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5 Successful People on the Weirdest Ways They Like To De-Stress

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True story: whenever I’m feeling stressed, I like to brainstorm first and middle names for my future children. I’m not pregnant, I simply find it helps re-focus my energy on calming, happy thoughts. It even worked for me when I was single. On the opposite end of the spectrum — a friend once told me she reads the obituary section to de-stress because it immediately puts matters into perspective.

Stress is part of life, and while meditation, daily exercise, healthy eating, and proper breathing are some of the more common ways of reducing stress, there’s no one-size fits all technique. And sometimes — the weirder the method — the better the results. It’s why we asked five successful, but very different, individuals to share (in their own words) the weirdest way they like to de-stress. Let their answers inform, inspire, and entertain you.

Jeremy Ford: As the most recent winner of the grueling high stakes culinary competition, Top Chef, Jeremy Ford is no stranger to stress. Off-screen, the Florida native balances fatherhood with running the kitchen at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Matador Room in Miami Beach.

On his weirdest way to de-stress:
“To a lot of people, wrestling and trying to choke out your opponent while dodging multiple attacks to your bones and ligaments does not sound like the most fun-filled way to de-stress, however, Brazilian Jiui Jitsu training in the morning before my day gets hectic is the best; it clears my mind in a way that’s unexplainable!”

Patricia Moreno: In an attempt to end her personal battle with weight, eating disorders, and body image issues, New York-based fitness instructor, Patricia Moreno, created the intenSati Method in 2005 (Sati means a state of awareness without judgement). It’s essentially a sweat-inducing cardio workout and spirituality session all rolled into one — and its success has led to a book deal, speaking engagements, and sold-out workshops. A mother of three, Moreno has been teaching for over thirty years and is committed to helping others find peace with their bodies.

On her weirdest way to de-stress:
“Grab a ball or an apple, or anything you can toss. Pass the apple back and forth from one hand to the other, crossing the midline, so you are stimulating both hemispheres of the brain and interrupting and diffusing the pattern of stress you’re experiencing. You can do this at your desk, in the kitchen, while on the phone, or while trying to find a solution to a problem. After you do it for a minute or so, stop, take three deep breaths, and if you haven’t de-stressed keep tossing.”

Della Heiman: Harvard Business School graduate, Della Heiman, is the founder and CEO of the Wynwood Yard, a culinary incubator and outdoor community hub for Miami’s food, culture, design, and fitness entrepreneurs. The 29-year-old Cincinnati gal also runs Della’s Test Kitchen, a plant-based food truck parked at the Wynwood Yard. Heiman set-out to bring locals and start-ups together, and in the process created the city’s most buzzed about open-air venue.

On her weirdest way to de-stress:
“When I’m feeling super overwhelmed, I take a hot shower, drink hot tea (peppermint or fennel), put essential oils (peppermint and lavender) on my neck and on the bottoms of my feet, and go to sleep for as long as possible. The weight of a massive “to do” list makes it tempting to push rest aside, and adrenaline and stress make it very hard to relax the mind and body. I’ve discovered (the hard way) that getting a good night’s sleep is the simplest way to lower stress and restore my energy. The combination of hot water, hot tea, and essential oils helps me relax into a calm sleep so that I can regenerate and tackle challenges with a smile.”

Meghan Blalock: Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Meghan Blalock currently lives in Los Angeles where she freelances for publications such as Who What Wear. Previously, Blalock worked closely with Kim Kardashian West as the senior editor of the reality star’s app/website.

On her weirdest way to de-stress:
“My weirdest de-stressing practice is probably blasting Southern gangsta rap at dangerously high volume levels and dancing around my apartment in my pajamas… For some people such behavior probably epitomizes the opposite of stress-relief, but for me it helps me get back in touch with my roots, get out any frustrations I may have at the time, and clear my mind of clutter. I just have to make sure all my curtains are closed first, LOL!”

Dana Drori: Dana Drori is a Canadian model, actor, and the founding editor of Aftertastes, a site that explores the relationship between food and storytelling, memories and meals. The 28-year-old McGill graduate has graced the cover of Harper’s Bazaar Argentina, and was the face of one of Aldo’s recent campaigns. A newlywed, she resides in Brooklyn with her husband.

On her weirdest way to de-stress:
“If my stress pertains to something specific — an overwhelming workload, a nagging thought — my go-to relief is to grab a notebook and pen and write out, as quickly and as un-self-consciously as possible, the intricacies of its source. The how and the why of my stress, no matter how frivolous and petty. Writing by hand slows down my thoughts, which allows for me to be articulate and consider exactly how I’m feeling. Once I do that — about a page in — I usually write another page to calm myself down, talk myself into or out of a specific perspective, and move on.

If the stress can’t be rationalized away, I’ll take ten minutes to lie on my floor and practice Alexander Technique. The Alexander Technique is a method in which, through directed thought more than action, one unclenches and realigns the body, allowing for deeper breaths and better posture. If all else fails, and I can’t shake feeling stuck and frantic, I’ll have a three minute dance party in my living room to Paul Simon’s Obvious Child. That song eliminates all negativity.”


Stress & Burnout
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