RHYS BOWEN: It's been a bit of a stressful time recently. I had a Royal Spyness book to finish before I left for Bouchercon, then the copy-edits arrived for my next Molly book, and there were contract negotiations for 3 more Molly books and John had cataract surgery last week. So when I saw something called Calm Drops in Whole Foods and saw they were a historical natural remedy, I thought I'd try them.
They tasted fine until I read the label one night. Aconitum , Arsinicum, Nux Vomica, Phosporicum Acidum etc etc.. Holy cow, I thought (of course I used another word but this is a G rated blog) I'm eating arsenic, aconite, phosphoric acid... I didn't know what Nux Vomica was until my friend Bill Fitzhugh told me it was strychnine. Great. I'll probably be dead in half an hour and I am definitely not calm.
Several Facebook friends told me that the doses are incredibly small and can't hurt me, but the drops don't exactly calm me now either. So I'm interested what other Reds do to calm themselves in stressful times. For example Hank is never in the same place two days in a row. How does she handle all those airports? Always looking good for on-air assignments?
I've tried the Rescue Remedy but it doesn't seem to do much for me. I've tried St. John's Wort. But frankly I don't like taking things. I have some meditations on my iPhone. I downloaded sleep inducing noises. It was music with strange little background beeps in it that were supposed to conform to beeps in my brain. It woke me up completely.
What helps me most on a daily basis is a visit to my health club, sitting in the sauna, swimming and then relaxing in the spa. I come home rejuvenated. Also when I am at home I love to play my Celtic harp. Very soothing, but it's too big to fit into my suitcase.
So anyone else want to share a de-stressing secret?
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I'm laughing. (No,that's not it, but that's a good idea!) When you emailed me that the Reds should add to this post, I thought: WHEN? I DONT HAVE TIME! That's why I'm laughing. Guess I should go read it again. Anyway--how I handle all the airports? I sing Nessun Dorma to myself. Truly. And sometimes, Magical Mystery Tour. I always laugh, and i always feel better.
HALLIE EPHRON: I nap if I possibly can. Just a quick one. Or work in the garden. In an airport? I walk. Then I buy the New York Times and read it, cover to cover.
And I must say I am suspicious of all vitamins and "natural remedies" or "food supplements" or anything that touts its "antioxidants." Snake oil.
ROSEMARY HARRIS: I bought one of those head massagers! But it was way bigger and it annoyed the bejesus out of me because it didn't fit under the sink in my bathroom. Stressful. Too funny.
I've had more stress this year - moving, not moving, selling apt, not selling. Federer's failure to capture an 18th major. Whenever possible, I just stop what I'm doing and take a spin around my garden. Even when I decide I need to move boulders, it's relaxing. I take the nippers and exert control over my little bit of the universe.
Hank...Nessun Dorma?? They're going to KILL him if he doesn't guess her name? Stress. Full.
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Sex. I find sex very calming. It's difficult in an airport, however.
RHYS: What about the Mile High Club, Julia??Come on. Tell all....
JULIA: Oh, my God, I read a story about some couple that got caught in an airplane head recently. All I could think was that both of them together must have been smaller than I am, because I barely have enough space to shut the door after myself.
I have to add, in a less racy vein, that I also like to sing to de-stress. And hum. It can be very annoying to the people around me, as I frequently don't realize I'm regaling them with a tune.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: If I sang Nessun Dorma in any public place, someone would murder me and then I wouldn't have to worry about stress. And weirdly, I actually like airports. Once I'm through security, it's like an off-limits bubble. No one can ask me to do something, deal with the latest domestic crisis, or gripe at me for anything. I can read, catch up on Facebook, have a cuppa, even WORK without being interrupted. Hmm, maybe I should go live in an airport, like Tom Hanks in that movie...
At home, baths are the best de-stress thing. Walks (at least when it's not 100 degrees.) Watching the birds in the back garden (hummingbirds at the moment.) Throwing the tennis ball for Dax. And when all else fails, I read a good book.
RHYS: I don't think I'll be singing Nessun Dorma either (although I did want to be an opera singer when I was a child). I think I'll
stick with my harp and my head massager. Actually I wouldn't object to a
shoulder massage by a young muscular but sensitive guy. How about you,