I understand that we all get stressed and it is imperative for us to deal with that stress in some kind of healthy way. With that being said, men and women are different and are going to deal with these stressors many times differently than each other. I’m not saying that no guy will relieve stress by doing yoga or a paint night with the girls, but this is a perspective that not many women understand. Men have testosterone and many of us need to get anger out with their stress. Many guys don’t feel better after a good cry like a lot of the women that I know (not that there is anything wrong with men crying, see https://allgoodinthefatherhood.wordpress.com/2017/05/30/i-was-a-tough-military-man-until-fatherhood-unleashed-all-my-emotions/ ). I had to have a talk with my kids about how boys and girls are different after my daughter was mad that she couldn’t stand up to pee like her brother, but maybe I need to break it down for some adults as well. Not all of these are going to be good ideas for you, but they just might be!
This one is probably the most effective for me; when I get stressed out, there is nothing better than a good run! Breaking a sweat is my happy place (https://allgoodinthefatherhood.wordpress.com/2016/10/27/the-happy-place/ ). The body releases so many endorphins when you start to push it and really break a good sweat. When I am running, it is just me and the road and whatever I’m listening to, I don’t answer the phone or texts, I am just running. My wife knows when I’ve had a terrible day, that I just need to get out there and she doesn’t bother me with any of the daily struggles, she just says go run and we can talk later and I usually come back as a new person with a different outlook.
I know that this won’t be ideal for everyone, but some time at a range can do wonders on your pent up stress. I’ve gone a number of times and imagined that report that is due is on the target and lit it up with so much enthusiasm. When you can release a few pound of lead at 1200 feet per second makes you feel completely in control and similar to my other techniques, it is one of those no cell phones allowed type activities.
Many times this will raise your stress levels if you are directing your yells at someone, but that isn’t the idea. I cannot even count how many times that I could feel the weight of the world on my shoulders and someone cut me off on the way home from work and I just let out a yell at the top of my lungs and felt better afterwards. Obviously the windows were up and there were no words because road rage is real and highly dangerous. I can almost feel the stress coming out of my mouth when I do this, but not always.
Playing video games, specifically sports or violent games help many guys get out their stress. They can slip into their avatar and become something else completely and lay the hit stick on their opponent in a football game or snipe someone from a long way away in a first person shooter game. Getting any kind of small victory can go a long way for a guy who is having a crappy day, trust me I know!
I used to have an issue when I was younger that I would get mad and punch things, it was not a good idea. I ended up putting a hole in my door and broke my hand on a different occasion. My buddy Bryan had a weighted punching bag hanging in his carport because his mom was tired of patching holes after raising four boys and I thought it was a great idea. If we get mad enough to hit something, make it productive and turn it into a workout without having to worry about drywall work or replacing doors.
Fishing is very therapeutic to me. I am a catch and release kind of guy, if I ever actually catch anything. I don’t do the research to see what is biting or what the best bait is currently, I just love to be one with nature and cast a line. I recently got back from a trip with my dad and did some fishing; it is Zen-like in the ocean to me. It also helps when you have to yank a 10’ rod across your body to launch the 3oz weight a hundred yards into the sea but we can stick with the cell phone-free relaxation factor here.
Hanging Out with the Guys
I cannot stress this one enough! It is so important for a guy to be able to escape work and the family and spend some time with the guys. Most times, it isn’t the family causing the stress but we can act differently when it is just the guys and be disgusting and talk sports and tell old stories without having to watch our Ps and Qs. This one goes both ways though guys, if you expect your old lady to watch the kids while you go out, you better expect to return the favor on ladies’ night! These nights are usually a great time, but it isn’t too irregular for real feelings to come out and somber the mood for a few but it usually bounces back pretty quickly.
Because I am not the best at math, I’ll throw in an 8th that works for me when I can’t do any of the other things on the list, like in the middle of the day while I’m at work. I go for walks to escape the cubicles and throw on one of my favorite comedian’s podcast. I can escape the world while listening to funny stories with Ben Bailey, stupid internet clips with Tom Segura and Christina, learn about some of the craziest theories with Joe Rogan, hear Bert Kreischer’s addictive laugh or catch up with sports. They have become such a big part of what keeps me going during the day but you have to find what works best for you!
Stay strong and stress free out there dads!