Friday, January 22, 2016

Stress Relief Tips for the Psuedo-Spiritual

You know that awkward moment when someone asks you if you’re religious or spiritual, and you’re like ‘well… I went to a yoga class with my friend once, and I’m not too fond of organized religion, so I’ll go with spiritual!’ Let’s face it, boo. You forget to meditate, even though you tell yourself to and you don’t know the first thing about chakras. I’m here to tell you that’s okay. I live in a very spiritual little town, where it’s just as easy to find a tarot card reader than it is a Starbucks. I love to marvel at the beauty of spiritual practices, but I can’t seem to commit when it comes down to it. I dismiss my stress most days and meaninglessly tap-dance around the inter webs, and the closest thing in my daily routine to spiritually tackling my stress levels is binge drinking tea and rubbing my temples occasionally. So I’ve scoured the web and talked to friends to help folks like you and I, the ‘I think spirituality is attractive but I don’t care to make the first move’ inclined, to deal with stress under means that suit us a little more snug. Let me know if these work for you, and I’ll do the same. Here we go:

1. Fill your empty room up with noise.

Have you always called yourself a music guru but you've noticed that with stress, comes more and more quiet time? This is an odd phenomenon, it's like we forget to surround ourselves with pretty things when we notice all the ugly. But it's more important than ever to keep consistent jams on in your solo spaces. Maybe not anything too rowdy or heart-pumpin, like DMX or My Chemical Romance or anything (not saying I don't indulge these sometimes), but make yourself an ambient playlist to keep the demons at bay.

2. Make lists about anything.

Trick your brain into thinking you're organized and make a few lists. Even if you don't use these lists later on to keep the organization going, the pure act of writing down responsibilities or thoughts lets you focus for a few minutes on solely one thing. And, you might even use those lists without even knowing you are. Your brain is powerful, but sometimes it needs guidance. 

3. Download f.lux. Right friggin’ now. 

Frank Ocean told his Tumblr followers one night to download this handy gadget/app onto their laptops and phones and naturally, I did it. This has been a lifesaver. My brain used to buzz for long periods of time after I spent hours internet-binging in high school. As a natural, and detrimental stress response, I would distract myself on the internet. Don't tell me you haven't. F.lux gradually makes screens warmer in tone, making it easier on the eyes and less irritable when we close them to sleep. This will help with not only sleeping but decrease that stress time before bed, you know, when you're thinking of all the things you have to do in the morning. Get it. Right now.

4. Keep a scent circulating.

There's no deeper meaning to this one other than the fact that good scents will make you feel things, likely good things. Don't believe the super spiritual hype. Just light a candle in your atmosphere to let a smell clear your mind a bit.

5. Get laid, if you want to, of course. 

Listen. Sometimes it's a favor to yourself by getting it on. If you enjoy sex, it is proven that it will boost your mood, help with health, and even boost your self esteem. This all means your stress levels will decrease. I wouldn't depend on this method, of course, but boo, you look good. Get someone that looks good to you and spend some good time together. Kissing even releases tension, studies find. 

6. Hold something soft or memorable. A teddy, a blanket.

Just the other night, I missed my mother a lot. I went to my closet and grabbed the cheetah blanket she gave me a few years ago, the one she claims she had since I lived with her. I held it, and it held me, and I felt warm. I remembered the good times. Scientists have proven that soft objects give us fuzzy feelings not only in our hands but inside, too. It's corny, yeah, but you don't have to tell anyone if this works for you.

7. Stop taking yourself so seriously.

Life isn't that crazy serious all the time, even in grown-up land. Breathe a little, relax those shoulders, and give a mirror your silliest face. Look at yourself, you're still the same kid that danced around in grocery stores. You're the same kid with every possibility in their reach. Remind yourself to stop huffing around all the time, treating yourself like your resume or your boss would. Get goofy sometimes, smile more often, and stop feeling like you have to carry the weight of the world. You don't.

8. Plan a weekly getaway trip. 

I'm very fortunate to live in a beautiful place, with many hidden spots to explore. A getaway doesn't have to cross state lines, or even zip codes. A getaway can be as simple as finding a new spot to have a new experience in. Looking up easy, quick or simple trip ideas is a great place to start, or start by taking a drive one day and seeing where it takes you. Getting away from your daily routine is the goal, and it's bound to make you feel a little less stressed.

9. Go out with your friends. Return their calls already.

When is the last time you've gone out with your friends? Really? I'm really bad with being pretty disconnected when I'm stressed. To combat this is simple. Just respond. People love you and want to see you, even if they don't make effort everyday. Hit up your friends and apologize for being distant, but don't apologize for being stressed. And then, take them up on that offer from months ago. I'm sure they'd still love to see you.

Good luck with these, friends!

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