eat that last quarter, I'd really appreciate it!
What's your instant stress fix? Oh, and what are your hopes for the Hunger Games movie adaptation due out next month? I'm thinking Jennifer Lawrence is going to be amazing as Katniss.