I know you’re tired.
I, too, find myself tired more than I’d like to admit. It’s not the physical exhaustion that you experience after working out, but the mental blocks that you’ve been facing daily that just… never seem to end. I find it easy to just let myself veg out in front of my laptop and go through my 10+ “Watch later” videos in one sitting after a long day — and then continue browsing for more videos because it’s just the easy to do so. I get it. But you also know that you probably won’t feel so hot afterwards.
The following are some self-care tips for when you’re tired of just feeling sorry for yourself. For when you want to channel that energy towards something that your future self will be grateful for later. These activities take some effort and you might experience some resistance when you bring yourself to do them — but that’s part of the process. These are some ideas that personally allow me to collect my thoughts and reflect about where I am in life. You might not want to think about these kinds of things right now, but releasing those thoughts in one form or another will be cathartic.
They are also things that you should do by yourself, things that are often associated with “introvert” by nature. But I believe that establishing a healthy relationship with yourself is necessary to have better relationships with those around you. So if you’re an introvert, extrovert, or anywhere in between — this post is for you.
Schedule your tasks for another time, so that you can unload those responsibilities from your mind. I use Notion to schedule my tasks into four main categories so i know what i have to do today, later, for my internship, and for school. Then, set your phone to silent mode. Browsing through social media and seeing what other people are doing or have done is only going to create more FOMO. By silencing your surrouncings, you’re removing any guilt you may have from taking time to yourself.
Then, sip some tea. I prefer green tea or a low-caffeinated drink, as black tea and strong caffeinated drinks make my heart race, and finding myself wide awake at 2am feeling like I’m going to have a heart attack is not fun.
Play calm instrumental music in the background. This is particularly important if you’re surrounded by noise pollution that sets your internal alarm off. I’m personally quite sensitive to these kinds of noises, so I’ve primed myself to play (instrumental) music regardless of what I’m doing. Whenever there is construction going on outside, I just put on my (somewhat) noise-cancelling headphones, and make sure the volume is just high enough to cover the background noise. The other reason I listen to music is to drown the voices inside my head.
Meditate, whenever you can. This has been a struggle for me, but I have found that even a 5-minute session can help tremendously. There is something about letting myself be led by a soothing voice that restores my sanity to a calmer level. There is so much research out there about the correlation between your emotional and physical state, as well as the myriads of healing benefits of meditation. It’s such a simple act, yet it can be so healing. You can also take a meditative nap, which I like to do. Sleep is always good. More on that later.
“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.”
Play chess, cards or Sudoku. I downloaded a free chess app on my iPad and playing on it makes me feel like I’m in the company of someone. I would much rather prefer the physical version of the game, but the digital options is a great space-saving alternative. I also took a card-couting class on Blackjack this semester, and I’ve been practicing that by myself on a free phone app as well, or with my $1 deck of cards.
Let your mind do its thing
Journal — physically, virtually, or socially. I prefer to do this on a physical journal, as the palpable act of using a pen on paper is cathartic in itself. I also have a private WordPress blog, where I resort to when I’m absolutely raging about some subject and need to rant without being bothered to jot my thoughts down ~neatly~.
Recently, I also created a finsta, a private Instagram account where I added some of my closer friends. There, I posts updates and — most commonly — frustrations and thoughts about my life lately. It’s my way of sharing personal details about my life with friends, without directly reaching out to them. As someone who does a poor job at keeping in touch with friends, this has been a great way at making myself feel like a better friend than I actually am.
Blog. When your thoughts are more collected, sharing them in a cohesive manner can help you — and maybe someone else, too. The awareness of sharing your thoughts can help you see your problems from another perspective, and it’s also ego-boosting knowing that you wrote and published a blog post. Small wins, am I right?
Get moving, in nature
Just get out. I prefer to take a walk — in the suburbs of the area I live in, where I’m less likely to cross paths with other people. There is nothing that makes me more anxious than running into people when I’m out and about. It’s not about the act of running into them, but the thought of running into them that makes me anxious. I know, I’m working on it. For now, the calm, suburban neighborhoods are my safe places. I also bike, if it’s not too cold and the wind isn’t beating my face. It can take me further places, away from what I’m accustomed to. Just the act of getting out and getting some nature fix can reset your mind. I’m not kidding. Read the book.
I prefer not to listen to music while I’m walking or baking out, mainly for safety reasons. I also listen to music 24/7 when I’m indoors, so when I do leave the house I try to take an auditory breather. But if I’m taking public transport, walking around traffic, or just surrounded by people, sometimes I like to drown the noise by listening to a podcast.
Clean your space. I like to vacuum, wipe and do laundry about once a week. I love seeing my space free from dust that has collected for the past week, and I rejoice the feeling of lying on my clean sheets in my clean bedroom at the end of the day. It makes me feel better about myself, even if everything around me is falling apart. It’s also my Sunday exercise of the day — not intense enough to exhaust me, but active enough to help me sleep a tiny bit better that night.
Do a relaxing activity
Pet, cuddle and love your cat. They might claw or ignore you, but they don’t bite or bark. As soon as I have a stable life, I will move into a small apartment, become a suburban cat mom, and cuddle the heck out of my cats.
Watch inspiring and just truly relaxing videos. Not the ones that show you how they were so productive during the day, but the ones where they spend the whole day cooking, cleaning, and just being cozy at home. Sueddu and Haegreendal are my absolute loves. Watching their videos makes me feel okay about taking things at my own pace, and gosh do their filming style inspire me to improve mine.
Okay, fine. I also watch ridiculous drama TV series like Riverdale and Katy Keene, and super depressing philosophical ones like Rick and Morty and Bojack Horseman … which I do not recommend binge watching. Just… don’t.
Read a book. There really is nothing better than losing yourself in the enthralling plot of a book. You can’t not feel good about spending your time reading; it’s the most relaxing yet nurturing activity you can do for your mental growth.
Sleep, sleep and sleep. It is the most healing thing that we can do for our health and sanity. There is so much research, so much data and so much that explains why you should be getting at least 8 hours of sleep at night. I highly recommend reading Why We Sleep, which will scare you into going to sleep. There’s a reason why sleep has permeated throughout evolution and why we spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping — it is a basic need, a fundamental necessity, the magic pill to our health.
Something that I’ve been listening to lately is a podcast called . Every episode, a soothing voice narrates a story and slowly lulls you to sleep. It’s just like a guided meditation — but through a story.
That’s all. Now go take care of yourself.
Originally published at http://www.mistyprose.com on April 28, 2020.