What a Snub By the Barista Taught Me About Stress

October 26, 2016

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We are entering a seriously stressful time of year (hello holidays – I see you coming). So I thought this would be a great time to introduce you to an expert in the stress management space, Celeste Coffman.

As the leader of the Quiet Mind Collective, Celeste is on a mission to help alleviate anxiety and tension in our sometimes overwhelming world. Today she is sharing an experience she had with her local barista and what it taught her about how to manage stress.

If you’re staring down the holiday craziness ahead and wondering how you’re going to get through it, here’s a great place to start…

PS – You’ll find her full bio at the bottom of this post.

What a Snub By the Barista Taught Me About Stress

– Celeste Coffman

Outside the bustling hipster coffee shop downtown, you’ll see a black iron bench in the shade of a bushy pear tree. Every afternoon around the same time, you’ll also see the same slim, hipster guy seated on that bench, adorned with tattoos and most likely dressed in black.


He’s usually smoking a cigarette (which, I’ll admit, I don’t love) and he’s always totally focused on one thing: the pen and paper in his hands.

This hipster guy? He’s the barista at the coffeehouse downstairs from my office. Day after day he serves up my lunch (and everyone else’s) with a huge smile, the most endearing laugh, and a hearty dose of zest for life.

He’s like the neighborhood’s adorable little brother, making us smile to ourselves because of his cheerful antics and undaunted enthusiasm. He even raps every word to Gangsta’s Paradise when it comes on the radio. How cute is that?

But here’s the really unusual thing about Hipster Guy (HG): when he’s on the bench, there’s no fun and games. HG is decidedly “off” during that break every day, ducking his head down into his crossword puzzle or sketchbook and completely ignoring passersby.

When I first moved to the neighborhood, I was a little disconcerted by this. After all, we live in a tiny southern town where congenial small talk is a way of life. So when HG deigns to deliver even as the locals stare him down, I have to realize that it’s intentional.

He’s taking an intentional break from the grind. (Pun intended.)

See, HG clearly knows that in order to stay fresh and totally “on” during his shift, he also needs to escape that persona for a time each day.

I encourage you to consider when you last took a true, intentional break from the work you do as a mother, a caregiver, an employee, or an entrepreneur. Was it today? A few days ago? Longer?

Stress is a normal reaction to the annoyances, issues and problems we encounter daily. The problem is, we’re not used to caring for ourselves when we’re just a tiny bit overwhelmed. Instead wait until something like true anxiety happens, leaving us defenseless and in utter panic.

Set a regular routine for self-care.

One of the reasons I created QuietMindCollective.com was to give you a convenient, consistent way to learn about stress management and anxiety on your own time. Every week I diligently provide videos, articles and activities to help members understand how to stay well in an overwhelming world. When you set aside a little time each week to pursue information on these topics, you’re investing in your wellness.

I’d also like to encourage you to consider what daily, weekly and monthly rituals you can set aside to maintain a self-care routine.


Here are a few of my ideas:


  • Put a few drops of lavender oil on your pillowcase to help relax you to sleep.
  • Use eucalyptus oil in a diffuser by your sink and click it on while you shower. The naturally refreshing fragrance will help pep you up.
  • Set up a great playlist to ease you into your day. Instead of waking up and bolting out of bed, take a moment to listen to your favorite tunes and stretch in bed.
  • Get up 10 minutes before your family and have a cup of hot tea or coffee quietly. Focus on smelling the aromas, feeling the warm mug in your hands, hearing the drip-drip-drip of the water… just be present.
  • When you take a bathroom break at work, take the stairs. I used to work in a 4-story building and would walk up 4 flights to use the restroom, just so I could get my blood pumping again.
  • Get outside for at least 5 minutes during your work day – walk to your car, go water the flowers, whatever!
  • Watch a hilarious YouTube video or gif before work.
  • Listen to an inspirational podcast on your commute and then find a way to discuss it with a friend or colleague.


  • Schedule a coffee date with a friend (even if it’s by phone) for no reason other than just having fun.
  • Get your car washed at a drive-thru. It’s a 2-minute quiet break in your car and gives a real sense of accomplishment without any of the work!
  • Make a list of any compliments others have given you this week, and file these in a special place where you can look over them if you’re feeling down.
  • Buy or pick flowers or branches, or gather up a few items from nature to bring inside.
  • Take in a movie from your teen years or childhood. Netflix has a great selection and you’ll feel like a kid again watching the “oldie but goodie” picks.
  • Daydream. Set aside 30 minutes to be totally quiet without your phone or music. Just people watch and daydream about nothing. Your best ideas may come from this!


  • Get a massage. Student massage schools offer really deep discounts, and even just a half-hour massage focused on your neck and shoulders can make a huge difference.
  • Mark a project off your To Do list. Either decide it doesn’t need to be done, or just do it. You’ll feel the weight of relief!
  • Hear live music. There’s something amazing about watching an artist at work, and music brings back great memories.
  • Eat dessert. Don’t go crazy, but consider how indulgent it feels to eat dessert for dinner once in a while.
  • Involve yourself in a community event. Social connectedness is one of the greatest needs humans have. Try a festival, service project, Fun Run, or a local museum.

QuietMindCollective.com | Online Group Coaching for Anxiety & Stress Management

celeste-coffmanCeleste Coffman is a Licensed Professional Counselor and certified School Counselor with over a decade of experience helping others make positive life changes.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of North Alabama and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Samford University.  After beginning a career in higher education, she segued into school counseling and finally private practice as a therapist focused on women’s issues.  Celeste has a passion for career coaching, counseling teens with behavior problems, and helping encourage women facing depression or anxiety.  She’s also perpetually attracted to entrepreneurship and spends a huge amount of free time researching the topic.  Her hobbies include listening to podcasts, watching feel-good reruns on TV, crafting, and home design.  Celeste is married to her college sweetheart, Mitch, and has one preschool daughter.  She also “mothers” troubled teens in her work with local schools.

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