1/4/14: Indulgences

We live in an overwhelming world, coupled with unrealistic societal and internal pressures to be flawless. Recipe for success and happiness, right?

Not always, obviously. I’ve been rather overwhelmed recently, as I’m considering applying to college a year early, balancing a long-distance relationship with people at home, and day-to-day activities are saturating my brain with anxiety. I suspect this is a fairly universal condition in our world today.

While there is no perfect solution, relaxation and time to be in the moment are the most sustainable solutions to this problem, and can be practiced at anytime. But how to begin relaxing? How do you relax? I’ve learned, through reading lists of relaxing activities that don’t pertain to me at all, that this is a very personal and individual question. No one can tell you exactly how to relax; while one person might find painting to soothe all their worries, another might have a nervous conniption bringing paint in their home, a mortal threat to the furniture and the carpet.

So, since there is no universal, one-size fits all list of relaxing activities that suit everyone, how do you find your own? Answer: make a list of indulgences, or activities you feel comfortable doing when you are stressed that bring you back to the present and relax your body, mind, and spirit.

I personally have a list on my phone entitled “Indulgences” that includes these items: Internet window shopping, Postsecret or Rookie Mag (my two very favorite sites), playing guitar, listening to music, trying on beautiful clothes, cuddling, taking pictures, journaling, arts and crafts, daydreaming, showering, taking a walk, experimenting with makeup for fun, and reading all morning.

This may seem like an obvious or futile solution, when I have not unleashed any magical tip or trick to relaxation. However, I’m sad to admit, I don’t believe there is one solution to relaxing and bringing yourself to peace. It’s an idiosyncratic, personal process, and it takes time and energy to learn to relax. That’s right; you must expend effort learning what calms you, and how to remove stress from your life. I’ve found that creating an Indulgences list is the most efficient way for me to organize and remember what relaxes me. Making your own list is like making your own relaxation regimen; it’s always available, and it can be as simple or intricate as you choose. Your items may be free or expensive, time-consuming or take seconds of your day.

Peace and calm is worth investing time in, and on top of learning to relax, you will learn about yourself and in what environment you operate best. This skill can influence your relationships, allowing the people in your life to understand what you need to be relaxed.

Stress is not only difficult to deal with, it’s unhealthy for the human body. It took me years to learn how to relax, and I’m still learning every day. The time I’ve put into relaxing and learning what’s best for me has paid off tenfold, and I’m calmer, happier, and at more internal peace because of it. Do yourself a favor, grab a pen and paper or device, and begin brainstorming. Spend time learning what helps you unwind, and share it with the world.

5 thoughts on “1/4/14: Indulgences

  1. Hi Avery
    Only recently did I start reading your blog posts. Personally , I love writing in my journal- all my feelings, thoughts, ideas , plans but I was seldom interested in reading others’ journals. Some how your posts really resonate with my life. I am not a teenager anymore , I am in my mid twenties. About today’s post, I agree with the versatility of means of relaxation . But I have something to share with you that I recently discovered. When I was your age I was good at handling certain levels of pressure and succeeded in completing my tasks. But since a couple of years , I was feeling overwhelmed with the pressure. I would procrastinate,get stressed about how I was going to make it, underperform, get stressed about the result and the cycle continued leaving me feeling unfulfilled .I was frustrated- I was struggling forever and yet not achieving much. I would relax using good meditation techniques but would dread getting back to work. I found this video on youtube which brought forth a very interesting point. It said that-“if you need external motivation for any task then you are not really wanting to do it, your true desires need no external motivation , the desire is itself very motivating”. It struck me hard and stuck with me long. Once when I was trying to vent out my frustration while chatting with my friend , he pointed out that – we need to do things we WANT to do and not those we SHOULD do. I realized how I had totally stopped listening to my heart’s desires. When I was younger , I was so connected to myself , I would enjoy doing stuff to please myself. I could work for hours over my projects and never feel tired. It is my new year resolution to live my own life, one that is fulfilling . I have this strong feeling that this is the solution for all the frustration I have been feeling lately.
    I hope this helps those like me. And to those much younger, like you, Avery – always remember you are unique and special and capable of doing wonderful things but for that you want to listen to your heart.Do not let anyone hard your self esteem.I do not mean to say that you become complacent and give up all ambitions. Do chase your dreams but make sure they are yours. Your true desires are very powerful in themselves, they will give you the right direction and energy .If you are feeling pressurized, tired, frustrated, unfulfilled or overwhelmed, its time to look back and analyze things.
    I hope you have a great year ahead.
    Best,
    Sumi

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    1. Hi Sumi. Thank you so much for your comment. When I started this blog, this is exactly what I craved; meaningful comments and conversation, so that not only am I outputting my opinions, but also receiving knowledge from others.
      As a high schooler, I am constantly surrounded by people you describe; unmotivated and without passion for their lives, and it breaks my heart. People think that everything is about a grade, and have no appreciation for the subjects they are taking. It is certainly not all their fault, and I do think our education system places too much weight on grades. At my age with the mandatory nature of school, it can be hard to find a passion and pursue it. I really appreciate your insight, and I want to assure you that I find passion in almost everything I do. I am very interested by several of my classes, I find passion in connecting with others, and especially in writing on this blog and talking to people like you! I am so glad you were able to find a path that aligns with your heart; I’ve learned that life becomes more of a chore than a gift when I am not pursuing something I love. I do believe we all have to do things at some point or another that we don’t want to be, but if we can put those things in the perspective of “I must complete this in order to pursue what I really love” it can make the task internally motivated. This article was not meant necessarily to combat this feeling, but to inspire very busy and stressed individuals to find out how they prefer to relax, rather than following a scripted routine that may not fit their tastes. However, I would love to write an article pertaining to passion in life, so thank you! Perhaps I can include some of your feedback and insights, if that is okay with you. Thanks again for your wisdom, and I assure you that I am working towards my dreams every day, and I am lucky to know what they are. I hope you have an absolutely wonderful year, and please, feel free to comment again. I deeply appreciate and enjoy it.

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      1. Hi Avery , I am very happy and grateful to have this conversation here. You are a wonderful at writing and sharing your views. Keep it up! I would love to read your next blog and feel free to pick up anything you find useful. I had a tiny correction ..I do not see the edit option , so I will just correct it here- I originally intended to say :Do not let anyone harm your self esteem.
        Thank you !

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  2. Hi Avery
    Thank for your blog and Article about indulgences. It is very inspiring for me, even though I am much older than you and don’t have English as my mother tongue 🙂 I just made my own indulgences-list on my phone 🙂
    Kind regards
    martin

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    1. Thank you so much! I’m glad it was helpful. Also, I do not know what you natively speak, but I am very impressed with your knowledge of English!

      Like

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