It seems life is unbelievably overwhelming a majority of the time. Whether you are being faced with a loss of any kind, a physiological injury, a physiological setback, or you are just plain bored and confused with your life, it can put a damper on your mood, health, and excitement for life. While I have been home for break, I have caught the bug of negative nostalgia, which has left me sinking in a reminiscent vat of "happier" and "simpler" times.
Then Tuesday morning came along, and I woke up feeling old. Yes, 18-year-old Annabelle felt like an old, dilapidated lady with creaky bones and a feeling of lost time. Dramatic, I know, but at that moment I decided I was done wallowing. I picked up my journal and I wrote down a list of healthy ways to regain my youthful momentum and curiosity for my future. In other words, I decided to hit the "refresh button" on my life. So in this article, I am going to share with you 5 ways to feel fresh, excited, and overall grateful for the tools you have been given through experience.
Before I begin, I want you to realize that each of these steps can be altered for your personal use. These steps are mere guidelines to get you thinking about ways to de-stress and recharge, so if you don't relate to something fully, feel free to change it according to who you are and what you need.
1. Write it all down.
If you have read my article A Journal To My Future Self, you know how fond I am of journaling. When your brain seems to be up to its old tricks and it just will not, even for a second, be quiet, try writing everything and anything you are thinking down. That way you will be filtering, reflecting, and quieting the dialogue that takes place in our busy minds. For this particular journaling session, I suggest writing in three different categories. First, try writing down all of the memories you miss, all the people you miss, all the places you miss, and all of the feelings that you have towards all of it.
Second, try writing down all of the lessons and life experience those memories/peoples/places gave to you and the gratitude you have for each. Third, try writing down a list of all of the thing you are excited for in the next month if you think you have nothing to look forward to, make or plan something to look forward to; maybe reach out to a friend for coffee, or plan a movie date with yourself!
2. Have a spa day for yourself!
Dedicate a full day to yourself. It's okay to have days where you are undeniably and unquestionably focused on yourself. Self-love is not selfish. I invite you to preplan a whole day where you do everything and anything entirely for your self-enjoyment. Wake up naturally to the sun or wake up bright and early to watch the sunrise. Draw a bath with oils and candles, or take a long, hot shower and lather yourself in your favorite-smelling soap. Read a juicy book, or binge watch your favorite tv/movie series. Eat whatever you want. Take a nap, heavens knows we could always sleep more. Take a moment to unplug and just bask in having zero responsibilities for that day.
3. Declutter your space.
I don't know about you. but my mind is a hot mess if my space is one. It is important to take moments in our week, or even throughout our day, to declutter, organize, and deal in our spaces. This could mean completely reorganizing, and purging your closets, cleaning out and refiling your backpack, or taking a good long look at that toilet scrubber, and just going for it. Once you have tidied up your space, it gives you the freedom to breathe, reassess, and approach your mental state without any distractions. I also suggest listening to a really interesting, funny, or spooky podcast to help the time fly and quiet thoughts like, "When did I get Chinese food??"
4. Fill your calendar.
It's hard to keep up on all of our to-dos and assignments when we depend entirely on our memory. Maybe it works for some people, and I applaud you, but think about what you could be using that brain power for instead! I am a firm believer in writing lists and keeping an up-to-date calendar. It makes me feel so much more at ease, knowing that I will not miss or forget an appointment/assignment because I have it all written down for quick reference in those moments where I think "Is there something I should I be doing right now?" So even just taking a few minutes to write down everything you need to accomplish in your upcoming week can seriously destress your life.
5. Exercise at your own pace.
Before I lose you, hear me out. I'm not here to tell you that you need to run your guts out of attending every single workout class your university provides, although if that would help you individually, then go for it! I am here to suggest taking a moment to go on a walk, breath in fresh air, and let your heart fill with gratitude as you behold to the beauty of the world you live in, the body you experience with, and the mind you have. Exercising gives you a time and space to truly feel alive and connected to yourself, and I think in this modern day of constant stimulation and distraction, taking those moments is extremely important.