Okay, yeah. The cover photo on this one is kinda freaky, but I promise it’s relevant.
Here’s what’s goin’ on: I’m a very passionate person. When I feel a certain way, I really feel that way. Like when I’m frustrated. All I can think about is why I’m frustrated—there’s very little brain power to dedicate to un-frustrating myself.
In times of stress, I end up stressing even more over the fact that anything I do in an effort to destress doesn’t work.
Why that happens is anyone’s guess, really.
And when I’m sad, I try to remind myself that I have every reason not to be, and that only makes me more upset. Because I am a selfish person with stupid emotions and an uncontrollable need to release my thoughts.
See what I mean?
So I have to make a very conscious effort to CHILL THE F OUT. And this wasn’t really a thing until the last few years. I think adulthood is getting the better of me, because if it’s not a crappy diet it’s an overdue bill or a big project at work or a house that’s never clean.
That’s why I created a list of go-to relaxation techniques that I can spin up at the drop of a hat.
And before you call me crazy, thinking I carry a little piece of paper around to pull out in times of chaos, please know a) I do not. This all lives in my head and b) even if I did, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
But the more I think about it, the more I should write these down, because they definitely work best in a certain order. Let’s try it.
- Breathe. This one may seem like a given, but you’d be surprised how often I’m distracted enough to take small, ineffective breaths and/or forget to inhale. Healthy? Absolutely not. Which is why, whenever I find myself getting worked up, I close my eyes and breathe. Not only does it maintain a healthy flow of oxygen, but it gives me a quick break to think through whatever the heck is going on.
- Tell someone. This helps in a couple of different ways. For one thing, I drop a lot of weight just by saying “I’m stressed/flustered/something having to do with feelings” out loud. And considering I usually say this to my best friends via text, it also alerts them to the fact that I’m not up for conversation at the moment and things go pretty quiet. That in itself makes a HUGE difference, especially for my next to-do.
- Unplug. Here I rid my view of all screens—computer, tablet, phone, even my Apple Watch. There’s a good chance one of those bad boys is the root of the issue and the phrase “out of sight, out of mind” has never been more applicable. By unplugging, I can continue to focus on my breathing and think through what’s going on, not for the sake of finding an immediate solution, but to determine next steps.
- Do happy things. For me, this usually involves music. I’m big on folk, indie, soul—slow, quiet stuff that gets me feeling good. It’s actually amazing how quickly the right song can turn my mood around. Bonus points if I’m driving with the windows down. If I’m not listening to music, I’m going for a walk, cracking jokes (ideally for someone else to hear), reading a book… the list is endless! It all comes down to doing things I 100% cannot overthink.
- Be busy. This is different from Happy Things in that it involves a little extra thought and should be more of a distraction than a remedy. It’s all about doing something with my hands—likely a thing I don’t want to do, but will be happy about completing. More often than not, this is when I end up cleaning the entire house. BUT, there have been a few occasions where I try my hand at DIY. That is, if you consider blanket forts DIY. Told ya the cover photo would make sense! You can keep scrolling for a closer look. It was dooooope.
- Unwind. Blanket forts come in handy here. I’ve worked through my thoughts, reoriented my emotions and likely accomplished something in the process. (And you may call that “something” childish, but I much prefer the term nostalgic.) Now it’s time to truly chill. To turn off my brain and body and all of the feelings that come with ’em and RE. CHARGE. As much as I’d love to say all of the above does a decent job of helping me reenergize, it’s usually the opposite. Ending the day on a high note comes at a price and I can’t have a clean slate without a quick snooze.
Does any of the above make me sound crazy? Probably. Do I care? No.
I wear my emotions on my sleeve. That’s not easy. And I believe it’s better to be upfront about what I can and can’t handle than to wait and risk things boiling over.
So I’m going to keep breathing, building and using my words. Feel free to join.
Title Credit: Anna Nalick