I try not to use the phrase “I am stressed” when I am feeling like there’s too much going on and I can’t grasp control of it. Instead, I choose to say “I am feeling overwhelmed.” The difference is the first is claiming an identity, while the second is labeling a temporary experience. Feeling overwhelmed seems less permanent than stress, or at least in my mind it does. My point is our minds have power. Our thoughts have influence. We should be careful what we speak into the world, because we can manifest our own troubles unintentionally. Maybe you can think of a different word that works for you, either way, we all deal with feeling overextended. Here are some of my secrets to staying calm despite it.
My room is my sanctuary. When I’m feeling overwhelmed it tends to be a mess. So the first thing I do is clean and declutter and then follow with lighting my favorite candles.
If I am wearing denim, or something stiff, I immediately have to replace it with something comfortable to lounge in. This usually consists of my plush robe, silk PJ bottoms, a soft t-shirt, and cozy socks.
Take My Mind Of The Problem
Sometimes it’s good just to que Netflix or Hulu and escape into someone else’s world for an episode or two. Lately I’ve been binge watching Modern Family, Black Mirror, Big Mouth, The Voice, So You Think You Can Dance, and The Good Place.
Jog Around the Neighborhood
When I run, I find that I let go of all of the thoughts that consume my brain. I no longer think about all the things that I have to do, but instead I am able to focus on my music and the scenic environment. This time of year has been especially nice weather to run in. The cool breezes kiss ones skin, and the swaying trees ahead of you show off the intricate hues of the leaves.
Spotify has a great running playlist that they coordinate to how many steps you take per minute and the kind of music you like: https://www.spotify.com/us/running/
Music As Therapy
For me, gospel music is my go to when I need to decompress. It lifts me up and puts things into perspective for me. I usually start my day listening to a playlist I made with all of my favorite gospel songs on my commute to school. It’s hard to have a bad day when you start it out worshipping the Lord. Click the photo if you want to listen to the aforementioned playlist.
Fun Fact: I also often listen to gospel music when I run. It’s a great motivator.
Mind Over Matter
I’ve just recently got into meditation. I downloaded the Headspace app after doing a body scan exercise for a class. I haven’t been doing it regularly, but I know it’s there when I need it. Something that really stuck with me from the app was the metaphor of our thoughts being a congested highway. There’s so many noises and distractions going on. People beeping, driving crazy, etc. If we were to imagine ourselves sitting and watching all of this, what we often do is get up and chase all of these thoughts and try to get a handle on them, but meditation is acknowledging the thoughts, letting them happen and staying calm as all of this is going on inside your head.
As an introvert, my ideas of relaxation involve retreating to a reclusive space and being alone. Others may prefer to be around people to refuel. It’s important to figure out what healthy practices you can include into your everyday so you don’t feel bogged down. It’s easy to believe we’re trapped by our circumstance, but there are ways out– even if they are only temporary.
A few more things I do…
- Read the Bible along with devotionals
- Take a break and meet up with a friend who will guarantee to make me laugh
Did I miss something on this list? What are some ways you make time for relaxation?