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.