Lately I've been caring less and less about control, and starting to discover the goodness of release. It's the concept of just living your life the way you are right now and letting everything fall into place.
And while attempting to live a life of control, control, control had me feeling like I was in a constant state of gritting my teeth, finding more release in my life has made me feel so, so free.
If you're a person who's really busy, cares a lot, and works hard, it can feel like you just don't have time for calm. But you do. Because I am also all of those things, and I've found the time.
Here are five strategies to find calmness and a sense of release in your everyday, hectic, messy life.
Accept that 'nothing' is a vital part of every day
Whenever I have a busy day with a lot of work to do and I fall into a pit of procrastination, it's hard to get out. I start watching TV or wasting time on social media, and it's like I metaphorically throw my hands into the air and say, "welp, I failed! The productivity ship had sailed!" And then I continue to watch Youtube videos about the world's biggest musical instruments and eat snacks and feel bad about myself.
Turns out, this is the completely wrong mindset. Instead of avoiding wasting time at all costs until it blows up in our faces and hijacks our entire evening at the end of a hard day, we should schedule it in like it's any other necessary task. Like doing your statistics problem set or cooking your dinner, relaxation is just another unavoidable part of your day. You're not procrastinating. You're not wasting time. You're just spending your time on a different kind of necessary thing.
Spend time outside and notice the world
One very effective way to get some 'release' in your life, is to go outside. This doesn't mean going for a hike through the woods every morning ( ain't nobody got time for that). It means sitting on the bench across from your house while you plan your next week of blogging. It means taking your dog for an extra loop on her walk. It means leaving your phone in your pocket and noticing the sky and the trees and the squirrels as you walk across your college campus.
Find a go-to self care activity
This can be a challenge. You want something that feels like a complete release- no burden, no effort, no frustration, but also doesn't make you feel like a lazy bum. For example, it's ingrained in my brain that Youtube videos are my greatest weakness; they are my go-to method of procrastination and because of this I always feel bad about watching them. And while I should probably work on changing my attitude about that, I also want a self-care strategy (that doesn't make me feel bad) now. So I decided on writing in a journal. It's something I've always enjoyed, but have kinda stopped doing regularly since high school. It requires no effort, (I just kind of dump my feelings onto the page), and I'm not trying to be good while I do it. Most of all, it's an outlet in which I feel a complete release.
Be deliberate. And go places.
Like I mentioned above, I think we all often have go-to forms of relaxation that consist of mindlessly surfing the internet or watching netflix while eating junk food. We often feel guilty and gross about this type of relaxation. Why is that? We're relaxing, aren't we? I think we end up feeling gross about this because it's not a mindful type of relaxation. In fact, usually when you're just vegetating alone on your couch, you're not feeling or thinking or being present at all.
And, for me, I've found that the most feel-good kind of relaxation is the kind that feels mindful and deliberate. Like you're making an effort to be present and complete every task with a conscious sort of lovingness. It can be hard to feel this when you're just sitting on your couch or your kitchen table, because you're used to zoning out and surrendering to routine. But I've found that walking somewhere, like across campus to sit on my favorite bench, makes an act like simply writing in my journal seem more peaceful and more present. Being deliberate with your relaxing activities, or even changing locations to get into a mindful state is a great way to 'release.'
Talk to people
This is probably kind of a no-brainer, but I think it's a good thing to remember. Sometimes when we're really consumed by all the things we have to do and how busy we are, we can bury ourselves in our bubble of "me." We can move through the day on our own, so occupied with the stuff in our own brains that we rush past our conversations and interaction with others-- too focused on what I've got going on next. But what I've found from being in college (and being almost constantly surrounded by friends), is that taking the time to slow down and listen to the people around you can, in many ways, bring you back to earth. You do have time. And right now, there are things that matter besides you. Whatever is on your mind is not the biggest thing, or the most stressful thing, or the most detrimental thing. The world and the people you care about are much bigger and more relevant than whatever has you freaking out. So it's okay.
Alright, I should probably end this blog before it gets super (super) long. But this is something I've been focusing on a lot lately, so I thought I'd share my ideas. Have a lovely and calm day, blogging friends!