Yesterday I accomplished 6 tasks on my to-do list.

In just 1 hour, I made a deposit at the bank, paid my water bill, picked up a coffee at my favorite local coffee shop, got gas, a car wash, and picked up a few items at the grocery store.

Oh how I love the efficiency and seamlessness of the US.

I know, big whoopty do, you probably get that and even more accomplished all the time. But you see, even 6 months ago I could never imagine accomplishing so much in that little time. In Costa Rica, that may have taken me days, even weeks to accomplish.

Now I am not complaining about that, there is profound wisdom there, but the reality is you simply can’t get shit done as fast as you may like.

So you’d think this systematic organization that my home country offers would translate into an easy adjustment back, right?


I guess I forgot about a few things.

  • Like May grey/June gloom in San Diego – where overcast skies and cooler temperatures are in full force. Translation: I can’t wear shorts everyday, but I don’t own anything else. (I thought San Diego was always sunny hence the term Sunny San Diego).
  • Like yoga classes that don’t let you in the door if you’re a minute late – so I find myself rushing to yoga…(yes, I know rushing to relax is ridiculous)
  • Driving on the I-5 Freeway, that boasts 97 hours of bottleneck congestion per week. (I’m not making this up, it is a fact).
  • A population density in a 5-mile radius of our house that is bigger than the entire country of Costa Rica. (Not really but it feels like it every time I go outside).
This is the candy section right before the checkout in unexpecting locations.

This is the candy section right before the checkout in unexpecting locations.

  • The intensity of candy pushing. I’m not talking about at the movies, grocery store, or candy store – places you expect. I’m talking about finding it at the checkout in places like Home Depot, Office Max, Office Depot, Staples, and The Post Office. (wtf, seriously? We have an obesity epidemic in this country candy pushers, stop using ego depletion against us).
  • Trying to become busy. Everyone is so busy. I’m still trying to figure out how to put my wetsuit on.
  • Or when I meet someone for the first time and I explain that I just relocated from Costa Rica and they look at me and say, “Why the hell would you ever do that?”

You can see, it’s been a little stressful for me. I feel a little out of place. Like I just don’t fit in, which well, I didn’t expect. It has forced me to practice what I preach and utilize the tools I believe in. Practice makes you better, so in that light, this is all good.

So I thought it would be fitting to share what I have been practicing to cope with my new life.

Insights for Stress Management, Life Adjustment, or Any Emotionally Rocky Time 

1) Exercise – Always, always helps me stay grounded when everything around me seems to be swirling. Not only does moving your body change your state and feel good, it gives you something to focus on that allows your mind to release from its current state.

 My personal favorite for de-stress: HOT YOGA. It requires you to focus on only your body, breathing, and letting go of the chatter running through your mind. The emotional release I get is unmatched by other forms of exercise. It lightens and softens me in ways that are magical :).

2) Practicing Self-Compassion – As Dr. Kristen Neff, author of the book Self Compassion says, “ With self compassion we give ourselves the same kindness and care the we’d give a good friend”. 

Do you do that for yourself? Easier said then done. I notice I can quickly judge myself for just having a negative feeling. When having a feeling or emotion, good or bad is just part of being human. Having a negative feeling is fine, its how you process and then react to it that actually matters. So I have been practicing reacting gently to myself instead of saying things like “this is effin’ crazy”.

3) Checking in with my mindset – Where is it at? Am I looking at things from a place of empowerment, where I can change my circumstance, improve, and get better? Or am I allowing the situation and circumstance to control me?

I am reading this book called Mindset, The New Psychology Of Success, and How We Can Learn To Fulfill Our Potential by Stanford University Professor Carol Dweck. She talks about how adopting a “growth” mindset where you look at obstacles as challenges and failures as opportunities to get better will ultimately lead you to success and fulfilling your own potential.

4) Focusing on my WHY – When you’re in the midst of something, and it gets so bad that you forget why you decided to do it in the first place. It’s time to get back in touch with your “why”, the reason you decided to do it. Bringing to mind the long-term reason why you wanted something can be a powerful tool for refocus.

5) Creating something that inspires you. This doesn’t have to be time consuming or difficult. It can be as simple as something you draw or clippings from magazines of pictures that move you. My personal favorite is to write a list of quotes that motivate and remind me of the person I want to be.

6) Taking Action – There is nothing that makes me feel more empowered and in control of my outcome than doing something that impacts it. Even it is just a small thing, it all counts and helps you move the needle closer to your desired outcome.

Now I would love to hear from you. What do you do to relax, de-stress, and help you get through tough times? What are your insights?

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