One thing I've noticed that really helps me with my symptom management is being around furry animals. In Pittsburgh my landlord doesn't allow pets, so obviously I don't have any. I try to make it down to the animal shelter to walk dogs and play with cats every once in a while. When I go, I notice afterwards it feels as though my stress and symptoms have just melted away. However, part of the struggle is getting to the shelter in the first place. It's a 10 minute bus ride from my place, but the issue is motivating myself to get there, even though I know it'll make it feel better. Sometimes I'm all about the instant gratification and take a nap instead.
Since I've been home for break, I've been surrounded most of my waking hours by wonderful dogs and cats. Some are the sweetest, cuddliest, stupidest animals to live and some are more dignified, but they're all wonderful. The larger of the two dachshunds at my dad's house (Benji) has to constantly be in contact with you. He's a snuggle bug. The smaller dachshund (Kudzu... yes, we named the dog after a forest killing plant) has the biggest eyes that express all the love in the world. The golden retriever (Jake) would have a voice like Patrick Stewart if he were human. He's the kindest, gentlest, noblest dog I've ever met. The cross-eyed tabby cat (Frisky) is a great lap cat... however, he's quite loud and vocal. At my mom's house, the German Shepherd-Chow mix (Scout) makes happy noises when she's glad to see you and demands belly rubs. The blue eyed/brown eyed Australian Shepherd mix (Strudel) is a ball of energy who herds the cars in and out of the driveway and is probably the most intelligent dog I've ever met. Our sweet, stupid, we're-not-quite-sure-he-is dog (Griblet) has been spending a lot of time at the neighbor's house lately but we've been able to get him to come inside for a while. He's a big cuddler. There are two old, cranky cats here as well (Fish and Ting) who belong to my stepdad... they're special in their own way.
I've noticed such a difference from volunteering at the animal shelter and being at home with my babies that I've decided that next year I want to move into a pet friendly apartment. Hopefully this will help in calming me down.