Lately I’ve been trying to get my mind away from the hustle and bustle of social media. Facebook, especially, rack with political bullshit, destroys my mood and creates unnecessary anxiety. It seems as though everyone lately is wrought with depression and anxiety. Who can blame them? Society is trying to increase our productivity at the expense of a way less fulfilling life. I would much rather spend my time outdoors, with people, and away from screens. Facebook is definitely still addicting for me, though, no matter how many times I try to detox. Here are a few things I’ve been trying lately to rid that technology-fueled, work-fueled anxiety from my life:
1)Connect the Dots
I discovered this amazing thing in a 5 Below store. Not only was it $5 or less (bless that store) unlike the $20 adult coloring books you can find at Barnes and Noble, but these adult connect-the-dots books are exciting. You’re not sure what you’re drawing and you have to pay attention to what number you need next. With the coloring books, I just could not find those random patterns interesting enough. So far, I’ve only played with the David Woodroffe and Chris Bell books using (of course) different colored markers. I’m obsessed and so excited for the future of these.
Essential oils are not a joke. Multiple types of essential oils can calm you down, but lavender is my all-time favorite. You can do some research into which ones will work best for you. Some essential oils are supposed to be better for anxiety (like lavender), but just smelling your favorite scent can work too! Smelling essential oils actually have health benefits and unlike candles, there are no harmful chemicals included.
Although I don’t practice it as much as I should, meditation practices are amazing for your health. There’s something about taking a step back from the world and remembering to just be – to be grateful for your life and who you are, where you are. It’s important to leave your mind and be at peace for a little while. There are many ways to meditate, as well. You can meditate in any position, with any chant or prayer, and while doing almost anything. Try to find the best way to meditate for you.
Whether you spend your time reading fiction or non-fiction, reading can be a form of meditation and relief from anxiety. Plenty of people stop reading after college – even after high school! Maybe reading for “work” has burnt them out too much, but reading for pleasure is really worth doing. Find a book that you’re really interested in and if you haven’t read for pleasure in awhile, don’t feel bad about reading teen fiction or something a lot easier. A good book is a good book and reading levels were created by “The Man.”
It doesn’t even have to be a long one. Taking a hike can greatly reduce your stress levels. Just being outside can reduce your stress levels and you can soak up a bunch of Vitamin D from the sun. That said, try not to wear sunscreen too much (if at all). Sunscreen is super harmful for your skin, body, and the environment considering the chemicals it contains. Sunscreen itself can cause cancer…and burning, red spots, etc. As I’ve written about before, topical application of certain foods, herbs, oils, etc can affect your whole body. Same goes for sunscreen. It doesn’t just sit on your skin. It absorbs into your bloodstream. Anyway, more on that later. If you have sensitive skin, try to find a sunscreen with the least amount of harmful ingredients. Spend time in the shade, too! Don’t just stay in direct sunlight. At any rate, get outside!
6) Play games
Video games can be more fun and they’re easy. You can get them on your phone or computer. You can play them by yourself. They get your mind off of things and do wonders for your focus, memory, and coordination skills. Definitely try to play a board game though. I have strong beliefs that board games should come back into style, and not just Cards Against Humanity (great company though)! Play cards. Try to play with someone else.
7) Paper Journals
Writing and keeping a journal on your computer or tablet is great. Writing in general can be incredible stress relief just to get your thoughts down. Writing helps you remember better, helps you move on, and allows you to better organize your thoughts/life. What’s better, though? Putting it all down on paper. The physical act of writing in your own handwriting and looking at what you’ve written, being able to physically turn the pages gives you a feeling of accomplishment. It also helps you remember better and keeps you from being distracted.
8) Drink Tea
There’s something about a hot beverage that really calms you down. You can drink certain herbs (chamomile, lavender) to accentuate the feeling, but it’s not even necessary. In South Korea, women drink hot water without tea to aide digestion. Yeah, it will help you poop! 😉
9) Stay away from screens!
Computer screens, cell phone screens, TV, and just about anything technological can induce anxiety these days. The news is deafening. Bright lights give you headaches. Social media makes you question your emotions, your sanity, who you thought were your friends. Here’s a helpful hint: None of it is real. Everything you see on a screen you see through a lens. It has been edited multiple times. Yes, including your friends’ Facebook page. People are putting their best selves out there (minus the political rants), but not their real, whole-feeling selves. Watch an episode of Black Mirror if you need a reminder as to how harmful technology can be when we let it take us too far. I also recommend reading Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things if you need a reminder as to how to be human again. I sure did.
Listen to whatever music makes you feel good whether it be sad or energetic or bluegrassy. Sometimes certain tones can remind you of yourself and where you feel comfortable in this world.
11) Ice Water
I haven’t tried this, but a lovely friend who kicks anxiety’s ass constantly recommends filling a glass with as much ice as you can and then add water. Regardless of if this works for you, reassociate yourself with the physical world. Touch something soft and really focus on feeling it. Punch something (not someone).
12) Work Out
It’s no secret that working out releases endorphins. Endorphins make you happy and happy people just don’t kill their husbands. You don’t even have to go to a gym or lift weights. Find out what you like to do. Maybe it’s swimming, tennis, rock climbing, or yoga. Whatever it is, go out there and do it!
13) Pet An Animal
Cat petting and dog petting days are all over college campuses during finals these days. Of course, they didn’t start that until after I graduated, but we won’t get into my bitterness. Pets are so awesome. Not only do they teach you how to care for another living being, but they can create real, beautiful relationships. They can make you feel calm and loved at the end of a hard day. They’re a reminder to love yourself and others.
14) Make Some Art
Art is really cool. I think we all know this. You don’t even have to be good (although this piece is particularly good). It can be “abstract.” Just dip a brush in some paint in whatever color your heart desires and put it on anything. It could be a canvas. It could be something else. Whatever works.
Spas aren’t just for rich, high maintenance old ladies. They’re for everyone. Go to one that boasts organic products. Get a massage. Check out a dry sauna. It’s super healthy to maintain your stress levels and take care of yourself. Plus, it feels awesome.
I hope this post can help people with anxiety and other mood disorders. It seems like it keeps getting harder and harder to live in this world despite everything becoming “easier.” Look into your life and change it for the better. It’s the only way to stay happy, I swear.
P.S. I like to invent words like “bluegrassy” and “reassociate.” All words were invented at some point or another.