Every woman has a breaking point.
It starts with a crazy day at work then quickly goes downhill with a bottle of wine and annoyed friends who are tired of hearing about the insane week you’re having. Usually around this time, when Pluto hangs out with Jupiter for a month-long brunch date in planetary constipation and Mercury goes down on Retrograde, the period drops and boom–that’s the breaking point. It’s officially the worst week ever and your heating pad is broken.
During this stressful time, I normally drink obscene amounts of creamy coffee with life-threatening amounts of sweetener. I text violent emojis to concerned friends and lose my grasp on reality. I don’t eat salad (fuck kale, I want a burger!) I stay up late. Wake up early. Forget to take my anemia pills. Google myself into oblivion. Then wake up and feel like shit. I often find myself repeatedly G-Chatting friends, “Is this real?” “What is life?” Or, when things get really serious, I like to stare at myself in puddle reflections by Queen and Dovercourt and ask myself out loud, “Who am I?” I’m a freak. I’m a nut case. That’s why I created a list of ways to keep cool in the insanity of a stressful week. Because let’s get real: a bottle of wine doesn’t cut it anymore. Doctor, what can I do?
Watch extremely sad animal documentaries that will make you cry violently
I know it sounds cruel, but sometimes you need to see how bad some animals have it to fully realize that your professional and personal worries are inconsequential to the larger issues of captive killer whales and harpooned dolphins. How can I really feel bad about a stressful day at work when infant chimpanzees are being stolen from their mothers only to be abandoned by their asshole human parents? Top picks: Blackfish, The Cove, Project Nim and Grizzly Man. Now let yourself cry uncontrollably. It feels SO good.
Watch a celebrity meltdown video
The best way to visualize your internal doldrums is by watching a celebrity meltdown video on YouTube. Britney Spears 2007 is forever immortalized and very bald.
Watch a Disney movie to feel innocent again
Being a fully-grown woman requires a lot of time to think, feel pressure, stress out, and think some more. We’re designed to worry, concern ourselves with things, keep busy and stay motivated. One way to escape the negative thought loop surrounding income, survival and reproduction is to watch a Disney movie. For a moment, I forget about whatever it is that’s causing my skin to breakout in zits, and I start to feel like a kid again. I watch The Artistocats: because seriously, can’t a lady find a squad of cats who can sing and dance like old-school Jazz players? Is that really too much to ask for?
Take a day trip to Chapters and read self-help books, but don’t buy anything
I love paper. The way it feels. The texture. The sound of it. That’s why, when work is drilling a hole into my head and I can’t remember what I’m doing with my life, I visit the Self-Help section in Chapters and read best-selling books written by balding therapists. They remind me about the stupid things I forget: like smiling, breathing, yoga, how to think optimistically and set goals. But don’t buy the book. Save your money and treat yourself to a cake pop at Starbucks. (Lord, help me. The cake pop knows how to treat a woman. There’s hope for another day.)
Treat yourself to brunch with someone who you haven’t complained to already
We all do it. I started this paragraph saying, “We all do it” because I want to justify doing this and I feel much more comfortable grouping this as a collective “We” than just “me.” It’s strategic. And sometimes, especially when the work is extra boring and extra stressful, we need to repeat the same story over and over again. It’s not because we have a disorder and need to splurge our guts, but talking about it really helps. Saying the same story repeatedly is therapeutic and it makes you feel better. So instead of rehashing the same shit to the same friend; switch it up! Find new friends to brunch with and tell them the story for the fifteenth time. Chances are, by the twentieth time, you’ll feel pleasantly relieved that all your trusted girlfriends gave you the same advice: “Girl, you need a day off.”
Get a tattoo at Pearl Harbour
I already have two tattoos that I regret, but I don’t really care. Tattoos are fun because they sting and they’re forever. Sometimes it’s nice to permanently ink yourself with beautiful objects during high-pressure life moments. It’s fun and it adds to the thrill. It’s not for everyone, but it works for me.
Be a human burrito in bed
At the end of the day, warm up your pajamas in the dryer. Take a shamefully long hot shower before you go to bed. (Oh baby.) When you step out of the shower, wrap yourself in your warmed pjs, turn yourself into a burrito blanket and fall asleep at 7 pm. You deserve it.
Call your sibling and tell them how well you’re doing
If you have an older sibling, you’ll understand this one. My older brother and I have an unspoken competition called, “Who will be the more successful child in life?” During these phone calls (usually when I’m wasted and walking home from the bar), we’ll chat about how AMAZING life is. How GREAT the new job is. It’s like giving yourself a fake motivational speech to reconfirm that you’re still competing with your sibling like a six-year-old. He tells me about filming artsy fashion videos in Vancouver and I tell him about my ultra-cool professional Toronto business cards. The competition will never die. “Life is so good. Superb. Love it. No regrets. Xo!” Sucker!
Read your monthly horoscope and imagine the amazing sex you’re going to have on April 13, 20 and 24
It’s silly. But I don’t have time to go to a palm reader. And I’d much rather read my horoscope while commuting on the 501 streetcar to contemplate my planetary alignment and what kind of sexy man I’ll encounter for a spur-of-the-moment sexcapade. It also helps me understand my feelings. So I can emotionally prepare for poor money-making decisions and erratic romantic behaviour. There’s always hope at the end of the horoscope–like a rainbow.
Listen to solo piano and pretend like you’re walking in a really sad movie
Very meta. If you’re a fan of Transparent (specifically the opening credits), you should listen to Dustin O’Halloran and go for a walk. I walk through side streets, alleyways, crescents, avenues. You name it. I choose my own adventure and think about things. People. Places. The future. My dead dog. Friends. Groceries. Things I want to buy. I like walking past my go-to bars like Churchill or Montauk Bar on Sunday morning. They’re quiet and serene like a deserted ghost town in the middle of nowhere. And at the end of my walk, I still feel stressed and restless, but exercise is still good, and I’m alive. So there’s that.