My life has turned quite stress-filled lately as my work requires more… Well, work… than usual, while my time to just do nothing has increasingly dwindled with other responsibilities taking up leisure time I once had. Self care has recently been making headlines as a way to reduce stress, and in this post I’d like to share my own way of finding some peace.
Taking That Bath
I won’t lie. My tub is genuinely not exciting. My next house will definitely have a better tub, let me assure you. In the meantime, that doesn’t mean I can’t still enjoy a nice soak. My favorite combination is lighting several candles and dimming the lights otherwise to create a sense of warmth and stillness. I usually shop for a fizz bath ball and a bag of salts at Wholefoods once a week or so, but I am eyeing some other options (here and here). I like the combination of both since I feel that it creates a much more interesting combination of scents.
Finally, I opt for either some relaxing music, or the less obvious: a T.V. show that makes me laugh. My all time favorite shows for elevating my mood are Parks and Rec or 30 Rock. I choose my favorite episodes, with my favorite jokes, and it never fails to lift my spirit and help me decompress.
Write It Out
When my brain won’t stop working and I find that my inner peace has decided to abandon me, or when a particularly nagging decision needs to be processed… I like to simply stop and write things out. I keep one journal next to my side of the bed and one journal on my desk. I’ll usually title the page with the topic in mind and then let myself write whatever comes to mind without any judgement. I find that I never read what I’ve written before, but the mere act of putting pen to paper helps me process whatever is bouncing around my mind leaving me much more focused.
While I use the Evernote Moleskine pocket book, I don’t actually sync it with the app though you definitely could if you found yourself brainstorming something you might want to use later. I started using it because it was what I had around the house, and it has served me well.
Coffee, Music, Kindle
The last line of defense against stress, as far as I am concerned, is reading a good book while drinking coffee and listening to some relaxing music. It reminds me of the idea of hygge, and the English teacher nerd within me rejoices at the prospect of sitting down just to read.
I’m a huge Science Fiction fan, and I’ve really enjoyed books that have left me pondering something or other once the book concludes. It occupies my brain for a while too, pushing away thoughts of work that would otherwise consume many of my waking hour. Recent favorites have included The Expanse series by James S. A. Corey and Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. Seveneves can get incredibly technical at times, but is such an interesting thought experiment that I couldn’t put the book down. The Expanse had three very good first books, while the rest have been less so for me. In the meantime, The Expanse series has become a T.V. show that was co-written with the writers of the series. I highly recommend watching it even if you won’t read the book, and I’ve even really enjoyed the soundtrack of the show.
These are my recommended ways of finding some stillness, and I encourage you to think about the little things in life that help you stay in good mental health.