The Coolest Girl in the Neighborhood

7 years ago by

Do you ever get anxiety attacks?

Right now, for example, I’m sitting at a table in a café, my laptop is in front of me, my Skype is on and in constant flow with my team, my phone is next to me, notifications ready to pounce. I have fifty emails waving their red flags at me in a corner of my brain, thirty ideas waiting to be written down somewhere before they self destruct and I’ve just posted a photo on Instagram, which means I’ve got perma-scroll eating away at me.

So as I balance on top of this unending avalanche, I’m writing to you to talk about my stress. Haha.

So here’s what I’m going to do if you give me two seconds. Close out of Skype. Put my phone away in my bag, close my email, write down my ideas so I don’t have to think about them anymore. And breathe, a big, deep breath. One more.

And finally say to you: Hey, how’s it going today?

Me? Yeah, I’m fine.

I’ve always been sensitive to stress. My brain is like Soul Cycle. It never stops thinking, never stops coming up with solutions, analyzing every instant, and giving meaning to everything. Never stops thinking about the past. Thinking about the future. Thinking about how the past could have changed the future.

My thoughts never stop. Everyone who knows me knows it. My brain is always bubbling. Two thousand ideas per second, which can either be inspiring or totally exhausting.

Add to that my digital brain (my phone) that’s also permanently exploding, and you’ll understand the permanent rave party I’m living in.

This temperament makes me prone to muscular tension (Ow, my neck! Ow, my shoulders!), food compulsions (omg why did I eat those cookies, I wasn’t even hungry!? And they weren’t even good!!!) and, on my darkest days, anxiety attacks that give my anxiety attacks anxiety attacks.

When all I want is to be the most chill girl in the neighborhood.

The most chill girl in the neighborhood!

You know, the girl who goes around totally relaxed as if a Bob Marley song is constantly playing in the background, delicately bringing down the pace and sending out good vibes everywhere she goes. She speaks slowly, she articulates well, like Brigitte Bardot, who always made it seem like she had plenty of time.

She’s got a ray of sunlight in her eyes, a slight smile on her lips and the soothing grace of people who know there’s no point in freaking out.

To get to that state of grace, I’ve tried everything.

And you know what? I have found a few answers, the real ones.

So I thought it was time to share them with you. Here we go…

I tried smoking joints.

Why not?

Let’s be real, (especially not now that more and more states are legalizing cannabis) marijuana is all around us and always has been, and apparently for a lot of people, it works. So that’s how one day when I was complaining about having trouble falling asleep (at a particularly stressful time in my life) a friend lent me a little box with everything I needed to smoke.

Of course, I’d already tried it! When I was twenty, everyone I knew smoked joints. But I’d never liked the extreme version of it, getting super “high,” the contest to see who could roll a super long joint with 18 rolling papers. Haha, we’re so stupid when we’re twenty. Plus, I really didn’t like the taste, and while it seemed to make my friends roll around on the floor laughing, the only thing it did for me was make me super hungry and want to fall asleep, no matter where I was. Like on a park bench.

It definitely wasn’t my thing. So in one of my first acts of self-affirmation, I decreed that I didn’t smoke marijuana.

But once I had my mini-kit in hand, I figured it couldn’t hurt to try again. I hate taking medicine, and the longer this went on, the more exhausted I was. Being exhausted makes you ugly and depressed. It’s a vicious cycle. I had to get some sleep.

Plus, I did the math: if I fell asleep before I could get to my pantry, I wouldn’t have to suffer from the instant increase in my appetite. I tried, and it worked.

One hit was enough, by the way. That’s how sensitive I am to it.

Once my life calmed down again, and my sleep went back to normal, I stopped using it naturally.

Really, I’ll never like the taste.

AND THEN ONE DAY LIKE ANY OTHER at the Studio a few weeks ago, we receive a little tin of chocolates. And me, of course, I see the chocolate, I eat the chocolate. It’s automatic, don’t even think about it, that’s how I am.

And not just one square. Who can eat just one square of chocolate?

So I munch away on the chocolates without even thinking about it, and I start to feel, how can I put this…I feel good, REALLY GOOD.

That’s when Natalie says to me: what’s this CBD chocolate you were eating, Garance? And that’s when I look at the tin. Almost empty. And I realize that the chocolates are made with CBD, one of the ingredients in…cannabis.

SHIT. I’M GOING TO GO ON A TRIP INTO OUTER SPACE, RIGHT HERE IN THE STUDIO, in front of my team who is already starting to give me funny looks?

They burst out laughing.

I take a closer look at the label, and that’s when I understand. CBD is an ingredient in cannabis, but it doesn’t have the psychotropic effects.

However, it does have anti-stress and anti-anxiety properties, as well as anti-inflammatory effects, which I’ll tell you about one day.

The recommended dose is one or two per day, and I’d just eaten six.

So I go home that day in a soft little cloud, smiling and cozy.

And I reordered another tin of magic chocolate (one more reason to eat chocolate!) and I have to say, ever since, CBD has saved me from stress more than once.

I’ve tried acupuncture.

I’m always hearing people say: Aaaah, acupuncture, it changes your life!

And since my quest in life is to find things that are life-changing, I made an appointment right away, and arrived starry-eyed, ready for my new life.

Except the friend who recommended this acupuncturist forgot to tell me he only spoke Chinese (how was I supposed to explain my symptoms?) and that in acupuncture, the scariest part isn’t the needles. Ohhhh no.

The needles are nothing. You close your eyes, you feel a little pinch, and if you don’t look (I mean, I can’t look at my body covered in needles, can you?)(It reminds me of Hell Raiser, remember the poster for that horror film?) you forget they’re even there.

NO. The real scary part is having to stay lying down, all alone in the dark for at least twenty minutes.

Twenty minutes alone, making sure not to move so you don’t push a needle in too far, and having no idea how much time has gone by. So it’s twenty minutes of: have I been in the dark for one minute? Has it been four hours? Has my acupuncturist forgotten about me? Should I scream? Shit, my right knee itches, what do I do? I’m cold, I’m thirsty, I’m hungry, I’m panicking!!!

When the acupuncturist finally reappeared, I was a little puddle of anxiety and all I wanted at that point was to be freed from my immobile prison. I paid and never went back.

Till more recently, full of good intentions in my quest for spirituality, calm, and health, I let myself be convinced again.

In the meantime, meditation had come into my life (I’ll talk about that in a second) and staying immobile for an indefinite amount of time didn’t scare me anymore. I chose an acupuncturist who spoke English, which allows me to spill everything about my emotions at the beginning of every session (yes, I have a tendency to mistake any doctor person pole for a therapist) and my acupuncturist, before she leaves me alone in the dark, always says to me: I’m going to leave now, but I’ll put this buzzer in your hand. If anything bothers you, just buzz me, okay?

So that’s how I finally discovered the treasures of acupuncture. After my first few visits, honestly, I didn’t notice any results, but I promised myself I’d persist. Plus, the half-hour of meditative calm wasn’t disagreeable. Then little by little, I started to notice changes in how I felt before and after acupuncture. There was a deep feeling of well-being that stayed with me for hours.

Hey, I don’t know if it will make me the most chill girl in the neighborhood, but on mornings when I’ve had acupuncture, I can tell you, I float around in a little cloud of well-being that I try to share with everyone around me.

Which is the state I’ve been trying to achieve forever.

The only negative is that with this kind of thing, you kind of have to keep going for life. And right now, I want to find quick solutions that can be activated easily.

I’ve tried yoga.

No need to write a thesis for you about yoga, yoga REALLY changed my life. I’ve already told you about that, even if after all these years, I’m still just as bad at it. I don’t have a “yoga” body (I’m not flexible enough, surprising given my temperament, right?) I don’t have the “yoga” competitive spirit (come on, of course there’s a crazy amount of competition in yoga, stop pretending)(or maybe it’s just a New York thing?) and I certainly don’t have the “yoga” self-discipline.

(Sometimes I stop doing yoga for a whole year).

(Right now I’m getting back into it and I’m back at square one. Hatha for beginners, haha!).

But even practiced like a loser from outer space, yoga has still changed my life, and like all things that are truly life-changing, it happens little by little, with no real warning, without me even realizing.

Yoga taught me little things that I use every minute of my life, like:

· How to quiet the noise around me. Balancing exercises, which are easy but require intense concentration, are an incredible way to calm the tempest inside.

· How to use my smile to calm myself. They often tell you in yoga to relax your face! Smile! At first it seems ridiculous. We’re so used to putting on our “making an effort face“ whenever we work our muscles – our eyebrows go down and our jaws tense up. But that’s the perfect time to put on a calm smile, and smiling has a direct effect on our emotional state. When I’m freaking out, I try to relax my muscles and smile. It works right away.

· How to meditate, of course…

But it’s a vast subject (and if you’re like me, you’re probably very tired of people talking your ear off about it) and I’m realizing this post is getting longer and longer and longer…So why not stop there for now, so I can get back to my ten thousand notifications, and I promise to share my other “secrets” with you (well, okay, they’re not really secrets, but just things that really WORK!) in an upcoming post!? What do you say?

And in the meantime, if you have any anti-stress techniques to share, I’m always super happy to hear them!

Translated by Andrea Perdue


Add yours
  • Ha merci Garance pour ces tips! Je suis comme toi, ça tourne tout le temps là-dedans, dans tous les sens, nuit et jour! J’ai une contracture dans le bas du dos qui apparemment serait là à vie… Je compatis donc, je compatis fortement!!!
    Sinon, il y a le truc (mais je crois que tu en avais déjà parlé aussi) de penser tous les soirs avant de s’endormir au plaisir tiré de 5 choses que tu as faites dans la journée. Je trouve que ça marche très bien : ça m’évite de partir dans tous les sens et tous les soirs je me rends compte qu’il y a vraiment 5 choses super qui me sont arrivées dans la journée, ce qui m’aide à m’endormir détendue et réellement reconnaissante. Sinon autre truc qui est génial (et que tu vas comprendre de suite car tu en as aussi parlé) : la randonnée : un sandwich, un thermos de café, une boussole, un itinéraire inconnu et c’est parti pour des heures de pure détente, car concentrée sur la découverte de la nature autour de toi et sur la nécessité de se repérer, ça fait oublier tous les tracas qui paraissent bien lointains.

  • Haann pour moi la randonnée à l’effet complètement inverse ! Je pense à mille trucs et il m’est impossible de me relaxer ^^

  • Well the first thing I’m doing is ordering some of those chocolates! (I always buy chocolate for my friends as it, in itself, makes some nice hormonal bursts. Never mind this new version!)

    I have always gone for long walks. I love going either really early in the morning or after dark. I walk through quiet neighbourhoods. I have no phone along but do occasionally listen to Beethoven or something like that. My thoughts come and then they go. Anything driving me nuts is gone over assiduously and then evaporates. I always feel completely content on the way back.

  • Do you know Beethoven himself went for daily walks?

  • C’est marrant Garance mais je suis tout à fait dans cet état d’esprit en ce moment (les crises d’angoisse qui provoquent d’autres angoisses haha). Je suis Taureau comme toi et je pense qu’on se pose trop de questions au lieu de se laisser aller à notre propre flow.
    Dans mon cas, je n’ai pas beaucoup le temps (petit chou de 2 ans à la maison) donc j’essaye vraiment d’écouter mon corps et de méditer seule, dès que je peux.

  • Thank you for sharing your experiences on how to be stress-free, or even slightly stress-free! I swear by an hour long massage once a month. It truly works wonders and helps with lessening neck stiffness. And you have convinced me to try meditation again. If only I could figure out how to meditate without cracking up laughing. xoxo

  • It isn’t how many things you have to do; it’s whether you think you can achieve them to the quality you think is necessary. Note that I said “think” twice. Because sometimes you CAN achieve them, but you don’t believe it yourself. And sometimes you’re hung up on achieving a level of quality that nobody but you expects. So a lot of stress is in our heads, with us sabotaging ourselves. We sabotage ourselves in other ways, too, by being “busy” with things that are unimportant and that make it all the harder for us to accomplish the important stuff in the remaining time.
    Stress is also about lack of control, real or imagined. Something like a health problem is out of our control. The economy is out of our control, yet we CAN control how it affects us, by dialing down our needs.
    It’s important to learn to react to stress in a positive, healthy way like yoga and meditation. It’s also important to learn how not to get stressed to begin with.

  • As B.B. is a couple of years older as you…don’t worry…You can learn it but takes time and you will be the most
    chilled old lady in your neighborhood.

  • Me voilà plus calme tout à coup… Une bronchite asthmatiforme me colle devant mon ordi alors que je devrais faire des cartons, des tas de cartons, pour préparer le déménagement de notre cabinet et de notre maison, gérer Orange, le cablage, l’informaticien, la déco de notre futur home, Ananbô, Les Ottomans, tout en vrac, le gros dossier à boucler pour le 12 décembre, la taille du frigo, l’orthodontiste à annuler pour mon fils, le collaborateur qui refuse de faire ces foutus cartons aujourd’hui alors que c’est la seule chose dont je suis capable, trier jeter archiver mais pas toute seule au secours… promis je m’inscris au yoga dès qu’on a déménagé!

  • I can only say that yoga changes my life evey day.. there is no other thing/person i can be as voluntarily committed as to this practice.. and it’s never too late to try it.. :)))
    Georgian girl in Berlin ;)

  • J’ai testé le canabis cet été avec un space cake. Mon mec a commencé à méga flipper et on s’est retrouvés aux urgences. Au final nous allions très bien, je me souviens encore de l’infirmière en chef qui nous dit “vous êtes quand même pas très malin-malin vous hein” (en néerlandais alors que je suis francophone, heureusement mes misérables bases restaient atteignables par mes neurones emmêlés). Après 1h d’observation ils nous ont fichu dehors. C’était marrant et inquiétant, je me rappelle du taximan qui nous ramenait chez nos amis et de mon copain qui lui dit “si si maintenant je vous jure c’est à gauche, je me souviens” “ok, je vous fait confiance..” et moi de dire “en même temps là vous faites confiance à des jeunes complètement défoncés…” (même sous influence je reste pragmatique).

  • Bonjour Garance, super ton poste.
    Je suis une fervente lectrice qui lit tous tes posts (oui, j’ai remonté jusqu’en 2006, oui, hé, hé). Sympa l’histoire du chocolat! Tout le monde s’y met au cannabis: j’ ai vu dans un magasine féminin un truc sur des tampons de protections pour nous au cannabis (oui madame) – pour soulager des crampes.
    Et sinon ma recette pour gérer stress et angoisse ( taureau moi aussi et sujette aux angoisses): c’est réciter un mantra . Une heure par jour en moyenne. A haute voix bien sur. C’est une forme de méditation aussi.
    Bon aprés-midi à NY! (suis en Provence, il va faire nuit bientôt))

  • J’ai aussi le cerveau qui tourne à mille à l’heure à tel point qu’une nuit, j’avais 15 ans, j’ai rêvé que je m’enlevais la tête, que je la tenais dans les mains, entourée de seaux d’eau qui contenait ma tête. Un peu gore, mais j’ai toujours compris ce rêve comme une quête désespérée de faire taire mes pensées. Et depuis toujours je cherche un moyen de me faire greffer dans le cerveau une sorte d’interrupteur qui me permettrait de le mettre en mode off. Si mon cerveau m’a permis de réussir une multitude de petites choses, aujourd’hui, alors que je burne-out, il est mon pire ennemi. Et je cherche désespérément un moyen de me recentrer (le yoga, c’est fait ; la méditation, c’est fait ; et pourtant je me sens toujours aussi désespérée) Donc merci pour tes posts, merci pour ta franchise, merci pour tes conseils.

  • Meditation really is as amazing as everyone says, I started a regular practice this year (every morning!) and I’ve noticed a huge difference in the way I feel this holiday season compared to last year. (I have a handmade jewelry business, and it’s basically just me over here, so when the holidays hit and I get slammed it is STRESSFUL.)(But I love it, and some of my hoops were on this blog once, in the corner of a pile of jewelry, proudest moment.) But with the meditating, and consciously trying to “let go of what no longer serves me” this past Scorpio season (aka mid-fall), I’ve created a much calmer season for myself, and I’m having fun dreams about partying with friends, instead of going to sleep with a ball of anxiety in the pit of my stomach and dreaming about bad things happening to my cats. (I also had my first lucid dream with flying the other night, it was amazing.) Also, I’m ordering those chocolates!!

  • Sunny Side November, 29 2016, 10:54 / Reply

    Ce que je préfère pour lâcher le brainstorming incessant, c’est marcher des heures au bord de l’eau entre le ciel et l’horizon. Mais je, tu, nous vivons en ville et le stress s’accroit et se multiplie. Pendant longtemps j’ai pratiqué le Tai Ji et cela me faisait l’effet de ton chocolat planant. Je faisais d’une pierre trois coups car mon prof chinois étant aussi acupuncteur nous faisions circuler l’énergie des méridiens , c’était super méditatif et j’adorais bouger de cette façon. Je vais recommencer cet hiver. J’aime trop ces sensations et en plus c’est très inspirant.

  • I can completely relate to this post. I’m also a Taurus, so maybe some similar tendencies? I analyze everything, overthink, and hold my tension in my neck/shoulders/jaw. As an aside, there is supposedly a relationship between body shape and stress. If you’re an apple shape (gain weight around your midsection and upper body), you are more prone to stress-related issues. If you’re a pear shape (gain weight around your butt/thighs), you’re not as sensitive to stress. (I’m definitely an apple.)

    A few things I find helpful:
    1) Take a deep breath. It makes you pause, and helps you get grounded in the present.
    2) Slow down. As in, literally move more slowly. When stressed, I zip around like a chicken with its head cut off, and I’ve definitely accidentally broken things because I was rushing around. If I can catch myself moving quickly, I try to force myself to just slow down. It’s hard, but when you make yourself move slower physically, it can help you mentally calm down, too.

    I think rushing vs slowing down has a lot to do with feeling like if we do more things, our life is fuller. But actually, I think it may be the opposite. When we slow down and really soak up moments, both big and small, and are invested in being where we are RIGHT NOW versus focused on what’s coming up next, maybe that’s when you’re actually creating a fuller life. (Paradoxically, do less, have “more” in your life?) Easier said than practiced because we have always been taught to plan ahead and think about the future, but working on it!

    Thanks for the great post!

  • Would love to hear more about meditation!

  • I find being in nature is a de-stresser for me and/or a warm bath. Not always convenient though. In a “suddenly” stressful moment I use deep breathing.

  • I have two things that help me.

    1. Making things with my hands. For me, it’s usually knitting or bread. I can carry some small knitting in nearly any bag to nearly any place. (It helps, too, to keep me from reaching for my phone whenever I’m waiting – the phone increases my crazymind swirl.) Sometimes I try sewing; often the results are terrible. It’s okay when “results” are terrible. It’s about the process.

    2. I recently entered my 40s and gave myself full permission to give way fewer f*cks – especially in the face of work/life demands that lead me to crazymind swirling. I give a f*ck about kindness, curiosity, creativity, and solidarity. The rest? I’m in my 40s now – I have permission to not give a f*ck. (Maybe it’s kind of like a mantra?)

  • Thanks , for all the solutions, I have a hit of the herb before bed, as you age and the estrogen leaves, (I’m 73)….also goes being able to sleep well, and I do need sleep or I’m a zombie bitch the next day, and drink way to much coffee to compensate……….meditation, challenging if we were not raised as young children practicing, I like to see photos of nature or have a chance to be in nature, that’s my meditation…….now for yoga…..for years I’ve tried to do the postures and because I was not perfect or limber, would not even go to a yoga class and would stop yoga, now I’ve found and amazing young woman, who blows all our ideas about being perfect and all our negative body images away , she does it her way, and her name is, check this out if you truly want to be inspired, grounded and have some great laughs doing your postures……….we all are a work in progress and truly our worst enemies …..relax…….you’ll never get it done……Happy Holidays to all of you….

  • I guess we (ME first), have to learn to put things into perspective. Learn to breath. Take a step back.

  • This post really made me smile : ) Stress is a constant in my life and I certainly use some marijuana, edibles being my preferred vehicle. CBD’s can work wonders, I have enough going on in my brain and don’t need help tripping. I have recently been using a Nayoya acupuncture mat, it’s kind of fun in a ‘bed of nails’ sort of way, it promotes circulation and relaxation. I read about it in an article by Tim Ferriss, he is full of crazy ideas. I also make a point to go outdoors into nature, have I said that too many times? I know that can be more difficult if you live in the city, but perhaps hugging a local tree and taking deep breathes of fresh air. I can’t wait to hear more!

  • HAHAH, la compétition Yoga n’est pas spécifique à NYC! Je le vois à chaque fois que j’y vais, mais en même temps, je fais du yoga bikram qui est le yoga suprême ici à Montréal. Les filles qui font du bikram sont toutes minces, musclées, se décrivant comme “vegan niveau 5” (??? oui oui j’ai bien entendu ça au vestiaire) et porte les vêtements de yoga les plus sexy sur la terre. Si tu essayes le bikram j’attends vraiment de tes nouvelles. Moi ça me fait du bien car c’est très chaud et je me sens comme si je sortais du spa après. Et côté perte de poids ça m’aide vraiment bcp.
    Sinon le pot, au contraire me rend super super fatiguée mais m’empêche de dormir! Mais ce n’est pas comme aux états-unis ici, où tu peux acheter ton type de pot pour des besoins précis.

  • Je souffre du même problème. Les autres trouvent ça fascinant, moi, des fois, ça me fatigue…
    La seule solution a été le combo: yoga/méditation. Au début, je me disais “quoi, méditer, penser à rien? mais rien, c’est quelque chose, je ne peux pas penser à rien?”… Puis j’ai essayé avec des gens qui savent vraiment faire et guider. Et j’ai compris…
    Ca a changé ma vie.
    Parfois, j’oublie.
    Puis je reprends un peu le yoga et la méditation, je respire, et je fais le vide!
    Je n’ai rien trouvé de mieux!

  • Come on girls, about 98% of people overthink and have a very active brain, full of different things, from daily problems to ideas of all kinds. It’s just that some people manage to stay more calm.
    I am trying to improve, it’s hard work sometimes and sometimes my efforts result only in total failure to stay calm, but I will never rely on substances of any kind, cannabis or benzodiazepins (unless I am truly devastated by a big loss or something terrible like that). Relying on such artificial chemical help is an acceptation to surrender, really not good for your ego on the long run.
    You have to secrete your own, endogenous calming molecules and learn your brain to cool off, that’s the only decent way.
    First, stop describing you, thinking about you as a person with an overactive brain. Pretend you can change, otherwise you will never change. Pretend you are Madame Clara in the great brazilian movie ”Aquarius”, pretend you do have time to swimm the sea, take a nap etc. That’s what I am trying to do.
    Yoga is certainly fine, and sports is definitely a very good option. For me, a good swimm reset my stress levels to acceptable levels, or even totally relax me. All endurance activities are suppliers of calming endorphins.
    And of course, beat the stressors at their sources : I understand it is very difficult, working in the fashion industry, not to worry about image for example, but it is a major source of stress. Try not to care about what other people think of you. If you catch yourself caring about that sometimes, take the time to think about how ridiculous it is.

  • Hello Garance: Wonderful post today and right on the money. From personal experience, I know how daunting it is to be “left alone” with your thoughts and needles in your body from Acupuncture.
    As an acupuncturist myself I have created the right balance (I think) of privacy and support. Working one on one, with a curtain for privacy, I stay in the room during the treatment…finish the treatment with maybe some light massage…maybe a bit of Thai Yoga Massage once the client is back with their feet on the ground…some tea?…some deep breathing…a guided visualization perhaps?
    Yup, it’s magic. People heal at different speeds and levels and I believe I’ve found my niche in a busy market, of how I would like to be treated to be healed …and many others need this as well.

  • Même combat ici, avec un cerveau qui tourne à plein régime 24h/24. Le yoga m’a vachement aidé, ainsi que la méditation et surtout, la vie… Et oui, sans trop savoir pourquoi, je dors beaucoup, beaucoup mieux qu’avant! Et je respire mieux qu’avant (c’est la clé de tout, non?).
    Enfin, il y a ce très bon article critique du NYT sur tous ces sujets :

  • Bon moi je n’ai pas vraiment de truc anti stress mais je peux te parler d’expérience : je suis la fille la plus cool du quartier. (En plus en tant que telle je ne suis pas une fausse modeste)
    Et je vais te dire chest joen j’ai la vie douce, je ne m’énerve pas j’ai le sourire au lèvre et le soleil dans l’œil tout ça.
    Mais je ne suis pas la blogueuse qui a tout changé. Et je n’ai pas l’ambition de le devenir. moi mon truc c’est d’être cool. Je le c’est et j’assume.
    Et en tant qu’experte es cool je peux te dire un truc : il y a rien de moins cool que de vouloir l’être. Être cool c’est peut-être avant tout être soi même. Même si ça veut dire etre une boule d’angoisse.
    Je sais c’est paradoxal, mais c’est la vie, cool.

  • Pour de-stresser, j’ai des solutions qui marchent pour moi : dessiner, ecouter de la musique (allongee, c’est mieux), marcher au parc autour du lac et reciter un mantra !

  • Je fais du Taichi depuis plusieurs années et ça marche très bien…C’est le seul truc qui m’a évité le burn out quand je travaillais dans la pub et que je faisais des soirées charrettes en permanence…Mais j’en conviens c’est répétitif et il faut s’astreindre à la contrainte (comme le yoga)! Dur dur!

    J’ai longtemps fait de l’acupuncture – qui m’a bien rendu service, et depuis une petite dizaine d’années je fais une thérapie sacro cranéale ( à mi chemin entre le reiki et l’osthéopathie) à raison d’une seance tous les 3 mois et je m’absente littéralement pendant les sessions (genre je dors mais je dors pas). L’avantage c’est que j’en ai rien à faire de rien pendant 2-3 semaines après la séance ( j’évacue et je me dégage de mes peurs essentiellement) et du coup j’ai des coups de chance et des opportunités marrantes qui se profilent – quand justement j’en ai rien à faire de rien!

  • I want to try this!

  • Meditation has profoundly helped me in my work as a public school educator. I’m so passionate about it that I just started a website for stressed-out teachers (or anyone) that I’m hoping can help and support “us” so that we can support others. (and I’m sure that many of my colleagues and friends are tired of hearing me talk about what a difference it can make!) ;-)

  • Meditation has changed my life, for sure. I love reading about differnt ways to relax (maybe because I’m constantly trying to haha).

  • Ana @champagnegirlsabouttown November, 29 2016, 6:43 / Reply

    Thank you Garance, I enjoyed this so much. I really needed to laugh a little after a stressful day :) How do I get hold of these chocolates in UK! What helped me a lot was foot and face reflexology. I used to think it was all this new age stuff but actually it worked a charm.

  • Madeleine November, 29 2016, 6:50 / Reply

    Well try some swimming!you become relaxed under the surface alone with yourself and swimming in your rhythm trying to focus on each part of the body!and the everything disappears! Bisous

  • Really liked your article. I have realised over the years that more and more people, especially women are suffering from stress, including myself. I am happy to finally read an article that expresses the real you with no fear of judgement.
    It took me years to understand that is actually stress deriving from the past. Past decisions, past relationships, past mistakes, past fears… I continue fighting my anxiety attacks with long walks, good music, talking to people about it, swimming, yoga, even just holding my husbands’ hand. Sometimes I win, sometimes I don’t…

  • Jenny Kozlow November, 29 2016, 9:02 / Reply

    Hi Garance,

    I suffer from panic attacks. Exercise and meditation really help. Something else I do is to put on a song or some music that I repsond to and even after a few tears a great sense of relief results.
    J x x

  • There are nothing you can DO, to relax. The secret is to do NOTHING.
    After a long sick-leave due to a “Burn out”, I learn my lesson. To survive in the stressful world of today, you have to let your brain and body have a day off per week, or at least every second week. I know, it’s hard, but we need that. One day without any “must do’s”. I try to spend my Sundays without computer, phone ( check my sms ONCE that day ) or any booked activities. I take a walk, read a book, do some gardening, cocking, or something else I like to do.

  • Hello Garance,

    Lorsque tu parles de ton état lorsque tu reviens de chez l’acupuncteur, ça me fait penser à la sensation que l’on a après avoir pratiqué une activité sportive; course, danse, escalade, peu importe.
    J’aime beaucoup tes articles relatant la recherche de ton “toi”, car c’est un sujet qui m’intéresse beaucoup. Par contre je pense qu’il serait assez chouette que tu partages aussi des moyens de se chercher et de se trouver qui sont accessibles aux petits budgets. Tout le monde n’a pas les moyens de faire plusieurs séances chez un acupuncteur par exemple. Le yoga par contre est une bonne idée, car on peut le pratiquer facilement chez soi en regardant des vidéos sur Youtube. Peut-être peux-tu nous conseiller des livres ? J’avais lu dans un article précédent sur le même sujet, une de tes lectrices qui conseillait le livre “Femmes qui courent avec les loups”. Aurais-tu des suggestions de lectures à nous faire ? Pour qu’on se fasse une petite commande de livre pour Noel !

    Belle journée,

  • J’ai l’impression de me lire! Sans cesse en train de gamberger et dès que je me pose au moment où je pourrais faire le vide la nuit ça mouline encore. J’ai essayé beaucoup de choses, le yoga m’a effectivement fait du bien, j’essaie de m’y tenir depuis 2 ans. L’acupuncture j’ai eu la meme expérience et ressenti que toi la 1ère fois : rien, froid, seule et pleine d’aiguilles! ah ah ah Mais cette histoire de chocolat au cannabis me tente!

  • Thanks for the post! Meditation also changed my life! I am recently practicing the 4-7-8 breathing (it’s a Yoga Pranayama technique) and it helps a lot in acute panic situations. It goes like this: breathe in counting to 4, hold your breath counting to 7, breathe out counting to 8. Repeat the cycle for four times. It lowers your heart rate, calms your nerves and keeps your mind away from ruminating thoughts because it is busy counting. :) It is supposed to help you fall asleep, but I do it everywhere… on the tube, when work becomes stressfull…an easy tool.

  • Well, it seems that my brain is not the only one that works that crazy way!
    I wish yoga would work for me, but I keep thinking while doing the asanas or even the meditation. What a shame!
    Here you have some things that have really helped to relax myself: puzzles, petit point, baking, reading novels I really enjoy…
    Merci pour tes astuces!!

  • Until a couple of months ago I thought I will never be a normal person again.Nothing seemed to work regarding stress/anxiety. And then I did colon cleanses. Apparently it was my gut that was the root of all my stress. I now feel light and ”normal”.A diet low in grains also helps, I will add! Good Luck!

  • Cracking up about the CBD chocolates! Would love to try those. Recently on a trip to Oregon to work with some colleagues and really, it was all the rage. CBD edibles and topical oil for pain management. Well for starters I think I would benefit from throwing my computer out the window. Oh, and my phone. I notice the velocity at which I spin and how unfocused I can become of 50,000 different things is just how it is with these devices and our bodies on a regular face off.
    I have no secret, I do all the things too that you mention…it is just being slow, laughing. Re-visiting the Slow Food Movement as the Slow Life Revolution

  • CATHERINE November, 30 2016, 3:05 / Reply

    Bonjour Garance, le stress me connait bien, et je me suis retrouvée dans la description de votre cerveau qui tourne sans s’arrêter. Ce qui marche pour moi, c’est la respiration ventrale, c’est à dire faire le contraire de la respiration habituelle, soit gonfler le ventre en inspirant et le rentrer en expirant; cela le plus lentement possible et en allant le plus loin possible dans l’extension et le creusement de l’abdomen. Cela fait des miracles, cette méthode m’a sauvée de la perte de contrôle lors de la naissance de mon fils. depuis je l’utilise régulièrement et je l’ai même enseignée à mes enfants quand ils stressent pour les interros…
    Sinon j’ai aussi un mantra que je me répète en boucle dans ma tête et très bizarrement, c’est en allemand…! c’est “ich shaffe es”, quelque chose comme “je vais y arriver”; peut-être est-ce la sonorité de la langue étrangère qui marche, mais ça fonctionne!
    Pour faire le plein de coolitude, je regarde des vidéos de Michelle Obama et d’Ellen. ET j’écoute la chanson “la mer opale” de Coralie Clément (soeur de Benjamin Biolay), il y a le bruit des flots, de la trompette (oui, oui, dans la 2ème partie) et ça m’apaise…

  • Intéressant…de lire que la femme qui apparaît à nos (mes) yeux comme la fille cool, mature, bien dans sa peau par excellence, n’est pas si différente de moi…peut être vais je arrêter d’attendre d’être cette fille cool pour me lancer puisqu’il n’y a pas de cause à effet apparemment?!
    Quant aux solutions…accepter son état de fille angoissée qui fera de nous la fille “cool qui s’assume” ;)!
    bah je vais tenter l’acupuncture, en espérant ne pas être une fois de plus déçue…

  • Reading a good book is very helpful for stress relief–it helps focus the mind and allows you to immerse yourself in another world without the television or internet.

    Garance where do you like to practice yoga in NYC?

  • Love it! CBD chocolates and acupuncture seem like a fabulous remedy to me. Nature is the only way to counteract all the technology overload. Wi-fi is brain fry no matter how hard we try to stay aligned it knocks our true connection. I can relate to all of the above yoga, meditation, various therapies but have found the real power is in the trees and sea! I also work with emotional clearance techniques and the trinfinity8 to release past trauma and pain and to help reset the brain and nervous system in feeling powerful, positive and peaceful again. Here’s to the state of grace!

  • 1. A good sweaty workout
    2. A hot magnesium salt bath
    3. Just cutting things out, delegating or saying no to things.

  • Garance, j’aime beaucoup lire tes article si personnels et cela ne fait pas exception ! Très chouette de pouvoir échanger ses astuces de survie en milieux stressé :) Moi, par exemple, j’ai découvert le shiat su : des points de compression qui décompressent ! … font travailler les organes vitaux donc ressourcent et apaisent. Cette technique est issue de la médecine chinoise. J’ai une copine qui se forme à Paris et à qui je sers de cobaye. ça marche très bien !

  • Mon, livre: Survivre dans un monde burnout. J’essaye juste d’appliquer ce que j’ai écrit => practice what you preach:
    En vente sur Amazon format papier ou Kindle:

  • Stephanie December, 1 2016, 10:02 / Reply

    Definitely trying your magic chocolate! Thanks for the recommendation! Hope you have a beautiful Advent season – stress free ????

  • This made me laugh, especially the part with the “special” chocolate. Absolutely great and so honest, I like that very much. I cannot stand the way people judge weed but drinking all the time. A lot. So I will spend the weekend in Amsterdam where everybody is fine with things that chill our mind.. :-)

    Greetz, Steffi /

  • Hahaha I’m glad I’m not the only one who has been doing yoga for a long time and yet is still completely, utterly inflexible! I went to physical therapy for my back for a little bit and the state of my hamstrings alarmed the physical therapist.

    I find running relaxing, too. Luckily I live somewhere I can do it outside for most of the year. The first part of the run, I am still turning over my daily problems and agitations (sometimes I have a good brainstorm though!), but by the end I am focused on making it through the run, and my surroundings. And afterwards I’m tired out enough that I don’t have the energy to be stressed! Makes me fall asleep like a baby, too.

  • Geraldine December, 1 2016, 3:38 / Reply

    Plusieurs trucs :
    marcher idéalement avec un chien, respirer idéalement avec le ventre
    Baiser idéalement avec son amoureux


  • I find myself as a 44 year old going back to how things were when my brain was being formed (no internet til age 24, no cell phone til age 30. I’m already wired, why fight nature?) I try not to be online except for fun or enriching stuff. I don’t watch stressful movies or TV shows (except Housewives eeeps). Personal drama is at a minimum. I walk. As a Christian I pray, read the Bible, worship and ground myself back to a timeless and ageless God who loves us all so deeply. I find that a lot of my stress was self-induced so I’m very careful what goes in my brain. Couldn’t cope with 99% of the media, TV shows and movies nowadays. Don’t use social media but spend lots of IRL time with people. Good luck out there, everyone!

  • Dear Garance

    Always beau blog/ drawings/ vibe
    Thank you X

    ~ The ‘ slow revolution’ / slow living … lots of things to read…

    ~ Goddess hour in the morning !
    Wake up & honour a brand new amazing day, light a candle, maybe bring some lemon tea to bed &
    be still …

    perhaps meditate cosily in bed…

    ~ the outdoors
    yes! time outside

    ~ tai chi is a beautiful practice

    ~ Thich Nhat Hahn
    zen Buddhist

    ” Breathe in calm
    Breathe out a smile ”

    Cosmic love X

  • My cher, you are worrying about being worried. Get tired. Dont just exercise, but walk all the way to somewhere, paint a house, wrangle some cows, repair a farm fence. Go to somewhere people need help and help them. Get out of yourself awhile. You are too focused on a cure for your worries and your well being. Forget yourself. Make a huge dinner and take it to someone who is in need. Treat your invading thoughts and anxieties as naughty puppies and tell them to sit!

  • Thank you, as always, for sharing. I follow your blog because we have similar interests, and similar brains, and it is always refreshing and soothing to hear you articulate the things (the real things in life) that you experience. It’s very comforting to know someone else is progressing through life on a parallel path, and I’m not alone. (Why do we always think we are alone?) I also appreciate the thoughtfulness you take in your approach to sharing such important topics. It’s apparent you’ve carefully considered how and when to share things. Thank you.

    Also, I’m fanatical about your podcast! KEEP GOING! You’re doing everything right. I gain so much from those conversations – pocket and interviews.

  • Everyone has excellent advice! Here’s what I’m learning works for me:
    * I’m in my first month of taking “Be Calm” (magnesium supplement) at night before bed and I’m actually sleeping through the night now….which I thought never happened over the age of 40! (I bet a magnesium salts bath would do the same thing). Turns out I was highly magnesium deficient – which leads to lots of symptoms. In particular, the magnesium is helping balance my electrolytes, my anxiety, the foot cramps I’d get at night, and the insomnia I had for three years.
    *I agree with the woman who said “get tired” – find things to do that exhaust you physically so you sleep well at night – letting your body restore itself. When I wasn’t getting enough sleep, it felt like my brain (or the nerves?) weren’t making the right connections and I’d start the day frazzled.
    *I don’t watch stressful shows or movies. I have enough stress in my life…don’t want to add more.
    *I sleep more soundly when I cut back on gluten. (bread occasionally, etc. but not bowls of pasta – they’re too heavy for me now)
    *Choose to stop thinking about your day or certain situations before bed. I choose to go through a bedtime routine (wash my face, etc.) and then settle in, ready to sleep – and I put on a show. I think it distracts my brain from my thoughts and relaxes me long enough to fall asleep. Then I use the sleep timer on my TV to turn off the TV for me so I don’t have to “think” to wake up enough to turn off lights, the TV, etc. Once I start thinking, my brain doesn’t shut off.

    I know just the women you are speaking of. Natalie Portman was on Jimmy Fallon’s show the other night and she was softspoken, kind, articulate, and brought peace to those around her. She had a sense of relaxation about her. But

    I’ve seen other women. I’ll be waiting for a flight and looking around, and one or two women out of the hundreds of people around me seem 100% content with themselves and are immersed in a book (a real book!) and are comfortable and seemingly oblivious to the people around them. They seem happy to be who they are, where they are – in that exact moment.

    I’d like to do that as well.

  • Annelie Joubert le Grange December, 2 2016, 10:21 / Reply

    Totally love you for your honesty Garance. I am the same…. just tell it all, like a crazy drunk craving, attention and approval LOL. So I often find my subtle madness being discussed on the grapevine. Sometimes that upsets me, but most of the time I just think – what the heck?! What you see is what you get. Most of all there is no phoniness surrounding us. And at the end of the day that is pure bravery. You go girl! We lovvvve you. Bisous

  • I take Ashwagandha when I’m stressed (it’s an Ayurvedic herb). It is AMAZING. I kid you not, I take it and no matter how anxious I am, it takes my anxiety away.

    It’s the only thing I’ve tried and it works!

  • Getting older made me chill.
    I guess having children made me chill.
    Fewer things seem really, life-stoppingly, important.
    And you see the stripped down important things for what they are – beautiful.
    And that helps with the chill, no?! That and giving less of a shit about the opinions of others.

    And hatha for beginners, which, done well, is an extreme art of chill.
    Perfecting the basic is the most chill of all.

  • I have just given birth on Monday … Since then our little baby girl stopped time and gave most things other priorities …

  • Try kundalini yoga….I thought it’s some stupid hippie crap, but oh it’s SO GOOD!!! Here is a helpful link:

  • Cet article, c’est moi. Je me suis tellement reconnue en le lisant donc déjà merci car je me sens moins seule :-)

    Entre autres choses, j’ai essayé le Shiatsu et c’est vraiment bien. Mais il faut être sure du praticien. Et tu peux y aller de temps en temps sans que ce soit forcément régulier mais ça permet de remettre les choses à leurs places, dans les bons tiroirs en somme.

  • Au secours!!! Je vais pas écrire la même chose. En revanche, je viens de flipper à lire les mêmes symptômes et l’expérience des mêmes remèdes ou presque avec un succès somme toute très relatif d’après ce que j’ai compris. Ca me rappelle une conversation avec ma sœur ce we qui me conseillait le yoga et la méditation etc pour “faire taire ma souffrance” (sic) … Quand j’en ai parlé à mon mec, il a rigolé. Sommé de s’expliquer, il m’a répondu “c’est le contraste qui m’amuse: toi et le Yoga, le feu et l’eau”…Bon voilà. Même pendant mon sommeil c’est la lutte. Quand je ne refais pas ma journée, en pire, je finis sur le bord du lit en équilibre. Vive les matins qui chantent et les courbatures!! Bref ça m’inquiète tout ça : c’est la quadrature du cercle. On pourrait accepter d’être une personne anxieuse comme il paraît qu’il faudrait s’accepter mais je comprends surtout et dans ton post et dans les commentaires que c’est fatiguant d’être soi-même quand on est comme ça. Toute cette énergie dépensée!! l’avantage pour moi c’est que je mange ce que je veux je ne grossis pas je consomme tout même sur mon canapé :) je sais c’est rageant

  • SoPHROLOGY…. Something between yoga/Pilates and mediation. Sophro breathing techniques allow to relax and bring you closer to meditative state – sophronic state (only then I can start medtitation…. ) Takes time and practice!

  • Thank you for these tips! I have never been able to master the patience to meditate, but I’ve found a way to trick myself into doing it. Head to the nearest waterfall or moving water (there are some good ones in Prospect Park but small parks and plazas all over the city often have a water feature too) and just commit to hang out and stare for 10 minutes. Voila! Instant chill. Joint recommended but not at all required.

  • Oh how I loved this article. It made me lough so hard since I found myself in your words and making me laugh like this, instantly made me more relaxed and less stressed out. So this helped me a lot.

    I just love your work!

    For me taking a walk with my dogs every morning is the best peaceful thing to do for my mind and body.

  • Hello Garance!

    I have been and continue to be informed and inspired by you and your newsletter and writings.

    I have recently moved to Los Angeles, and I would love the opportunity to teach yoga to you!

    Why should you do yoga with me?

    Because the yoga that I have been doing and teaching for almost 20 years is like nothing you have ever done before. This yoga will not only change your body but also your life… how you think about and do everything! I can help you experience increased attention, awareness and sensitivity, leading to ease and grace…and significantly decreased stress. It’s about working with our bodies in a way that continually develops our understanding of how the body is designed to be, so we move through releasing tension, which leads to length and space and freedom – it is truly sustainable! We listen to the body’s innate intelligence.

    When you listen to and are kind to your body, it will respond in the most beautiful way.

    Please find out more about me and this yoga here:

    I look forward to hearing from you!

  • I love yoga, and it makes me feel great! I am definitely not competitive about it. The most stressful part is showing up to class when life is constantly in flux. Like you, I sometimes will not go for weeks or months. I am resolving to be prioritize it and be more consistent with it in the new year!

  • Eckart Tolle!

  • Hello! Please try meditation! Vipassana meditation. I just did a 10-day-course here in Germany and I hat never thought it would be possible to stop thinking… Be happy :)

  • domiziana January, 5 2017, 12:53 / Reply

    how does one get the chocolates you allude to in your article? the link doesn’t work…thanks!

  • Natalie January, 5 2017, 2:01

    Hi Domiziana,

    It looks like the product sold out on the Sakara website! I’ve updated the link to reflect a version of the product that is in stock. Enjoy! x Natalie

  • Chris Cawley January, 10 2017, 12:00 / Reply

    Garance, love everything you right. Two suggestions for stress relief. One is a concoction of water, apple cider vinegar and raw honey. Take this before bed in warm water and sleep like a baby. Take this in the morning with cold water and get your day started! The other is breathing exercises, the relieve stress, quiet the mind and allow for much better focus. Look into the Wim Hof Method! It changed my life. Chris

  • Garance, would you mind sharing the name of your english speaking acupuncturist you mention in this article? I am a French girl living in NYC who really needs to see one -) Thanks

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