Merriam-Webster defines an outlet as
1 a : a place or opening through which something is let out : exit, vent b : a means of release or satisfaction for an emotion or impulse <sexual outlets> c : a medium of expression or publication d : a publication or broadcast organization<media outlets>
2 : a stream flowing out of a lake or pond
3 a : a market for a commodity b : an agency (as a store) through which a product is marketed <retail outlets>
4 : a receptacle for the plug of an electrical device
“I need a fix ’cause I’m going down…” words from The Beatles’ “Happiness is a Warm Gun;” all of us need a “fix” of some sort whenever we feel the need to vent our bottled-up “energy.” We all want our “fix.” We all want to unwind and release a week’s worth of stress or tension. As a father, I consider stress-relief as top priority. I wouldn’t want to suddenly explode in the home. Personally, I subscribe to a combination of physical, mental and social activities to release all that is bothering me and replace them with a lot of positive energy.
I do the following to keep me relatively sane during the work week:
- Cooking – I treat this as an outlet for creativity as I start with the taste in mind and try to transform it into reality. Since I am not a trained chef, I set my standard at what will satisfy me and the family. I got whatever “skill” in the kitchen stems from watching my dad when I was a kid. For inspiration, I get that from watching TV – Iron Chef, Bobby Flay, Mario Batali and Giada de Laurentiis. A smile from one of the kids is enough fuel for me to cook more dishes for them — the whole cooking deal relaxes me.
- Blogging – This is more of a recent discovery for me. Although I’ve had previous attempts before, my current blog here on WordPress has evolved into an outlet for the thoughts swimming inside my little head. Like what I said in a previous blog post, Why I blog, I realized that getting the ideas out of my brain also serves as a way to alleviate clutter in my thinking. So far, this mental exercise stimulates me the most.
- Physical activity – it’s a widely accepted fact that exercise releases endorphins into your system. Endorphins make us feel “happy.” Honestly, my level of physical activity has gone down since I decided to go back to corporate life. Prior to regular work at my current company, I used to play badminton and football every weekend. To remedy this situation, I’ve started doing brisk walking to condition my body. As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog entry, I feel that my walks provide both exercise and relaxation for me. It is a given that if you are not fit, you get affected by stress easily, so, one should get more exercise to keep the mind and body in balance.
- Social interaction – I still keep in touch with friends from old companies, chums from graduate school, college and high school; we even go out from time to time. I am also a member of a fraternity and I am active in the alum association. Aside from these groups, I also go with groups that share the same interest as I have. Going out with different people enables you to stay in touch with the rest of the world and not just rely on newspapers and the internet — it’s definitely healthier.
In the future, I hope I can include travel as one of my outlets. I know that seeing more of the beauty of nature and exposure with different cultures will make me a more relaxed individual. My belief: Life is short. There’s no need kill yourself. Relax a little.