Before you do anything, if you need a good giggle, check out my cousin and me back in ’99 and guess which one of us had the gay dads (thanks cousin Cathy for the photo and cousin Austin for being ok with me sharing)…ok now back to our regularly scheduled programming…
Social media is a crazy thing. It’s insanely wonderful for keeping in touch with friends, for finding places in the world you want to explore, and so much more. It can also be incredibly destructive and I’ve watched many of my friends implode from things they’ve seen online and it breaks my heart.
I’ve also realized that I’ve been posting a lot of heavy stuff about my life lately and while I am being totally honest about what’s going on, it’s like another version of social media. You are only seeing the tough stuff because you only hear from me twice a week. But I don’t spend most of the hours of my day miserable behind a desk. Yes, right now, maybe I cry more than I do other times, but the majority of the hours in the day I am a happy, very grateful camper (that’s a lie, I hate camping, but I am happy and grateful). So, I think today I will step away from some of the darker stuff I’m going through with a list of some things you can do to make yourself feel better even in a tough season. Some things to do while you’re in the caterpillar phase working that chrysalis every day into becoming a butterfly. These are also some things you can do instead of sitting on social media. (Highly recommend a little social media detox now and then.)
- Meditate for 10 minutes when you get up in the morning (I’ve been doing this for the past 18 days every day and it is LIFE CHANGING instead of checking my phone first thing when I get up and if you seriously can’t get up 10 minutes earlier than you do now…even though I think that’s a lame excuse…find 10 minutes in the evening. Schedule it into your day and don’t forget about it and if you miss a day don’t beat yourself up.)
- Pick up the phone and call a friend or a parent or a family member that DOESN’T STRESS YOU OUT. If they don’t answer, call another friend. Find someone that’s available to chat about life, love and the pursuit of happiness. Or start a chat with someone via voice messages. A lot of my friends live in different time zones so connecting via phone is hard so we send messages back and forth. My friend Alex (who is currently living in Innsbruck, Austria because she’s freaking cool) and I can literally send 40-minute voice memos to each other that we listen to during our respective workouts and it’s a nice way to talk and get things off our chests without someone responding or interrupting with advice right away. You really get to talk things out and then when you hear from someone they’ve really had to listen to what you’ve said, think it through and send something back. It’s been a huge help with my far away friends.
- Better yet, go meet a friend for coffee or yoga or a movie night or whatever it is you guys do, just make the effort, reach out and tell them you need them. Or do anything of those things by yourself too-mega empowering.
- Put on your favorite song and go for a drive. This was a classic for my friend Juliette and I in college. If we weren’t crying in our cars we were blasting music and dancing like crazy people in them.
- Don’t look at your phone for 6 hours straight. Go outside for a walk. Write a letter to someone you love. Go to the gym, go for a run. Do something that doesn’t involve a tiny box that you stare at.
- Do my favorite breathing exercise, a 30-second breath. In for 10 seconds, hold for 10 seconds, out for 10 seconds. Repeat ten times or until you accidentally fall asleep.
- Watch your favorite TV show without feeling guilty or like you should be doing something more productive. (I’m not saying you should sit in front of your TV for 10 hours straight, but just give yourself a little break to enjoy something that makes you belly laugh and if you have the time a good binge session is not a bad thing. YOU ARE NOT LAZY IF YOU ARE ASKING THE QUESTION.)
- Read an actual book. Or go to an actual bookstore. The smell alone is intoxicating if you’re a bookworm like me.
- Buy a plant and nurture it and know that if it doesn’t survive it is not a reflection on your ability to raise or love things.
- Go see a movie by yourself (the hands down most freeing thing to do for yourself, by yourself).
- Go eat your favorite food. If you’re anything like me you’re now thinking about the largest cheese board of man-kind and how pretty you can make it or thinking about the best ice cream sundae there is (this is now all I can think about).
- Perform a random act of kindness. Pay for the person behind you at a coffee shop, buy someone’s dessert at the table next to you, pick up a stuffed animal that a child has dropped or just smile at someone. It doesn’t need to be big just something.
- Take a bath, but please learn from my mistake with eucalyptus essential oil…PSA: two drops of a strong essential oil are PLENTY or you’ll end up like me running around trying to get the oil “unstuck” from your entire body screaming “I only used like 15 drops because I couldn’t smell it.”
- Organize yourself for the coming days/weeks. Or if days or weeks are too much, just the coming hours. Write it down. Get it out of your head. I am obnoxious about how much I use my planner, but it is a godsend because then my to do list doesn’t eat me alive.
- Write down just one or two things your grateful for, leave it somewhere you’ll see it and add something to it every day.
- When nothing else sounds good…cry it out. Let it out baby. It’s all good. We are here to catch you, friend, and the other side of that cry feels 1,000,000 times better. I used to watch YouTube videos of soldiers surprising their families to bring it out sometimes when I felt I just needed that “good cry.” My college roommates thought I was insane, but once I got it out I could move on, see the good in life again, pick myself up and fight for another beautiful day.
These are some of the many things I do to keep myself sane. They are easy. They are little, but they make a mountain of difference. And if you need more silly childhood photos of me to make you laugh when you don’t feel like it, you never have to hesitate to ask. Have a happy, lovely and social media free weekend.