Phew. It’s been a helluva week, hasn’t it? 

On Monday when I was writing my last post I was “prepping” for a routine colonoscopy for which I was scheduled the next day. And may I say “prepping” is the nicest possible way to describe that nasty, day-long, 4 litres of gunk to swallow process. If my post on vintage fashion sounded a bit herky-jerky, it’s because I wrote it in snippets, in between excusing myself to… well… never mind. Then, since I don’t cope well physically with not eating, I had a raging headache, and once the “purging” began, the chills and then the shakes. Finally by bedtime I was so swaddled in robes and shawls that I’m sure I resembled my Irish great-great-great grandmother as she huddled in front of her turf fire during the long, cold winter in County Kerry. The test on Tuesday went well, however, and Hubby and I returned home in sunshine and warm temperatures. Perfect for a late afternoon walk. 

Sunny fall day on the Osgoode Trail, near Osgoode, Ontario.
Osgoode Trail, Tuesday afternoon.

Then, Tuesday evening, we watched the US election coverage. “It’s all over, Suz,” said Hubby as he decamped to the bedroom with his book about ten o’clock. I hung in until the bitter end. And then the aftermath. Sigh. For another Canadian’s response to the American election, click on over to Frances’ blog Materfamilias Writes. Frances expresses, so much more eloquently than I can, what I feel… indeed, what everyone I know feels. 

So there was that. And then Leonard Cohen died. Canadian icon, poet, lyricist, singer. Voice of a generation… voice of so many generations, actually. Who just released a new album a couple of weeks ago at 82 years old. I know it’s partly the accumulation of a really emotional week… but I find I’m kind of inconsolable.

And now it’s Remembrance Day. 

Enough, already. Too much sadness is stressful. And too much stress is not good, as we all know. Aging, even. But I’ll let you read about that here if you’re interested. 

So… time to take back control. Haul out the tried and true coping with stress mechanisms. Like connecting with friends and loved ones. Taking care of ourselves. Remembering how we coped with past stressful events and repeating what worked then. Like pulling on a fabulous new coat and visiting a favorite spot to feed the ducks on the way to get a haircut. You can’t be sad around ducks. Or with freshly cut hair. Well, I can’t anyway. 

On the dam at the Manotick Mill, Manotick Ontario. Coat Max Mara, NYDJ burgundy pants, All Saints bag.
In my burgundy coat at the dam beside the Manotick Mill. 

In his post on The Positivity Blog, Henrik Edberg lists 33 ways to deal with stress. He talks about “limiting information intake.” Now, that sounds like a great idea. Unplug for a few days from all those social media sites. Nothing like too much information to make you feel helpless, and even more stressed. I don’t mean dropping out permanently, just until you regain your equanimity. I’ve temporarily unfollowed a few people on Facebook. Lovely people, my FB friends, but the repetitive posts of some begin to sound like ranting after a while. And I need a break from ranting. 

And today I’m going to take more of Henrik Edberg’s advice and focus on “one thing at a time” and “do what [I] love.” Which means, for the next few days Hubby and I are going to ignore CNN and C-PAC and focus instead on something we both love. Travel. We’re firming up plans for our next big trip. We’re heading south in February. And not to Florida, but to South America. South America has been on Hubby’s bucket list since forever. Patagonia in Argentina, especially.

So we’re deep into our reading, and planning. We’ve booked our airline tickets from Ottawa to Buenos Aires and home from Lima. And another flight within Argentina to get us down to Patagonia. And a third to fly into Peru. And we’ve been conversing via e-mail about a couple of bus tours in Peru. So it’s coming together, nicely. Albeit with a few credit card glitches. But we’ve solved most of those. And once I book the last flight within Argentina today, we’ll sit back for a few days and just look at shots of Patagonia. And dream a bit.

Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia, Argentina
Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia, Argentina  source 

Mount Fitzroy near El Chalten, Patagonia, Argentina
Mount Fitzroy near El Chalten, Patagonia, Argentina  source

Then it will be time to get moving again. Hubby will organize the car rentals. And we’ll start looking at accommodation, my favourite part of trip planning. And of course, there will be shopping to do. First I’ll have to get out all my trekking gear. My ski underwear and light layers. My hot humid weather gear which I haven’t worn since we went to Costa Rica in 2014. I’ll need new hiking boots. And maybe a lovely new light fleece. I’d better make a list. Sigh. You know how much I love lists. 

And by then my anxiety, my weirdly nebulous feeling of approaching doom will have disappeared as in a puff of smoke. Hopefully. 

In the meantime I’m talking to you guys, which I love, and which always makes me happy. And Hubby is out splitting wood for the fireplace. Whatever works, eh?

Here’s a wonderful video of Leonard Cohen on stage in London in 2009. His songs are so dark, that it’s easy to overlook his wry sense of humour. He talks here of how long it had been since he was in London, “About fourteen or fifteen years ago when I was sixty years old, ” he says, “just a kid with a crazy dream.”  Love Leonard Cohen. Love that he said that about being sixty. And as the man says, there “ain’t no cure for love.” 

You got that right, Lennie. 

And here’s a list of ways to cope with stress and anxiety that I found on the American Psychological Society’s website. You probably already know most of these. But sometimes it’s good to be reminded, don’t you think?

Tips for Coping with Stress and Anxiety. From the American Psychological Society's website
American Psychological Association

How about you folks? What makes you happy and takes your mind off your troubles? How do you cope when, even though your life is pretty great, you still feel stressed and a bit overwhelmed?

Linking up today with Saturday Share Link-up at Not Dressed As Lamb  and Thursday Favourite Things at Katherine’s Corner


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59 thoughts on “Coping Mechanisms”

  1. More than anything else we all need to unplug! We don't watch TV, at all, except when it's in front of us at the gym…so that helps. But I do agree about FB. The same rants over and over again. I don't want to "unfriend" anyone, so I just choose to "please, don't show me posts like this" option. I go into the garden to de-stress. It works every time. Just me and the dirt and the garden gloves and making decisions as to what to move or cut back…perfect! It's been a bad week (and it's not over yet is it?) but you know, life goes on.

    1. I am not a gardener. But I can understand how it must be engrossing, helping you to focus on the plants and the earth and not on whatever is happening around you in the world. I'm the same with a good book.

  2. Lucky you on your upcoming travels! Sylvia (40+ Style) spent a while there this summer. She might have some tips for you.

    I am NOT looking forward to my colonoscopy. Oh the maintenance we need to do as we age. I just had my boobs squished yesterday and am off to a Pap and ultrasound next week. I think I need to schedule a pedicure just to balance things out.

    I agree about unplugging and not overindulging in media. It is always skewed.

    I find my pug is one of the best de-stress devices I have : ) Right now she is snoring on my lap, not a care in the world.


  3. In my house it's been MSNBC. Went to bed very late Tuesday evening knowing it was over, but hoping there would somehow be a reprieve for Hillary. Woke up horribly early Wednesday morning – couldn't stay in bed. Fear, anxiety, disappointment, disbelief about the election results… and we're on this side of the border! And then Remembrance Day – always so sad. My father was a career soldier – WWII, Korea, IndoChina, Cyprus – I think of him when I see those elderly Vets at the War Memorial in Ottawa. Plus, my mother died this day in 1973. Lots of memories.

    1. Hard week for you, Kim. Remembrance Day is always emotional for me. My step-dad fought in WWII and now that he's gone it's more emotional than ever.

    2. Thank you Sue – I truly didn't mean to whine. I think I'm just absolutely flabbergasted at how strong my feelings are about the election results! I think it's also the confluence of so many things – each on their own would be tolerable enough but the sum is more than the parts.

  4. Thanks for the nod my way, Sue. It's been tough, hasn't it, and that's so even for us, reasonably buttressed by privilege against the potential damage this new regime may inflict. And it's been a year of significant losses in a number of ways. The Solstice is going to have a high burden of expectations for the return of the light!
    And Travel, especially Travel as exciting as yours — what a great way to re-focus — so glad you're already sharing some of the planning and anticipation with us. I'll be happy to look over your shoulder as you turn the pages of the travel guide and work your way across various websites. Vicarious armchair travel — love it!
    I also really appreciate the pointers about managing stress (and I love the photo of you by the mill, in your new coat — that is SUCH a great coat!). I find it a bit tough being away from home right now, but luckily we'd signed up for a month at a yoga studio 'round the corner and that's been a lifesaver.
    Plus the blogging — both reading my favourites and writing. Funny, though, I'd been getting a bit frustrated with being a bit too busy writing the daily stuff and feeling a bit superficial, wanting to get to more sustained, slightly weightier content, a chance to think things through. And then BAM! A reminder that we should be careful what we wish for. . . My next post is going to be all about my travel wardrobe! I'm sure there will be plenty of opportunities to return to The Serious Stuff, but for now, Distractions'R'Us 😉 . . . so keep your travel planning coming our way. Thank you!

    1. Thanks Frances. We are buttressed by a certain amount of privilege. One of which is living north of the 49th parallel. I'm not being glib… if you read on I think you'll find a few commenters who are not in agreement with us. Phew. Definitely not in agreement. In fact, I think I've just been trolled.

  5. Great that your colonoscopy went well-all diagnostics are usually great stressors for me.
    Your trip looks like a dream to me-and planning and thinking about is the best part. I adore lists!
    This is one of my best methods for coping with stress,together with hunkering down with a good book,taking an early night or going somewhere nice. I watch TV only occasionally,news to be informed and maybe some series on Pickbox (Netflix just arived here) When things become pretty rough, I practise a part of Autogenic training-visualisation of my Adriatic beach,the sea,pebbles and waves!
    So sorry about Leonard Cohen,I loved him and his songs very much and was lucky to be on his concert here a couple of years ago-it lasted more than 3 hours!
    Looking forward your planning posts!

    1. Thanks, Dottoressa. Cohen has been part of my life for so many years… it's almost as if we was immortal. From his poetry of the seventies, which I taught to my classes in the eighties, to the music which I've loved for so long…his influence has been widely felt.

  6. Consider trail shoes (by someone like Salomon) rather than hiking boots, which are rather heavy and a bit old=fashioned at this point. But I envy your trip!

    1. I will Carol. I'm off the Mountain Equipment Co-op this week to take advice on what is best to buy. My boots are 25 years old. Time for something new.

    2. The Salomons are great for hiking as are the Merrill Sirens I recently bought and used for hiking in Zion National Park. Please do keep us in the loop with your travel wardrobe.

  7. I share your feelings from this week, for all the same reasons. As an American, however, I continue to feel inconsolable, and that is appropriate. Girding for battle while reaching out in love and reading Leonard Cohen's poetry, Leslie P.S. Bravo for getting through your colonoscopy prep and congratulations on the result!

    1. Leslie, I'm on the east coast in another blue state. We'll just have to tough it out. The real work ahead is to keep the values we hold as Americans safe from harm.

  8. I feel we are bombarded with dreadful news these days , far more than previous generations . We are aware of every catastrophe in the world as it happens . I'm not sure how much a caring person can cope with . I try not to watch too much news otherwise it drags me down & what with Brexit & Trump ! Like Suzanne above I find my two Lurcher dogs are great de-stressors ,both walking them & just stroking them . Teaching us to enjoy the moment . Otherwise gardening , a good book of course – I've gone off nasty murders now . Plus a little TV . I can recommend The Crown on Netflix . I'm not a royalist but it is beautifully filmed , great attention to detail & not sycophantic . Humour is important to me too , laughing at the ridiculous ( like flapping ,orange hair ) . That's another reason I like your blog , your sense of humour comes through , not many bloggers make me laugh .
    Your travel plans are exciting , those pics are wonderful . So nice to be involved at the planning stage . We just do short trips abroad now ( can't bear to leave the dogs for long ) so I think I shall be envious , in a nice way .
    Wendy in York

    1. Thanks, Wendy. A good, a long walk, a little research on our trip… and a good dinner with a nice glass of wine. My recipe for a great day at the end of a long week. I have never met a "lurcher"…only seen them on tv shows like "Heartbeat." They look like they have personality plus:)

  9. Hello! Thanks for a wonderful post filled with so much. First, glad the colonoscopy went well…sorry your prep involved what seemed worse than what I've had. Next…love that burgundy coat! You've used navy also, which goes well with burgundy. I'm on the hunt now for some burgundy wool coating before the snow flies. Third…such an interesting trip you have planned! Planning a trip is so exilerating! I'm really admiring your sense of adventure. And lastly, of course, dealing with stress! I did like you mentioned and unplugged for several months. But after Tuesday, I needed to commiserate with some like minded folk just to keep my sanity! Down here in the states, especially if you live in a "blue" state like I do, it was an unbelivable Wednesday morning. I saw it coming as I had worked a couple of GOTV phone banks. When you're calling registered democrats and they say they are for the other candidate you sorta know how it's going to play out. 52 years ago a gal named Phillis Shalafly wrote a book called, "A Choice Not an Echo". She was an anti-feminist Republican conservative that went on to write many more books right up until this fall when she wrote, "The Conservative Case for Donald Trump". She died in September and he gave a eulogy at her funeral to a standing ovation. The current conservatives targeted our "forgotten middle America" and used them as a tool to win the White House. Trump became the frontman and now the rest is history. My sincere hope is regardless of what else he does, he doesn't leave them forgotten again. It will be quite a task as the jobs lost over the past 40 years were not due entirely to trade deals and tax incentives, but more so to our lack of education to be a viable player in the now techno involved world stage. Many of the jobs he promised can never return to the US.
    Once again….sorry to go on and on! And lastly, thanks for the Leonard Cohen tribute. A wonderful way to end the day!

  10. Oh please enough of the stress bit…You should be a survivor of WW2 as I am, or live in Venezuela right now.. For all of you teachers out there explain to me why the US is number 39 in the ranking of education in the world? we have had 8 years of socialism and to blame the poor and uneducated for winning the election, how demeaning is that, what has the democrat party done for them ? look at all the big cities which have been run forever by democrats… Should I go on? the elitists have lost get used to it…

    1. The Republican Party sponsored Proposition 13 in California in 1978, to lower property taxes. Our public schools have never recovered. Education has always been a huge priority in the Democratic Party, not so on the Republican agenda. I won't go on and on, but you really should be more knowledgable about how this country has done economically under Republican administrations vs. Democratic ones.

  11. I've long enjoyed your blog, Susan – fashion can be a great stress reliever. However, as an AMERICAN of 54 years of age, I'm disappointed that I'm supposed to be SICK and STRESSED and DEPRESSED because I'm a WOMAN and a WOMAN didn't win. I'm celebrating the election results! I, too, would like to see a woman president…but certainly not a woman who has been bought and paid for..for YEARS. Does no one investigate the history of Bill and Hillary Clinton? Back to Rose Law Firm days? Does no one investigate the illness that she has and has covered up? The Clinton Foundation? The serious foreign implications of her email situation? The days of her as first lady when White House staff couldn't even walk into a room where she was because she was always cursing, yelling and throwing things? Her views on Partial Birth Abortion? I don't know how good a president, Donald Trump, will be…but it was a clear choice to americans who believe that a business man will be better than a woman who owes favors to foreign countries who paid her millions. The Americans who elected Trump were unhappy with the comments he sometimes made but were HORRIFIED by the corruption within the Clinton circle. Half of the country is excited and anticipates, after 8 years of difficulty, the possibility of a booming economy and a stronger foreign policy. If it's race relations that some are grieving over, why? What has President Obama done for race relations? Can any of us say they are BETTER than 8 years ago? I feel for the minorities – they deserve a break they were promised in 2008 that was never delivered. It may be that in Canada, everyone you know feels devastated now. But here in the states – everyone I know is elated..positive…hopeful. God bless America.

    1. I don't think that you're "supposed to be sick and depressed." But some people are. I'm happy for you that you are "elated." I'm also happy that you've enjoyed my blog. Thanks for that. But I guess what I want to say to you is that I believe we should always be mindful that no matter our differences of opinion, we all feel what we feel.

    2. I've gone back and re-read what Sue posted, and nowhere does she imply that you should be stressed or depressed. She's telling you that she is, and she's suggesting ways that, if you are as well (did you ever listen to Cohen's music? have a colonoscopy? remember a lost loved one on Armistice Day? all in the same week as a political disappointment?) that you might find solace. Awfully generous of her, I'd say, but then that's what I've come to expect, reading this blog. And I know how much work that generosity takes, the thoughtful, well-written, considerate writing she manages to give us at least twice a week. She doesn't foist politics on us, and it's a shame that in your defensiveness, you accuse her of such, denying her some basic empathy, and then do exactly what you complain about. Go somewhere else to find the answers you're seeking. And next time you post a rant on someone's blog, consider having the courage to sign your name to your words.

      Same thing to the commenter above, speaking to education in the US. But if you're going to sign your name, you'll probably want to back up your claim that education is poorer today by using the occasional period, comma, anything to correct your run-on sentences. Also, perhaps you could back up your data with some citation of your source? I've seen a variety of figures about the US's standing, education-wise, and most seem to hover at around 17th. We got very used to your President-Elect playing fast and loose with the truth, but that doesn't mean we have to like that approach or condone it.

    3. I agree with materfamillias. Susan is not saying or implying you should be stressed. As am American, I respect your views but remember Hillary won the popular vote which means that pretty much 50% of us voted for her regardless of the controversies. So half are happy and half are not so happy. Case closed.

    4. And BTW – the Clinton's have been under "investigation" since the 1980's, and have never been found guilty of anything. The hounding of Hillary Clinton has been nothing short of a witch hunt. Obama has tried for 8 years to help the middle class but was consistently blocked by the Republican House and Senate, who have their own agenda.

  12. What a wonderful thought provoking post. I always enjoy your posts but this one was especially helpful to me as an American. I want all of the Trump supporters to remember that he did not win the popular vote and that he will have a very short time frame to deliver on his promises. I happen to believe that America was already great. I also expect my president to respect all people and to be a role model for youth. President elect Trump has not been that person so I can only wait and see what happens. Your tips for stress management were timely. Thank you for your thought provoking post. Mary Lou

    1. Thanks, Mary Lou. We need to all be role models, I think. Especially anyone in a position of authority or power, no matter how many or how few people we affect. Line managers at MacDonald's, parents, police officers, teachers, politicians and in particular Prime Ministers and Presidents.

  13. Very thought provoking post. Your attempt to escape from rants seems to have prompted a few in the comments. Hope your stress busting strategies helped! Your trip sounds wonderful. Lovely to have that to look forward to. Enjoyed the Leonard Cohen clip. Iris

  14. Thank you for caring about our election results. It's horrifying and your stress management suggestions are excellent. Hope you didn't mind my chiming in on some of the people who I think have their facts wrong?

    1. It is good to see people with more knowledge of US politics than me challenging the trolls . We are told not to ' feed ' them but they should be challenged & Sue really didn't deserve these rants . One ranter said ' God Bless America ' – I'd say ' God Help America '
      Wendy in York

    2. Thanks Wendy – I woke up feeling I'd gone on a rant last night (which I had a bit) but for me, that's part of my stress management too.
      And no, Sue certainly didn't deserve the rants. We all have things we stress about, worry about, etc. Shouldn't be compared to other people's troubles. And I really appreciate how much Sue cared about our election and country.

    3. Thanks KSL. Please don't worry about chiming in. Like Wendy, I'll leave the specific comments to people like you who know more about US politics than me.

  15. It has been one hell of a week, for this fellow Canadian. Add to your list, antisemitism online (I'm Jewish), repeated comments online that Trump's sexual assault victims are lying (I'm a survivor), one horrendous experience with ableism (I'm disabled because of the rapes), and one experience with every day, "we don't care about you" ableism, and I don't know how I'm even still functioning at all. Hope is in very short supply.

    May I ask why you needed a colonoscopy? My husband had ulcerative colitis and now has an ostomy so that's why I ask.


    1. My colonoscopy was simply routine screening due to family history. So not fun… ha… definitely not fun… but not something too worrisome. I'm sorry that you're having a much rougher week than I did. I mostly felt steamrollered by all the rhetoric, anger, and over the top emotion. Phew.

  16. My husband and I are going antiquing today which is something we haven't done for years, because I need a diversion and real stress relief. It has been a "very, bad, no good horrible" week (I know that comes from on of my childrens' books that I probably read three times every night).

    Something to consider so that you don't think everyone south of your border is nuts: Hilary recieved more actual votes than any President in history, aside from Obama and she's winning the popular vote by nearly 2 million votes. I think the election was a response to immigration levels (not necessarily all from South America) that are somewhere around 13% of our populaton being foreign-born and no matter how you feel about that, it's not rocket science to consider that it's just de-stabilizing. This is the highest level since 1890 and 1910.

    There's a lot to be worried about here. My consolation, however, is that my kids who are in their 20's and 30's are pretty distraught. Apparently their co-workers were in tears. That surprises me because they are all professionals and office tears are a big no-no.

    Oh well, I'm off to de-stress and ut on my positivity hat. Breathe in 7 counts, hold for 7 and exhale forecefully to 4. It works!

  17. So excited about your upcoming trip! Can't wait to hear all about it.

    Thanks for sharing the Leonard Cohen video. He is gone and it feels like he's taken a piece of us with him, but his words and that haunting voice will go on.

  18. Responding to the positive …so glad your colonoscopy results were good …A difficult process to go through but definitely worth it. Not a test that seems to be offered here except as a response to specific symptoms. It seems a good idea to me to have one regularly ..rather like mammograms.
    Also your travel planning! How exciting! and not long now before you actually go. I've seen many boarding and skiing videos set in Patagonia, it looks so beautiful.My daughter trekked in Peru when she was 16 as part of a World Challenge Expedition. They also built a playground for a rural school children where people who had so little opened up their homes and shared meals with them.Such a humbling experience as well as a wonderful one! So much for you both to look forward to.
    With regard to the negatives …I'm searching, as I always do, for something good and positive in the situation …no success as yet ..but we can hope.
    Take care and hope you're having a good week.

  19. ps love Leonard Cohen …and thanks for the coping with stress and anxiety tips, always useful as is just "living in the moment" and trying not to stress about the past and the future …something I'm inclined to do!

    1. Living in the moment… or trying to is a good idea, Rosie. Like practicing mindfullness. Our trip plans are temporarily on hold as we sort out some issues with airlines. We can book but they can't take payment. After many, many phone calls and attempts on the website we are running out of patience with LATAM airlines. Problem is the only other flight from and to where we ant to go is with Aerolineas and involves two verrrry long lay-overs. Hope this work out. Stu is almost at the point where he wants to cancel the trip altogether.

  20. I can imagine how frustrating that must be for you both.Especially if Stu is considering cancelling the trip as I remember you telling me how keen he was to travel to South America. Do you have any travel companies in Canada that could book flights on your behalf and then you pay them directly? ie not the airline.
    I really hope things work out and you can go back to enjoying your plans and preparations.
    Take care

    1. Visiting a travel agent who specializes in South America was next on our list of possible actions. But last night we finally had a call from LATAM airlines. All is well. Phew.

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