Mitchell hiking in the woods
Going offline.
Photo: Becky O’Bryan

It's been a lot of stress over the last few years. We've all been through a lot. The pressure of work and family isn't mentioned. How do you handle it?

The staff of The Verge was asked to tell us how they deal with the pressures of living in today's world, including having to write about them on a daily basis. Running, meditation, and pulling weeds were some of the answers we received.

Here is how some of us relieve our stress. You can let us know if any of these strategies have worked for you.

In the garden

Becca in her garden
Becca watches a garden grow.
Photo courtesy of: Becca Farsace

The first tomato you grow is the best. It will be the sweetest tomato you have ever eaten and it will be the result of months of watching something grow and grow.

For the fourth year in a row, I have planted a bunch of vegetables in my backyard. I can't work from home due to my garden. I will be looking over my fortress all day long. I don't think most people look at plants and see a green thing destined for a dry death, but my experience has shown me that all it takes is watching videos and watering. I have found that weeds in my garden allow me to weed my mind as well.

There is a small garden in front of the house that we rent. Two patches of dirt are about the size of a typical NYC bathroom. Because I have never had the patience to deal with planting, watering, and mowing grass, I recently uprooted all the grass and other weeds that had been growing there and planted some ivy with the hope that they would grow, thrive, and provide easy to maintain but nice to have.

It is the middle of the summer and the ground is covered with weeds. Five minutes after it starts to rain, there are a lot of weeds. It's a pain in the neck. The process of removing weeds in order to clear the way for ivy to grow is very satisfying. I'm doing something that needs to be done, I don't need any real brainpower to distinguish a weed from an ivy plant, and pulling those weeds out helps me relax a bit. The therapy was great.

Chain mail

Wrist with chainmail bracelet
Kaitlin’s chainmail bracelet is soothing to make and nice to wear.
Photo courtesy of: Kaitlin Hatton

I won't even try to introduce my hobby because it's not normal. I made jewelry and clothing. Knights and other warriors used chain mail to protect themselves. I haven't been this relaxed in a long time.

There is something about the patience that chain mail designs require that soothed my worries, and this hobby falls into the larger category of Making Things. As I work on the patterns, it feels good to see how far I have come. I used a kit from Chainmail Joe to start. I have only been making jewelry for a few weeks, but I have already made many pieces. Just in time for the Renaissance fair, I'm getting my first chain mail top. I have learned that it takes an absurd amount of hours to make metal clothing because it is so relaxing.

Move and meditate

Victoria Song in the NYC marathon
Victoria in the NYC Marathon.
Photo: Zlata Ivleva

Exercise is the only thing that helps me in times of stress. Any kind of bodily movement can work for me. Anything that makes me outside of my brain and into my body is a good thing. Exercise is meditative, even though I have never used meditation apps. The next mile, the next rep, or the next flow is what you're focused on. It is gratifying to see yourself getting stronger, and it is also gratifying to know that closing your rings gives you a dopamine boost.

The last three years have been the most challenging of my life, but I am in the best shape of my life. Is the 2020 elections going to take place? I was running 20 miles a week, lifting weights every other day, and taking walks after dinner. Training for a half marathon was the main thing that kept me going after my mother's death. I could just run 10 miles whenever I felt sad. It didn't end my grief, but it gave me a break.

I know a lot of people think exercise is a chore, but that's not true. Victoria Song said that she had no desire to murder her spouse and that exercise gave her an increase in happiness.

I like to go on a really long run. I usually run for more than eight miles on Saturdays. A 10-mile trek that takes me on a local trail with an elevation gain of more than 1,300 feet is one of my favorite routes.

Whatever the distance, a long run gives me time and space to process whatever is in my head, and having to focus on every step keeps me in the present. Jay Peters is a news writer.

The best way to deal with stress is to not be around it. This means hiking when I can. I don't care if I'm walking on the dirt path by my house or doing a seven mile trek through my favorite trail system. It makes me feel better to be forced to concentrate on walking and not the internet. While I may still be fretting about whatever it is that I am stressed about, there isn't anything else that adds to it, either because I can't see them or because I'm in an area with no service.

One way to ignore the internet is to wear a virtual reality headset and play a video game. It is easy to ignore websites when you can do a little dance while swinging laser swords.

I have used Headspace before for meditation and found it very easy to use and adapt to. I like that Headspace has guided meditations that you can do while you are walking, riding public transit, or even cleaning. It's easy to fit in on a busy day if you choose the time length. You get excited when you extend your streak every day. If you feel like a meditation failure, you should try it.

While my colleagues have already talked about the benefits of exercising, I still feel compelled to tell you how much it helps me with stress. I have recently discovered how much stretching helps me. A new mini-routine for working on some of my personal trouble spots has been built after I found some stretching techniques and poses from movement by David on social media. Running and strength training are used when I am at my best. My routines are fairly simple, but they are enough to get my muscles firing and make me feel better afterwards. The euphoria that comes after a workout helps me feel focused. It is a great feeling to make improvements over time, and it is even better to get that good muscle feeling almost every day.

When I put in a good week of workouts, my stress levels are kept in check.

Just say no

Calculator on fire, displaying “I Quit” on it’s cracked screen.
Quit doing what stresses you.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

After me, say, "I quit."

One more: no

A lot of us want to make other people happy, but we end up overburdening ourselves and stress about it. You can stop stressing out by quitting things that make you stressed out. I think that happened recently. We called it The Great Resignation. The writer of Today in Tabs likes to say that you can always quit.

You don't have to agree to things. If you choose, you can say no tactfully, but "no" works well on its own.

Are you suffering from stress relief? It's okay. Do you need to do anything? Is it possible to say no to this? The people who want to stay in the rat race should not be drinking and meditating. You can give yourself more time to think.

You can be a good person if you choose. Which one is actually happy? The senior reporter said that lygaggers and refuseniks are oxymorons.