It’s crazy how easy it is to get tied up between work, social life, responsibilities, appointments, etc. A huge part of adapting to ~adult life~ for me is understanding how to balance this as well as what triggers stress or chaos.
I think that doing Whole30 and not drinking has provided me with a new level of clarity and what my priorities are. I feel that I know myself a whole lot better now than I ever really have – and I'm really proud of this moment. I know that in order to function at work, I'll need at least 7-8 hours of sleep; in order to function at social events, I need time to myself to decompress; in order to have a kick-ass workout, I need ample nutrition in my diet and a killer mix to throw on. I want to start devoting more attention to my well-being beyond a face mask or retail therapy
In my resolutions for this year, I focus a lot of mental well-being, in ways I feel have huge ROI on my physical, psychological, emotional, etc. health. While I still continue to meet with my therapist and check in with friends, I’ve found four major things that really make an impact on me feeling calmer and more secure.
I played sports until I went to college which was when I got more serious about fitness. My parents were always so active and in my competitive Aries nature, I found a new hobby that really fueled me. While my goals were always "get skinny" or "lose weight," it took figuring out the mental side that really changed working out for me. When I was able to throw my mind into my workouts to focus more closely on my body, I could shut out the outside world and just be present.
I use my gym time now as a complete hour or so all to myself. While I do check my phone, I love using this time to get my mind and body aligned. I think the mental part of it forces you to really put everything you have into yourself. I know that when I'm having an off-day, I need to refocus or else my time at the gym won't be well spent. The gym has really provided me space to release all good and bad energy and recenter myself.
Going for Walks
Living in a city is truly a blessing. Most things you might need are probably within walking-distance, and you can explore all kinds of hidden gems. About a year ago, I started going on hour-long walks which, at first, I was using as LIIS training. When I realized how much it helped me mentally, however, I tried to add it into my schedule in addition to the gym.
I love just getting out and admiring my neighborhood. I usually try to knock out an errand or two, listen to podcasts, call friends, etc. Even though I may be a bit distracted, there's something about getting yourself moving that really does the body good. When I fall into depressive states, all I want to do is curl up and watch tv, but once I get up to walk, I find that I return home feeling reenergized with higher gratitude.
Writing Notes Before Bed
As I write this now, I realize that this is basically electronic journaling, so just stay with me. A few months ago, I started writing really deep, personal notes on my phone. It started with thoughts that were keeping me up – men, issues at work, anxiety, etc. I found that getting everything down was incredibly cathartic, and doing it before bed really helped to ease my mind and body, too. After writing before bed, I wake up feeling calm and safe with a clearer and more stable conscious.
I talked to my therapist about this, and she noted that doing this is proven to help. These are things I don’t plan on sharing with others yet still wanted to express in some way. Either way, I think it’s extremely beneficial to have a place where you can let out some of your deepest thoughts without worrying about what others might think.
Listening to the Songs of my Youth
No matter how I am feeling – ecstatic, fatigued, outraged, confused – there are some artists whose songs seem to cure all. I used to wear a jacket in high school that said “Music is the answer” on the back, and I find this to be one of the truest things. Music has an incredible power to effect your mood and well-being. It brings us together, reminds us of change and can inspire us.
The three artists I usually turn should come as no surprise. I will instantly turn to Sam’s Town by The Killers (obviously my favorite album of their’s), a playlist of my favorite Kid Cudi tracks or an almost-complete compilation of Lady Gaga’s discography. These were all artists were all there for me when I was going through some rough years and remind me that things have gotten better and will continue to.
These are seemingly small things that have such an immense impact on me. I know these don’t work for everyone, but I think we all have small actions we can do that will make us feel almost 100. As I grow deeper into adulthood, I look forward to learning more about myself and what works best for me.