{Business Tips} De-stress While Cultivating Quirky Joy

If you’ve been following EcoEtsy’s Business Tips, you’ve seen some great posts lately about getting your shop ready for holiday shopping.

chalkstepsNow that holiday shopping is in full swing, and you’re either crazy-busy or stressed because you’re not, it’s time to remember to take care of your own physical and emotional health. Do something surprising, something wacky, calming, invigorating, whatever might shake up your regular routine. Something that will leave you feeling lighter, and more open to taking advantage of the moment. Play.

So, what to do? (I know, you don’t have time for this, but trust me. Make a tiny bit of space in your life to daydream and see what bubbles up.)

  •  Do something physically challenging, like going for a run, rock climbing, or that zumba class you know you’ve been thinking about.
  • Go for a walk in a neighborhood other than your own, and really take time to notice your surroundings. Then go for a walk in your own neighborhood.
  • Try a DIY project that is out of your comfort zone. Just try it. It might not work, but see what happens, and see what you learn about yourself in the process.  Try making your own yogurt.  Or make your own toothpaste, laundry soap, or dryer sheets.

To shake up my own habits, I asked my dear friend Sarah Hughes, owner of Modern Methods, to share her perspective. She is based in Minneapolis and provides “administrative oomph” and bookkeeping services to small, often creative, businesses.

Here’s my interview with her:

What is the craziest thing you’ve done to de-stress?
I’m not a crazy/impulsive kinda gal. To be that way would actually stress me out. So I guess to answer the question, I read it in another way: what have I done to de-stress that others would probably think is crazy? I compulsively purged my already-tidy pantry. I purchased Oxo’s POP Containers with money that really shouldn’t be designated for sexy tupperware (because who really has a ‘Swarthy Quinoa Bin’ fund? anyone?), tossed all expired canned goods, and donated anything still edible but that didn’t align with my new Sleeping-With-The-Enemy-like food alignment. Amidst the frey of toys and work and life chaos, I will occasionally stand in front of my perfect pantry and breathe.

How do you stay organized when you’re crazy-busy?
Well, de-stressing via obsessive organization helps. But for all the in-between times, I tend to keep three designated crap holders (like there’s any other honest name for them) in three separate locations in the house: a mail drop by the front door, a home/kids stuff drop inside a kitchen cabinet, and a work papers drop in my bedroom. Having them separate helps me ensure one category isn’t slipping into the other (if I need to dig something out on the fly) and also makes the job of tackling the contents visually less daunting. I also rely heavily on alarmed calendar reminders, numbered post-it notes, and talking to myself in the shower. I find that all three keep my days’ priorities in check.

What do you tell your clients to do to get through their busy times?  Many of the same things I tell myself: say your priorities out loud, multiple times, to see if they shift in the process of hearing your own voice; sleep; hydrate; take a moment to breathe some fresh air.

What is your favorite distraction from work?
Reading. Getting down on the floor and playing Legos/ figurines/ some sort of small manipulative with my kids; listening to their imagined story lines at that scale is incredibly grounding. Perusing celebrity gossip sites. Sketching little floor plans on the back of work papers, trying to determine new ways to rearrange my furniture.

Have you found your mind wandering or daydreaming today? What were you thinking about?
Food. Ways in which I can prepare it that is more interesting to me. And palatable to my kids. How I never questioned the food my mother put in front of me. How my mother managed to get dinner on the table by 5:45 every night while working full time. How cold the floor under my childhood dinner table could be in the winter. How my dad used to obsessively jump up from the table and bang on the picture window in order to scare birds off the swimming pool in the summer. How the birds mocked him by pecking out the eyes of the fake owl that was supposed to deter their use of the pool as a bath. And also how the birds used the eyeless plastic owl as a flotation device while we ate corn on the cob on your typical Wednesday evening.

Thanks, Sarah, for sharing your imaginative work-brain with us! You’ve left us inspired to find quirky joy amidst the busy rush of the next few weeks.

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  1. wonderful post Kate – love the “walk in a neighborhood not your own” idea – I think it just tipped my entire day for the better!

    • Cat, I’m glad you enjoyed it! My husband and I love to walk in Pittsburgh’s many neighborhoods. It’s one of our favorite ways to quietly shake things up.