Thursday, March 30, 2017

Stress management

From what TV and the internet has told me, most people handle stress by eating lots of junk food, buying stuff, and driving everyone around them nuts.

I handle it a little bit differently.

I officially submitted my resignation to the current job and am managing the background check for the new job.  Apparently the background check company can't handle asking my current company how long I've worked there, so I had to send them a bunch of W2s, pay stubs, and instructions on how to do their jobs.  I had to send a W2 from 2005 for pity's sake.  Knowing that this background check could leave me completely unemployed if it fails means that my ulcer is in full attack mode.  My Fitbit says my resting heart rate is up about 5 bpm this week.  I'm a walking ball of stress and anxiety.  I think the hubby is considering buying a blow gun and some tranq darts.

I've hit the point where panic attacks are a daily event.  Fortunately I can manage this with OTC remedies.  My rule of thumb is if the FEI bans a substance, it probably works.  My cocktail of choice to fall asleep at night is GABA, tryptophan, and valerian root, washed down with chamomile tea.  All banned substances.

My other treatment is Theo.  Thank goodness this horse enjoys grooming.  I left work early (what are they going to do, fire me?) so I could enjoy a sunny, 50* afternoon.  I spent about an hour completely removing mud and bringing him to as much of a shine as possible when he's still shedding out.  Pulled his mane, completely brushed out his tail, the works.  I dressed him up in his azalea colored saddle pad, matching browband, and white boots.  I wore my tall boots, my favorite breeches (with the rhinestone detail on the pocket), a pink shirt, my gorgeous Arista vest, put my air up, even put on gloves.  We looked like the perfect definition of a DQ and her spoiled brat of a horse.  So, so over dressed for a dressage school followed by a trail ride.

The clothes make the horse.  Theo was just wonderful.  We had to have a firm talk about me putting on my left leg doesn't mean swing your haunches left in preparation to evade using yourself correctly.  The twenty minutes of discussion and a couple of pops with the whip were worth it when he finally sighed and cooperated.  Ohhhh, so that's what submission to the bend means!  It's really a different feeling when your horse finally gives through the ribs and wraps around your leg instead of pushing against it to see if you'll get tired before him.

Trainer A was impressed enough with the improved self carriage to interrupt her own lesson to watch him go.  It was a breakthrough moment for me, I could feel him correctly pressing into my outside rein and could really manage his shoulders because they were on the correct side of the bend!  It really does make everything suddenly pop into place. 

I was so pleased with him that he got extra cookies and a nice walk outside.  He appreciated the chance to go play in the sun.  We got to school some water when we found part of the trail flooded.  I didn't realize how deep it was until we were in it.  Almost to his knees!  Good thing his fancy boots are washable.  I probably looked ridiculous trotting back up to the barn, dressed to the nines in my dressage gear and covered in mud.

But my heart rate was back down to it's usually rate.  Three hours of being forced to stay in the immediate here and now broke the cycle of anxiety.  You can't worry about paperwork and abstract fears when you're handling horses.  Even helping sweep up the barn keeps you focused and grounded.  I really wish we weren't getting a winter storm tomorrow morning because I would go hide at the barn all weekend if I could.  I would school all of the naughty ponies and sweep the loft that really, really needs it.  Instead I will have to manage my stress with tea, bubble baths, and craft projects.

Yes.  Winter storm.  I am so, so, so done with the snow.  IT'S SPRING DAMN IT.


  1. Good luck with the background check! I have managed to hit all the typical stressors plus increase my resting heart rate buy 10. Ponies really do cure all and Theo is adorable in his pink outfit! :)

  2. The barn and ponies are my drugs of choice as well!

  3. Hoping for the best with the job situation! Horses are the best therapy IMHO <3