Exactly a year ago today I put up a post called Taking a Breather after having had a really busy and stressful month. I wrote about things that helped me relax that included cooking, blogging, trip planning, and shopping. Funnily, I find myself in a very similar situation on this day. I took a week off in Maui this month which should have left me utterly relaxed, but the rest of the weeks were more stressful than usual. I wouldn't go as far as saying I'm going through a crisis as much as I'm just experiencing a normal, probably healthy, amount of panic about this thing we're all in called life. In the past year, especially the last few months, I've found a few more ways to wind down and stay calm in times of stress.
Going to the Movies Alone
I talked about going to a cinema alone in this post back in last September when I first got my Moviepass. Since then, I've done the same thing a few more times and I promise, the more you do it, the less awkward and more enjoyable it is. In fact, I just got back from seeing Final Portrait with Armie Hammer and Geoffrey Rush. It was... different and interesting. I find being in the cinema alone liberating and mind clearing in a unique way. Nobody is looking in your direction and you're completely immersed in another world. Watching a movie alone at home is no comparison because I get easily distracted by my phone and laptop, and the cinema is probably the number one place I would DEFINITELY not take my phone out. Any activity that makes me forget my phone is a winner!
I'm still a newbie at this but it honestly does wonders. (I know everyone talks about it, but it's true!) I use the app Headspace whenever I can and I also went to a meditation class in person. Even though I wouldn't say I'm able to do it well, the effects are already drastic. A mere three minute meditation using my phone could change my mood from angry and upset to calm and at ease. If you haven't tried it yet, definitely give it a try somehow! There are a lot of apps out there and there's really no risk in trying (I think).
Hiking/Being in Nature
Whether it's the beach, the forest, or the desert, I always feel so much calmer when surrounded by nature (except when I'm paranoid and scaring myself by the thought of potentially seeing snakes...). When in Maui, we did several hikes after driving windy mountainous roads. On one of the hikes, it was pouring rain on and off and it was so foggy that we couldn't see any of the supposedly sweeping views. However, it was also exhilarating! We often get so absorbed our own busy little lives that we forget there's so much more out there. I did always appreciate nature's beauty. Sometimes a place (Banff in Canada, oh my) is so breathtaking that I could literally tear up. Now that I live in a big city, however, I can easily forget that there's such a simple way to breath, relax, and regain some perspective.