I am the first to admit that I can get very stressed. My stress and anxiety has got me into all sorts of knots in the past, and as a result I try to use various coping mechanisms to make sure that stress keeps to levels that are easily dealt with. Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows that my biggest coping mechanism is lists – I can’t function properly without them, and if they get lost or out of date then there will be a very worried Zoe wandering around. There are other things too, but they all lean towards being organised. I’m talking synced diaries, using apps to manage my lists, doing things way in advance. And then there is making sure I eat properly, exercise, relax and sleep. It doesn’t always work, but I try.
Confused.com have asked bloggers to write about a gadget that might help them de-stress their life in 2013. And as my New Year’s resolution is to be true to myself, being less stressed and anxious definitely comes into that.
I imagine many people will say the thing that will help them de-stress is either a computer, tablet or decent smart phone. I absolutely agree, 100% – they can and will help you get organised and keep you connected. I use mine all the time; I use my iPad constantly – my various calendars are all on there along with my to do lists, it reminds me when I’m supposed to be doing something, it means I can make the most of my time getting organised wherever I am. One or more of those things can also help with your productivity, there is no doubt about that.
I am lucky in that I already have those things. I would very much like to replace my iPad 2 with a nice new one, but for the purposes of this blog post I thought I should consider the other elements of stress relief. Things away from a screen. Sleep, healthy eating, exercising and relaxation.
My first thought was that I could do with a gadget to help me relax. Perhaps something to clear my head, help me forget the stuff of the day, keep me occupied, encourage me to stand up and move around. What what? An air hockey table of course!
Think about it – me and LincsGeek could set it up in the “blue room” (one of the spare bedrooms is blue…) and hold regular tournaments after tough days at work. It might even count as exercise if we were being particularly energetic! I love air hockey, it’s loads of fun, it’s just the sort of thing to do when you’re feeling a little bit uptight; a fun physical game to de-stress at the end of the working day. It would also result in more visits from my sister for sure – and you can’t beat a long chat with your sister to help put the world to rights.
Ideally I’d want a proper arcade table – you know, with the air holes and the digital scoring system?! But oh my goodness, no wonder you have to put £1 in for each play – how much?! A cool £4,695 for the one pictured above. They’re gorgeous though, and would definitely help with my stress levels. Yes?!
Ok I know, I have to come back down to earth and think of something much more sensible. Sometimes sensible is so boring! I want an air hockey table!! Cough. Sorry. Yes.
Seriously, the gadget that I think would make a massive difference in my life would be a SAD lamp and alarm clock. I wonder every year if I suffer from SAD – I always struggle with the dark mornings, it ruins my sleep patterns, I am lethargic and end up overtired. I go from being unable to sleep at all to sleeping for hours and hours and struggling to get up in the morning. And either way I get to 2.30pm and I am pretty much done – lethargy takes over and I really can’t be bothered any more. Stress comes so easily when you’re overtired.
SAD alarm clocks are supposed to help you wake up happy. They simulate sunrise (and even play suitable noises) to give you a good start to the day. Waking up gradually with light wakes you up with more energy and improves day-to-day well being I like the sound of that. I’ve never tried one but I’ve heard lots of good things about them – they are very expensive for an alarm clock, out of my price range for an experiment. In the same way, SAD light boxes are designed to give you simulated natural light whenever you feel a dip in energy during the day – the long dark days can often lead to a dip in your mood. These light boxes produce blue light like a clear summer sky, which naturally increases energy levels and helps fight the winter blues.
I reckon that teaming the Philips Coloured Sunrise Simulation Wake Up Light (£130) for first thing in the morning with the Philips goLITE BLU Energy Light (£255) for when I get home from work would really help me to de-stress in 2013. If I had to choose one or the other I think the alarm clock would probably be most useful. Starting the day and evening in a better frame of mind should help me be productive, feel organised, and be able to face things as they crop up without tiredness and lethargy. All leading to a less stressed Zoe. What do you think Confused.com?
Oh, and while I was researching this post I came across an absolutely brilliant idea… the bubble wrap calendar! I expect one of these for Christmas this year please! Although I reckon I’d have popped to the end of November by the endf of the first week in January!