WAIT Warning: the following post was begun in January by a girl who likes to think she is ambitious and organized but in reality procrastinates likes it’s going out of style and rewards herself with naps far too often. She’s really just trying her best and that’s all you can ask for right? Right. Ok now you can read, but take it with a few grains of salt.
I’ve always been told that I’m an old soul, the mom of my friend group, some of my friends even like to joke that I’m Grandma Helen. (I’m an avid knitter okay?!) You know that 12 year old who literally thinks she’s 35? Yeah, that was me. Of course I didn’t have all fun adult things like a jury duty, taxes, and responsibility, but I surely had the ego and diary of one. Each year on New Year’s Eve I would concoct rigorous beauty regimens, lofty behavioral adjustments, or extensive to-do lists of achievements. I’ve since grown out of these unrealistic, stress-inducing resolutions and opted instead for a New Year’s intention for myself: Live for the little things. Now, I’m legally an adult, though I feel like less of one than before. This year has truly been the most hectic on record. With second semester came both amazing opportunities and challenges. The moment things start to get hectic, it is SO easy to ignore my mental health. True, sometimes it’s necessary to push through certain situations, but more often then not, a simple change or pause can make life just a little better in the long run. So it’s not New Year’s, or the first day of spring or the beginning of the month even, but what I’ve learned over the years is it’s never too late to reinvest and make a new intention for yourself.
Some of my little things:
This month I was lucky enough to help lead a retreat through my school’s campus ministry. It was an amazing, much needed, four day pause from all the noise of everyday life. The beauty of a retreat isn’t so much the getting away, but the coming back. What I mean by that is: who really cares if you’re all calm and kind during those few days if you go back looking at life the exact same way as you did before??
My favorite thing I brought back from this retreat was art therapy. It’s exactly what it sounds like: therapeutic art making.
How do you do this you ask? Simple:
1. Call up your gal pals (or boy toys?) if you need some moral support for your first time.
2. Gather materials: acrylic paints, water colors, pencils, markers, canvas, construction or printer paper, and finger paints all work fabulously.
3. Take a deep breath and remember you aren’t doing this because someone told you you had to or because you’ll be assessed or judged based on what you produce.
4. Make your art!! Maybe pick a quote or lyric that has a positive message. Someone recently gave me a painting as a gift and said whenever she makes art for someone else, she prays for them while she creates, which is also a wonderful way to destress.
5. Put your art somewhere you can admire it or give it as a gift!
Social Media Cleanse
Social media is GREAT (sometimes) but a lot of the time it sucks. It takes your time, energy, general well being yadayadayada. Don’t get me wrong, I occasionally post to my snap story and spend an inordinate amount of time choosing the best VSCO edit to show off my new favorite outfit on instagram as much as the next girl but I really don’t care that you’re hanging out with the exact same people as last night or that you’re waiting in the looooongest line in Starbucks history. Snapchat and Instagram are totally fine- until you get obsessed.
I had/have the awful habit of checking those apps first thing in the morning and then every five minutes throughout the day until I get my daily dose before bed. I know that’s the case for a large portion of my generation but I realized that when you give so much to your social media self, your real life self can become pretty vapid.
One night I was just so overwhelmed with it all and deleted those apps and thus began my impromptu social media cleanse. I lost my snap streaks and had to hear about people’s college announcements in person and just stand and take in my surroundings while waiting in line for my coffee, but it was so worth it. Even just a week away from it has damped my natural inclination to mindlessly send selfies and scroll through Tasty videos.
Some apps I spent some time on instead were
Viridi: a virtual succulent garden and the next best thing to having an actual plant around. Instead of checking snapchats I watered and weeded my little terrarium.
Crossword: I actually feel my synapses firing while I work on the puzzles, but that could also just be a caffeine-deprivation headache. Oh well, the world will never know.
Coffee Face Mask
Masks are great because if you need to relax but also need to write a paper you can do both! I love the coffee mask from Lush, but I just ran out and don’t have time to go out and get more. Also, not gonna lie, as wondrous as it is, it’s kind of pricey. I discovered a lovely, simple alternative though.
•2 TBS coffee grounds
•1 TBS honey
•1 tsp salt
Mix it all up and apply to your face/chest or use it as a scrub all over your body in the shower.
These are just some ways I choose to press pause during my week. Relaxing is just the goal, don’t beat yourself up over silly resolutions. The important thing to remember it’s all in the name of destressing and a happy mind.