Sometimes it can feel like there is so much to do with so little time to do it. From making sure your family is good, making sure bills are paid, dealing with personalities at work and more. We all can come to a point where we all feel like we are going to break, but before getting to that point understand what helps you to relax. One thing that I have come to understand is throughout all the hustle and bustle, you have to learn to take time for yourself.
There have been times that not taking some “Me Time” like I like to call it, has made me aggressive with people when aggression isn’t needed, has given me headaches, or even more, started to see that I was getting sick… often. As time progressed and I felt that I became more mature to understand that success isn’t going to happen overnight, so just pace myself, I started to look into things that help me to keep my “peace”.
From doing just a couple of these each day, or even a few each week, I noticed a huge difference in my attitude, drive, focus and health. Checkout these seven things to add to your weekly routine to help you keep your peace.
1. Make a personal music playlist
In my life, I know music has helped me to escape and confront so many challenges throughout my life. From thoughts I couldn’t express, but came out perfectly by lyricist J. Cole, all the way to understanding self love from the warm vocals of India Arie. The main reason I love music is because it allows you to engulf yourself in an emotion, or drown out one. So to help yourself throughout the week, take some time and create a playlist for yourself. I know some people don’t like to pay for a subscription to a streaming service, but I promise you it will be your best investment for your mental health.
With your playlist, take time to reflect on songs you loved during a time period and put them all in one place. Thinking about your girl? Make a R&B playlist of some of your favorite hits. Trust me, making a personal music playlist can have you singing along with no one to sing-along with. But you will have the time of your life.
2. Take some time to relax near water
Being near water can do wonders to your mental health. I found this out during a time when I felt I had so many questions for God and the world. During that time, I used to like going to a local college that had a lake on the campus and I would just sit outside and type in my phone my thoughts, feelings and conclusions that I had about life. After about 30 minutes to an hour, I could get up and I would feel totally rejuvenated with a clearer mind to continue work during my day, or night.
Other than myself, scientifically it has been proven that being near water can better people’s moods. A recent study even showed that people who live near the ocean report feeling less stress and better health than those who don’t. I will say, it doesn’t have to be a beach, it can simply be a lake, or a river. Even though it can’t be explained, for me, I feel it’s something about the calming sound and view of flowing water.
3. Going for a walk
Sometimes the best way to help yourself relax on a very busy day is to simply go for a quick walk. I know when being in a corporate setting and deadlines was being pushed and dealing with different personalities who all are trying to keep their composure while stressed out, the quickest way to relax was to get away from my desk and take a walk outside the building.
One time, I knew I was at my breaking point as I got up from my 6×6 boxed cubicle and begined to stare out the window from the 15th floor. At that moment as I was stating to myself, “this can’t be life”, I looked down and noticed that there was a homeless person, kid you not, basking in the warm sun. Laying on a bench with his shirt off, as if he was on a beach. I knew I had to figure something out as for a split second (actually a few minutes) I wished I was that homeless person.
I knew I couldn’t take a vacation as I already had my vacation days planned, so I started to take my breaks seriously as a BREAK. No calling people that needed to be called, not talking to negative people during my break, not answering questions that can wait (all questions can wait). This was my time and for that time I would take a walk. This is also another time where that personal playlist can come in handy. Nothing feels better than taking a walk while listening to your ‘Dirty South’ mix and coming back into the office feeling like you can tell anyone to “Knuck If You Buck” all while finishing off websites and excel spreadsheets. LOL!
4. Writing out your emotions
We all know social media has become popular due to friends being on there as well as gossip and news. One other reason social media has become popular is due to it being many people’s place to vent. One thing I will say is, it’s good that people are getting their emotions, or problems out, but social media is definitely the WRONG PLACE FOR THAT.
In some of my most troubling times, I would find myself making a journal to get my thoughts out. When you feel you can’t talk to anyone about problems, sometimes you just need an outlet to get your thoughts out. Creating a journal, preferably one that is actually a book, can help you to speak on some of the hardest questions and situations you may have for yourself. Plus, just like studying you come to remember what you wrote more when you have to take the time to write it out. Allowing you to reflect on questions and coming to find that answer for yourself throughout life.
In times of need, we all wish that we could have friends that could be there every step of the way, but that’s not going to happen. No matter how much they want to help and sometimes they have to deal with their own problems. Buy a composition book, write in it whenever you feel the need to. Next you’ll find yourself reading back on things and notice how many life questions you have answered and how far you have come.
5. Take up a curricular activity
Adding something to your weekly schedule may not be something that you are looking for, but it may be the stress relief you need just to better your week. Sometimes adding more to your to-do list can give you a mental gain, plus gives you a reason to not do things you don’t want to (like hang with irritating co-workers for ‘group bonding’). If capable, try taking golfing lessons. Many guys that I speak to who golf now, love it due to three things. It’s relaxing, you have to concentrate, plus it gives them 3-5 hours to themselves, or a couple of personal friends that they can bond with, or just get away from society.
Another great curricular activity to take up is the style of Mix Martial Arts. For a while, I took up Muay Thai as something to keep me active after work. Don’t get me wrong, the first day I felt like I was going to vomit from being out of shape and took a few hard shin kicks, but the physical pain didn’t discourage me due to playing sports (football and baseball) while growing up. After about a week, understanding moves, becoming more conditioned and getting to spar, I came to notice that I came out of an hour class relaxed, stress free and slept better at night.
Some curricular activities may cost you some money, but if you can do it and you want to do it, DO IT! At the least, get you a gym membership if you can’t start off with exactly what you want. That way, when you’re able to do them, you won’t be out of shape, or stretch anything (because you can hurt yourself golfing).
6. Meditation, or Prayer
Sometimes when it feels like you need three of yourself to get things done throughout your week, the best thing you can do is stop every single thing and slow down. Meditation is allowing yourself time to reconnect with the universe, or recentering yourself. Meditation is one thing I feel everyone should come to understand more and add to their week, if not each day. Most times people think to meditate you need to be somewhere quiet and have to sit down for an hour humming. No, meditation can be done anywhere.
Sometimes when I feel I’m becoming anxious as I have been running around, I wait till I just sit down somewhere, close my eyes and begin to slowly breathe through my nose, hold it for 3 – 5 seconds and breathe out my mouth. Doing that a few times until I feel myself come to relax. It can be something as short as 5 – 15 minutes of self-peace.
Meditation can definitely come in handy on those days where you have to get sh*t done and you only have a few minutes before having to go back into the storm. Come to like it? Take some time and begin to look up mantra phrases that you feel connects with your soul, or honestly, make up phrases that you feel fits for your life. What people don’t understand is that you don’t have to be a yoga guru to meditate. It is your own personal connection with yourself, the universe and God. Reconnect yourself and continue your day.
People can say what they want, but sex is definitely one of the most relaxing things anyone can do to help themselves and a partner to relax and feel stress free. Now I don’t mean to go out and just find anyone, Tinder App lovers, because I do feel energy can be drained as well as absorbed. But I do give this advice to married men as well as black men who are in a committed relationship. You just might have that day/night where getting together can be the perfect way to start off your week, end your week, or simply get through your week. Either way, sex can be the workout you needed to get healthy as well as the ‘woo-saa’ needed to forget about your daily problems.