Friday, February 29, 2008

Despite All My Rage, I Am Still Just A Rat In A Cage

Tip Of The Day: Turn that frown upside down, kids! Ugh. Chipper people make me nervous. But seriously – tips on how to get happy that won’t damage your bank account or waistline. Or morals. Or background check.

Tip For The Weekend: Kick back, relax, and enjoy new TV programming now that the writer’s strike is over.

Further Elucidation Of My Cheap Deal: All humans all the time get pissed or stressed now and then – except for maybe the Dali Lama. Or Mister Rogers. Or Rachael Ray. But the rest of us are not immune to anger and stress. So what’s a frugal gal to do when the going gets rough?

First, here’s a quick list of what NOT to do, even though it sounds like a good idea at the time:
1. Eat. Being an emotional eater myself, I know all too well the siren call of treats when I’m upset. However, eating an entire bag of salt and vinegar Kettle Chips will not solve anything. Also, you wake up the next day all poufy from the salt.
2. Drink. Booze is not a cure for what ails you. In fact, if you are prone to drunk-dialing, drunk-texting, or drunk-IMing, it could make a bad situation worse. TRUST ME. I know whereof I speak.
3. Shop. Spending money when you’re mad is the antithesis of frugality. However, like eating, this is my favorite thing to do when I'm upset or mad. Or happy, or sad, or when it's a Tuesday... Sigh. Clearly, I need help.
4. Sleep with inappropriate men. Clearly, a bad idea. Once again, TRUST ME.

Enough of what you shouldn’t do, let’s move on to the positive stuff. Here are a few of the things my friends and I do, and you might be doing already:
1. Exercise. This can be the cheapest (FREE) thing to do when you’re feeling upset. Even if you don’t belong to a gym or own a single piece of exercise equipment, you can still work out. Just put on your most comfortable shoes (and 18 layers of clothing, if you live in MN) and go for a walk. If you have a dog, bring him/her along and call it multi-tasking.
I like to run when I’m mad. I pretend I’m chasing down the idiot who’s pissing me off, so I can pound the crap out of them. I also enjoy punching a free-standing punching bag for the same reason. Makes me sound awfully violent, doesn’t it. Hmm.
2. Clean your house. Several people mentioned this coping mechanism to me. First, you work off your anger, and second, you feel like you’ve accomplished something when you’re done. Makes sense – a big part of anger is feeling like your life is out of your control. Accomplishing a task, big or small, can give you back that feeling of control. And now my psychoanalysis is complete.
3. Read a book. Escapism at its finest! Watching TV or seeing a movie just doesn’t cut it for me – it’s too easy to lose my concentration. But when I’m reading, I can really bury myself in someone else’s life and ignore my own. And when I'm upset, ignoring is bliss.
I particularly enjoy sci-fi/fantasy novels when I’m upset. I managed to read the first 6 books in the Anita Blake series by Laurel K. Hamilton when I was deciding whether or not to leave my first career (marketing, in case you were wondering). By the way, I do NOT recommend that series – it devolves into violent porn by book 7. Ick.
4. Do something nice for yourself. Instead of shopping like a fiend, go to the mall and get a manicure. That way, you can’t touch anything (like your wallet) when you’re done. Have a spa night at home with masques, muds and treatments galore. Or, indulge in a hot bath with bubbles and candles and music – really live out the cliché.
If you must shop (and I know I usually must), try a thrift store like the Goodwill or Saver’s or ARC Value Village so you don’t blow your entire paycheck in a fit of pique. I hate it when I do that. While you’re there, donate some old stuff to make room for the new. Which brings me to number 5…
5. Do something nice for someone in need. Start a food drive, give blood (that takes the wind right out of my anger sails), donate time to your favorite cause. By focusing on someone else’s pain, you can forget about your own. Yes, that DOES sound like a cheesy song lyric, doesn’t it? My bad.
6. Write. You can write a letter to the jerk who’s made you mad, you can write a list of all the things that are stressing you out, you can write a revenge fantasy in which you destroy the lives of the people who have done you wrong… okay, maybe not that last one. But, studies by people who know more than I do show that writing out your problems can help you solve them.
Just don’t send the letter to the jerk. You don’t want there to be any evidence pointing at you if something happens to him/her.
Lucky Number 7. Confrontation. Eventually, you will have to confront whatever or whoever is making you nuts. You can’t bottle it up forever (although I know I like to try to) – that’s what drives you to do one of the four bad things (see above).
Just remember, use your words, not a knife. Bail is very expensive and not at all frugal.
If the confrontation is with a person, rehearse in your head, or in front of a mirror, exactly what you want to say. Bring along notes so you don’t forget your argument or get sidetracked. If the upset-or is a situation, not a person, write a list of exact steps you need to take to resolve the conflict. Cross them out as you go. There’s nothing like crossing off things on a list to give you a sense of achievement.

If you want further discussion on anger issues, tune in Saturday morning to the Get Real Girls on FM 107. Their morning show is all about dealing with anger. Go here: to get the show times.

I’ll leave you with these last bits of wisdom: You’re right, they’re wrong, and the Cheap Chick loves you best. Don't you feel better already?


Marketing Mama said...

Fun post - wish I had the reminder about "emotional eating" before I tackled 1/2 a box of Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies that just arrived here today... oy!

Michelle said...

Great post! I especially loved the title...ahh... Smashing Pumpkins, how I miss you. That is such good advice to not go shopping when angry. I usually avoid that myself because shopping when I'm angry just puts me in a worse mood. I know, I know I'm weird. Usually when I'm upset I get my anger out by writing or emotional eating or some angry music.

LaRue said...

And how often do you call me and I am cleaning my kitchen? I find it a healthy way to get out the frustrations of life. Apparently I am often frustrated. But, hey! At least my kitchen is clean! Who knew?

I don't think I want to get quite as relaxed as Mr. Rogers. Especially seeing that he is dead, and all. (Sniffle. I loved him.)The Dalai Lama? OK. But he isn't allowed to kill mosquitoes. And I am sorry, but a mosquito is NOT a sentient being.

And hey, I'm not planning on being mad on Tues. (of course you never know what those vagrants I live with will be up to then - the under 13 kind of vagrant), but want to check out the sales at Target that day? You could vent YOUR frustrations!

Anonymous said...

I'd just like to point out that your bannination of sleeping with inappropriate men, clearly leaves appropriate men wide open... yet it was never revisited in your later ideas.

I suppose you could say it was covered under "exercise," or either of the “do something nice’s” but it seemed conspicuously absent.

I’m going to add one. Cook.

It can share the creative aspects of writing, and the sense of completion and achievement of cleaning, done right its good for yourself and others, certainly it is work standing over a hot stove, but best of all – it can make those confrontations go more smoothly.

Hope you feel better –

El Jefe