Better Than Xanax


Way back in March, I wrote about pushing through periods of low motivation when it seems as if everything’s going wrong.

Well, August has been another rough month. My car got caught in a flash flood, and languished at an auto mechanic for two weeks. Then – just when I thought the car was taken care of — I had to replace the windshield. Paychecks were late, and bank accounts became dangerously low. I was forced to take an on-site proofreading gig to compensate for my low income levels.


In my previous post, I wrote about how to remain productive, even when all you want to do is give up. But sometimes, powering through isn’t the best — or most healthy — solution.

At the end of my last post, I jokingly mentioned Xanax. It’s an anxiety medication I once-in-a-blue-moon rely on in desperate times. If you’d rather not rely on a medication (which is perfectly understandable; I hate relying on it), here are some other methods I more frequently employ:

  • Veg out in front of the TV. I typically turn to HGTV, or DVRd episodes of The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien.
  • Relax with a book or magazine. At the moment, I’m reading Frances Maye’s Bella Tuscany. Her followup to Under the Tuscan Sun is the perfect form of escapism.
  • Take a walk. Fresh air…movement. Both things I don’t tend to get while cooped up in front of the computer all day long. Doing a loop around the neighborhood usually gets the blood pumping.
  • Try a new recipe. While I’m not exactly chef material, I do enjoy cooking. I find the prep work to be therapeutic and, really, I enjoy anything that ends with me eating. Real Simple provides me with my favorite recipes; they’re quick and easy and always turn out delicious!
  • Stretch. When I have the time, I like to go to callanetics classes with my mother. The stretches feel absolutely delicious, and I always end up feeling simultaneously relaxed and invigorated.
  • Take a nap. Nothing wrong with naps. Sometimes, it’s just what you need to feel refreshed. Just as long as you don’t overdo it, which can lead to feelings of grogginess.

What do all of these activities have in common? They’re asking you to step away from your work. Sometimes, even with a lot on you plate (especially with a lot on your plate), taking a step back can help you feel less overwhelmed, and allow you to recharge for even greater amounts of productivity.

What’s your favorite alternative to Xanax?

Related: How to Remain Productive When the Shit Hits the Fan


  1. Steph – I had not followed Frances Maye after Under The Tuscan Sun – a personal fav of mine – so am now going to add Bella Tuscany to my must read list.

  2. I think you made some good points in your post.

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