After a long day full of mental activity and focus, it’s easy to feel like you’re carrying all of that activity with you throughout the rest of your day. Like all that information you absorbed and those difficult tasks you had to do are just sticking to the walls of your mind, refusing to melt away and let you take a much-needed mental rest. On days like these, it’s tempting to just flop into bed and distract yourself with some social media or binge-watching. If you’re anything like me, though, scrolling on Instagram for too long doesn’t often leave you feeling like you’re doing anything valuable for yourself. In fact, what most of us could really use at the end of a long day involves little to no screen time. A healthy mental reset should involve something grounding, something creative, or something that simply fills you with gratitude for your existence in this world.
1. Walk on a leafy trail, in a park, or just around the neighborhood
Going out for a walk is a good way to feel reconnected. Do it just to feel all the sensations that come with it—the feeling of the ground beneath you and the air in your lungs. If it’s cold out, get a cup of tea or fill a thermos to go. Hold it in your hands and walk slowly, because you’re not in a rush. Take in the life that surrounds you with slow sips. Leave every piece of your day behind, even if it’s only for a couple of blocks. Allow yourself this time to be with yourself, by yourself. Allow it to be therapeutic.
2. Go to the library or bookstore just to browse
Spend an hour in your favorite public library, maybe one you’ve never been to before. Pick a section and just read the spines. Pluck the interesting ones off the shelves and thumb through them or find a comfy chair and read a few pages. Enjoy the uninterrupted time, the hush and whispers of everyone preserving the quiet space you share. It’s honestly so nice.
3. Color in a coloring book or try hand-lettering and calligraphy
Like binge-watching a drama series, coloring and lettering require just the right amount of concentration from the comfort of your couch. The nice part about them, though, is that you come away with something pretty that you created yourself. Calligraphy takes practice and patience, but that’s part of the reason why people love it so much. The slower you craft each letter, the more precise your letters will be, but even if they come out crooked, their crookedness only adds to their charm. So, get a glass of wine, put your phone on silent, and just draw.
4. Do some basic yoga poses
I don’t have to recite the mental and physical health benefits of yoga, because you’ve heard them a million times already. I can just tell you that, from my experience, doing these basic poses after a long day feels incredibly nourishing. Rocking your forehead gently on your mat in child’s pose will clear out your mental clutter. Taking deep breaths in a gentle side twist on your back feels like a massage for your digestive system. It’s also really nice to just bend your knees and fold over yourself, releasing your shoulders and letting your head hang heavy. Your body tenses up a lot throughout the day, more than you realize. You carry that tension in your shoulders and even in your facial muscles. Let that tension slide off of you once in a while.
5. Curl up with a good podcast or playlist
Just like genres of music, there are podcasts for every kind of person – for people who love a compelling story, self-help advice, psychology or new innovations and discoveries. Sometimes, it’s nice to just close your eyes and listen, letting your imagination paint a picture of the sounds instead of watching things on a screen. Whether it’s in the bathtub or with a blanket on the couch, let yourself get lost.
6. Make yourself a pretty little meditation corner
Stake out a corner of your bedroom or living space and turn it into a meditation nook. Get yourself a comfy pillow to sit on and some twinkle lights or candles. Maybe even a mini meditating Buddha statue if you’re feeling extra. Make it a place you can settle into for at least 10 minutes a night. While you’re there, you can just sit peacefully and breathe. Not only is it hard to find time for meditation, it’s also hard to find the desire, especially when you don’t know how or where to begin. Your nook will serve as an invitation. An invitation to incorporate a little bit of mindfulness into your self-care routine. An invitation to be still, present and at peace.