One moment you’re fine, and then the next you feel out of control. Your mind is racing at full speed and you can’t keep up. It feels uncomfortable. It makes you want to disappear. The doubt, the anger, the confusion, the negativity of your thoughts seem to eat you alive. I am that person many times. I don’t always process information the best way, and sometimes to run away from things, I consume or distract myself even more, which never seems to help me. I always need to step back and just slow down without feeling guilty about it.
Your job is not to sabotage yourself. Your job is to learn the best ways to deal with yourself and to hopefully always be there for yourself, because you will need it. So here are some things that have helped me relax when I start painting a dark picture in my mind that does nothing but suffocates me.
1. Taking a shower.
There is something about showers that makes you reset. Water is energizing and makes me feel as though it is washing away any excess weight I seem to be carrying. It also has a calming sound and it is ultimately an act of care where you come out clean and fresh.
It can be any form of stretching, but stretching just gives you that connection to your body where you slowly loosen up and feel less rigid. It is a moment where you can tune in inwards and feel what that body is telling you while being there to listen. Not only that, but stretching in itself can feel very soothing.
3. Lighting up a candle and looking at it.
There is something magical about looking at a candle. It’s like a magnet that directs your focus towards it and allows you to disconnect for some time. Looking at a flame seems to always help me relax, especially when you’re sitting in dim light and it is the only thing standing out.
4. Having your favorite drink in a cozy area.
My favorite soothing hot drink is simply tea. When in need of some relaxing time, I make some tea, watch the water as it evaporates from its top, and sit still while sipping from it bit by bit. There are several teas that are also designed to help you specifically relax, so you can check out those.
5. Going out on a walk in nature .
Nature is one of my favorite things in this world, and I am so grateful for its existence. I feel as though it is the medicine we all need from time to time, but we sometimes forget it is there for us. Looking at a lake or river or simply walking barefoot on the grass or lying down on it as I gaze at the sky always helps me feel as I am getting rid of any worries I have and calms me down. Nature is food for the soul and a beautiful painting for the eye.
6. Getting a hug.
Sometimes all we need is a hug. We don’t want to talk or explain, we just want to be held. We want to feel secure and reassured. Whenever you have the chance to get a hug when you’re stressed, do it and enjoy it. There is nothing wrong about sharing a moment of warmth with someone you care about and who wants your well-being.
7. Listening to calming music.
I encourage you to make a playlist for moments of despair and anxiousness. Listen to it and let yourself feel and get lost in the music. Moments where we can enjoy a piece of art and forget everything else for a while are truly out of this world.
8. Doing something kind.
It could be picking up trash you found on the floor or helping an old lady cross the street. I can be buying your friend her favorite chocolate. When you do something nice for someone, it can really boost your mood and help you snap out of your own thoughts and do something outside of you.
Oftentimes, we’re so stressed and sad because we barely had time to actually know what’s going on, and therefore we find ourselves with so much residual that has accumulated over time. It is important to know why we feel the way we feel, and writing can help organize the mess and conflicts inside us a bit better.
10. Remember: As long as you’re here for yourself, that’s all that matters.
Many times in life, we might feel as though we are helpless, unworthy, scared, or shaken, but if we remember to be our own best friend—if we remember to love ourselves and be a voice and a force of compassion in our lives—we can bridge the gaps and heal the pain one step at a time.
Be kind to yourself—everything is going to be okay.