A site called “A Circle of Christian Women” has a list of “100 Ways to Reduce Stress.” Let’s take a look at this thing:
1. Get Enough Sleep
2. Wake up 15 minutes early.
Uh. Doesn’t one contradict the other? And why should the woman get up fifteen minutes early? Since this is a “Christian” woman site I’m going to assume the focus is on married women, so why can’t hubby get up early? Oh haha what am I saying, of course wifey has to get up early to prepare everything for everyone else.
3. Prepare for the morning the night before.
4. Avoid tight-fitting clothes.
5. Don’t rely on your memory.
Um, what. That’s all they say; you really need to qualify a statement like that with some explanation and tips, like “stress can make us forget things; keep a to-do list handy just in case.” Or else it sounds like you’re saying “you flighty woman, you know you can’t remember shit and it gets you all stressed out. Chillax and ask your husband!”
6. Practice preventative maintenance.
O-kay, though they don’t say of what — car, house, you? I’m thinking they’re referring to health, because treating our bodies like cars that need regular oil changes is so American. (Stay tuned, I’ll have more to say on that subject.)
7. Make duplicate keys and store them where you can get to them.
Sensible, but who doesn’t do that. Oh I forgot — “women are so flighty and silly they need to be told to make duplicate keys.”
8. Say “no” more often.
9. Set priorities in your life.
10. Avoid negative people.
11. Use your time wisely.
12. Simplify everything you can.
I’d like to know who the Christian woman, who is supposed to devote her life to family and God, is allowed to say “no” to. Besides Satan of course. I’m going to assume this list is designed for everyday normal stress, not “Satan is here and he wants your soul” stress. So, who can the average Christian woman, who is supposed to be agreeable, say “no” to? Her kids, I guess, when they want snacks between meals, to stay out past 8 PM on a school night, or to be gay, I guess. As for number 9., that’s funny. I thought proper Christian women let others (God, their husbands) set priorities for them. I guess those priorities then are “do what God and your husband say, because their commandments are one and the same.”
Sorry, I’m letting my snark show aren’t I? Okay, on to number 10- avoid negative people. Gosh. What if those people are the ones they live with? Like, say, their husband? Numbers 11 and 12 sound like my New England-bred grandmother’s “use it up/wear it out/make it do/do without” dictum. Other than that I have no real objection to them, unless it’s to point out that a Christian wife and mother is not always the one in charge of how her time is used. (Nor are any of us, but let’s focus.)
13. Make copies of important papers and store them where you’ll be able to find them.
Okay, again, who doesn’t do this? Well, lots of people actually… but again this sounds a lot like a “you silly woman” thing. And also there are “important papers” that copies of are generally useless, like things that are notarized and stamped — house deeds and so on. I don’t know what good a copy would be in case of, say, a fire, if it’s one of those documents that needs to be original to be recognized. A better suggestion would be to get a safety deposit box or fireproof safe for your important papers. Just my two cents.
14. Repair anything that doesn’t work properly.
Yeah, do it yourself. I guess. (Note: repairing some things is sometimes more expensive than just chucking the broken desk lamp and buying another one for five bucks at Walmart. YMMV.)
15. Ask for help.
American advice always has this in it, but we don’t mean it. Asking for help, as everyone knows, just reveals that you’re a useless moocher and parasite and also a loser and weak so go ahead, carry those cinder blocks from the car to the garage wall you’re fixing yourself (because your husband has a golf meeting with the pastor and your kids are ages 3, 5, and 7). Your ruined back will prove to the world that you’re a martyr to Doing It Yourself And Being Good Frontier Wife all in one.
16. Chunk down big jobs into little ones.
Carry the cinder blocks one at a time. (As long as you can get them all piled up before it’s time to make dinner.)
17. View problems as challenges.
18. Look at challenges as opportunities.
This is an American list for Americans. No one else says goofy shit like this as if it were a real thing that people believed.
19. Unclutter your life.
Leave the church, divorce your husband, dump the kids at Grandma’s… oh that’s not what you meant. Sorry, I’m untrainable.
21. Be prepared for rain.
22. Laugh at something.
23. Pet a dog or cat
24. Don’t try to know all the answers.
25. Look for the silver lining.
26. Say something nice to someone.
27. Teach a kid to fly a kite.
28. Walk in the rain.
29. Schedule some time each day to play.
Here it is, in a nutshell: the training American women get into being nicey-nice Miss Sunshine Happy Face at all fucking times no matter what. Turn that frown upside down! Be nice to everyone! Don’t think too many thoughts — they make frown lines! Be a giggly happy playmate! Be nice to everyone no matter how they fuck you over! Also bonus aim-her-at-a-kid, any kid: just grab some random kid off the street and teach them to fly a kite, never mind whether they want to learn to fly a kite or not, whether or not you even have access to a kite, or the outdoors. Anything but have a moment alone without some freshly-spawned human mite dependent on you. Good God.
Anyway I’m tired of copying-and-pasting. The list just goes on and on, telling women to de-stress by doing things like putting air-fresheners in their car, going to a ball game and screaming (I hate sports, so no), and the last one, my personal favorite: “stop counting things.” No really, that’s number 100 on this list. Well then.