Nearly a month ago, I wrote a blog on how I stay focused. One of my ways to stay focused is to relax. But relaxing is not something that comes naturally to me. I’m a busy bee by nature and I sometimes have to stop myself from going faster than I can. So that’s why I had to teach myself to take some moments for myself. Some quiet time where it’s just me, myself and I. Because I need that me-time. If I am around people for too long, I go crazy. I charge my battery when I’m by myself and here’s how I do just that.
A good night’s sleep is what I need to keep going. I love sleeping. If it could be a job, I’d excel at it. I can literally sleep all day. Even when I’m not sick. I can wake up at 6 AM and fall asleep 3 times over, only to wake up some time past noon, while I went to bed at 11 PM the night before. I love my bed and sleep is perfect for destressing. If I can, I take naps after I get home just to give myself a bit of a boost. I can do that again, as my dance classes start around 9 PM, so that even when I get home as late as 7 PM, I can crash on my (also very comfy) couch and take a power nap.
2.) Listen to music
The reason why I listen so much music, is because it is my ultimate form of relaxation. Watching movies or reading books aren’t forms of relaxation for me: they make my brain race when I don’t want it to do that. It’s why I don’t watch many movies or read any books when I’m really busy. However, I can pick up a book so I force myself to think of something other than work and school. So it works as a distraction for me, but not as a relaxer.
Music however does: it makes me not think. I can sort of switch off my brain when listening to music, which is very convenient, because nothing else seems to do the trick. I have a playlist devised for the sole purpose of relaxation. I play it late at night (when I need to unwind) or early in the morning when I’m on a train and I can barely keep my eyes open. It features mostly quiet, soothing songs that don’t put me to sleep right away, but that somehow have a calming effect on me. Works like a charm.
3.) Drink tea
One thing I like to do while listening to music is to have some tea. After crashing majorly in 2008 due to a way too stressful job, I found out that as long as I stick to drinking tea and water I’m feeling genuinely better. Hence my tea addiction. My perfect lazy sunday/ afternoon/ evening: listening to music while drinking piles of tea (and eating the occasional cookie).
4.) Work out
This may sound weird to some of you, but I work out quite a bit and that’s another main form of relaxation. The reason? It’s how I stay sane. If I don’t work out, I’m left with a load of pent up energy that has nowhere to go. I get antsy and I start climbing the walls. Not working out leads to more stress for me. Plus, it gives me another incentive to not think about work, school, life in general for an hour or two. It’s killing two birds with one stone.
On top of that, Bodybalance (tai chi, yoga & pilates fused into one class) has taught me how to relax my muscles and to use my breath to do so. When I feel tense, all I do is take a deep breath and focus on the tense part of my body. One at the time if need be, and it has helped me tremendously. My back/ shoulders have been bothering me ever since that same crash I mentioned earlier, but as long as I keep moving it actually hurts less, not more.
If things really go awry and I feel that I’m not doing well, I write things down. When things go wrong, I get trouble sleeping. My thoughts just keep whirring through my head and I can’t sleep. I always have to focus on something completely different than my life in order to fall asleep (I’ve been making up my own stories since I was a kid) and when I get too stressed I simply can’t do that. The only thing that then helps is to write everything down.
Putting my worries onto paper puts them somewhere other than my head and since it’s on paper I can’t forget about it either. I keep a notepad next to my bad, just in case I have trouble sleeping. I know I’m doing good when I haven’t written anything down in a while. Sometimes I even write things down because I realize it’s been months since I wrote anything down.
Q: How do you stay sane?