In the midst of our beautiful, chaotic lives, sometimes it’s hard not to get overwhelmed – it’s only human. As important as it is to be kind and giving to other people, sometimes you just need to take a few minutes for yourself. You have to relax, put things into perspective for yourself, and let’s be honest, find something to keep you from going crazy every now and then.
No matter what age you are, you have to find something that calms your soul. It’s even more important to find what that is and practice it regularly, not only when you’re to the point of feeling overwhelmed.
Not everyone’s “therapy” will be the same, and maybe none of these things would work for some people. If you can take even one thing, though, here are a few things I’ve found help my focus remain positive and keep my spirits uplifted and happy:
1. Take a deep breath
This may sound silly, because well… you’re already breathing. When we’re stressed, we take short, shallow breaths without even realizing it. This results in our bodies feeling restricted and our thoughts and actions being affected. Concentrating on deep, long inhales and exhales results in productivity, increases circulation, and even loosens muscles. Take a few minutes to just close your eyes and allow yourself to breathe.
2. Talk to yourself
It’s not what you think. Have you ever heard people say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day?” Sometimes it’s important to remind yourself that everything cannot be done at once. Tell yourself it is okay to slow down a little bit; it doesn’t all have to be done right this moment. Seriously, tell yourself that.
3. Change your music
What you surround yourself with is what you become. Listen to something that lifts your spirits, whatever that means to you personally. For me, I love good, clean acoustic Pandora stations without any vulgar language, with meaningful lyrics. It’s incredible how much lighter this is on the heart.
4. Pay attention to what’s on the TV
It’s the same as music – surround yourself with something that won’t weigh heavy on your heart. Music and TV may seem like small things, but what you hear and what you watch stay in the back of your mind without you even realizing it. Have you ever seen a scary movie and then had bad dreams that night? Try at least taking breaks from the murder mysteries and the Breaking Bad marathons, and even better, turn it off when you can.
5. Take a bath
This isn’t simply opinionated, it has scientific evidence behind it: if you add Epsom salts to your bath, it’s actually proven to help your body! Epsom salts are made up of magnesium sulfate, a compound your body needs. Magnesium helps to regulate enzyme activity in your body, which helps your bodily functions run smoothly. Sulfate has a role in the formation of brain tissue and joint proteins, and can help strengthen your digestive tract as well. Epsom salts can be absorbed into your skin, rejuvenating your body naturally within minutes! Add a handful the next time you draw a bath.
6. Feed your body well & drink more water
It’s crazy how much eating healthy makes us feel better. This doesn’t mean go on a diet by any means, just to feed your body the nutrients it needs! The next time you need some extra energy, try an apple instead of a candy bar to curve your hunger – it will give you more energy. The wrong kind of carbs make you sleepy; ever feel the urge to take a nap after you eat a lot of junk food? Staying hydrated will help boost your energy, too! The next time you’re feeling run-down or randomly get hit with a wave of tired, ask yourself, “Have I had enough water today?” You’ll be surprised at the end of the day, the difference healthy food and plenty of water will make.
7. Speak kindly of people – speak kindly to people
Talking badly about people doesn’t say anything about them, it only says something about you. Just the same as the way you treat people. The feeling people are left with after they’ve been around you, says so much about who you are. Try lifting them up rather than putting them down, whether they can hear you directly or not. “Show respect, even to people who don’t deserve it, not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours.” There is always something positive to be found, and always something positive to be said. It’s easier to feel good when your heart isn’t weighed down with hate and negativity.
8. Go outside
Find a peaceful place that’s yours. On your porch, near a pond, at an overlook, a car ride with the windows down, any place that truly calms you. Get some fresh air, think your thoughts, and cry it out if you need to. Just enjoy nature for a little while and give your mind the time it deserves to reset and refresh without giving your phone the power to interrupt.
9. Put your phone away 15 minutes before bed
If you’re on your phone up until the second you close your eyes for bed, believe it or not, this will hinder your sleep. You have to allow your mind time to calm down; try putting the devices away and reading before bed. It may not be as enjoyable to some, but you will more than likely be able to fall asleep more quickly and get better quality sleep, too. Proper sleep is important in day-to-day function, and without it, our bodies will get run down very quickly.
10. Put yourself in time-out
Timeout isn’t fun when you’re a kid, but there’s something great about secluding yourself from the world for a little while. Maybe your “timeout” is in the shower, in your room, going for a walk, or even listening to music with your headphones on. Sometimes you just need a few minutes to yourself, and that’s okay. Take it. Whether it be calming yourself down, easing into a big day, or easing out of a big day, next time you have a lot on your plate, try putting yourself in time-out. It’s much more enjoyable when you’re older.
Whether it’s one of these things or something completely different, everyone needs something to calm their soul. It’s good for us! Find a healthy outlet, whatever it is that makes you whole, and don’t ever stray from it.