How many times a month do you say you are busy or stressed out?  It has become your go to answer each time someone asks “what’s up” or “how are you doing?”  I’m good with my friends who on occasion use this as their response but there are those people who say it all the time and I just want to scream…”What are YOU doing to make it better (or worse.)

Unfortunately, this past week, I had to look in the mirror and yell at myself.  I was having one of those days (weeks) that every nuance of change that was out of my normal schedule was making me want to drive off a cliff. 

To make things worse, I had a handful of people who felt that it was their job to let me know that no matter what was going on my life….their life would always be busier and more stressful…. without ever really asking me why I was wound up….but going on and on and on about their list of strife!

So I started to think….yes…I know…that is unusual…I wonder if my readers are stressed out too?  Has the coldness and dreary of the last couple of months magnified everything that drives you nuts?  Do you forget that these things are temporary and life will go on another day?  Or is that you just need a reminder on how to deal with it all?

Well lucky you clicked on me today because I am going to wave my magic blog wand and make it all better. Are you ready?  One…two….THREE!!!!  Better? Nope?  Hmmm, that works when my mommy does it for me.  (But then again she is magical and when she sends me a heart emoji at bedtime… I wake up a better person.)

Realistically, there is not a wand that makes things better but I did do a little google research today to look up some activities we might all try to lighten up. 

First, breathe.  It is something most of us do every day (we better or we’d be dead.) Not just an ordinary breath…..a long cleansing breath. The best part about this is that you can do it pretty much anywhere.  (I wouldn’t do it while driving, walking a tightrope or battling a dragon.)  

Close your eyes…do it right now….wait not yet…finish reading the instructions…wait…you haven’t opened your eyes back yet…..did you fall asleep?  Okay, there you are…close your eyes and inhale…hold it for a few seconds. Really feel that inhale in your belly. Slowly, exhale.  Do it again.   Let your mind escape for a second and decompress. Give it a chance to work and clear out your head.  Ahhh….

If breathing isn’t an option…how about some exercise?  (That stresses some people out more so you can skip this choice if you don’t get that exercise high.)  My dog walks are great.  I’m usually about a half mile in before my mind is clearer….unless another dog gets in our path and then I have a whole new stress level and I forget about why I went for the walk in the first place.

My husband attacks his stress with positive thoughts and optimism.  It is sort of like playing the Pollyanna “glad” game and finding something to be “glad” about in every moment.  This is great for changing your prospective and moving forward.  (Or if you’ve never seen the original Disney version of Pollyanna with Hayley Mills use this as your excuse to escape for a couple of hours and watch a good flick!)

One of the most obvious ways to help the tension in your life is to remove it! Realistically, we can’t remove all our stress.  (You can’t quit your job after a bad day but you can leave it at the office.)  

I do believe that if you have one of those “busy” lives that is too full, what things can you pull out to make life better?  Is it just a matter of using your time more wisely or maybe being better organized?  Do you need to have every day of your calendar with an activity to be fulfilled or do you have to physically schedule a “down” day (or hour) to get little things done.  (I schedule down days and I find them very helpful and rewarding.)

Maybe you always get riled when you talk to one person or a particular topic but it is someone (or thing) you HAVE to talk to (or about)?  Maybe you should change your reaction instead of reliving the annoying loop of things that are done or said that irritates you.  

I’m not trying to oversimplify anything but only talking about your stress…. doesn’t necessarily remove it…only you can do that. (Talking only helps if you do it with your best friends because they will make you laugh…and laughter is good.)

The honest truth is that I don’t ALWAYS do the right thing to reduce MY stress.  I do take time to look within myself to see what can I do make it better. I never want to look back on a period of time in my life and only remember the stressors.  I want to live my best life now and make myself a priority.

The one last thing I can say about stress relief is to do something you love.  It can be as simple as getting an extra-long hug from one of your favorite baristas or using that special loofah (shower massage head…whatever floats your boat)…just do it for yourself and don’t feel like you need to justify it to anyone.

I find cooking to be that one thing that erases the slate and starts me on the path of positiveness. (It is also good because you get to eat something yummy and I like to feed my woes.)

Last week, I had one day that I couldn’t get control of my mind. I needed to not only cook but to make something that would be relaxing and allow me to breath slowly with each step…and I chose Chinese dumplings. 

Mixing the filling by hand, pleating each one slowly and methodically was the cure I needed….Plus I ended up with 75 awesome dumplings that I could eat on any bad day that comes in the future.  Ommmmmm……Yummmmmmm.

Stress Dumplings

Dumpling wrapper are sold in most grocery stores these days in the produce section.  Usually they are with the vegan “meats”, tofu and bean sprouts. Our stores label them as either gyoza wrappers of pot sticker wrappers.

Here is a great article for Epicurious that gives you some more instruction on method.

The filling is the other important factor.  I did a simple cabbage and pork. ( I used about a heaping half teaspoon in each dumpling). On my next go, I may use more garlic or soy but these were great when boiled 3 minutes in a soup (I did a basic Asian soup broth of chicken broth, ginger and a dash of ponzu).  I also steamed them and made some pan-fried.  (I have 75 so I have few more options left.) 

Any which way, the meat was great and I will make these again….stress or no stress.

Filling for Super Stressless Chinese Dumplings

1 pound ground pork


3 slices chopped up bacon (I needed some extra fattiness)

1 inch knob of ginger, grated

4 green onions, chopped

3 cloves of garlic

dash of white pepper

3 tsp of ponzu sauce

10-ounce bag of cabbage, finely chopped

Dash of sesame oil


In a large bowl, mix all ingredients.  Don’t over mix.  You want it slightly tacky but not mushy.

If you have time, take some of the filling and fry a bit up in a pan and taste for seasoning.  (I did not do this but should have.)

Fill your dumplings or stir-fry the meat and add to rice.