Let’s face it. You can be living what you think is your best life, but every now and then the darkness creeps in and pisses all over your bliss like rain on a wedding day. (Alanis Morissette, anyone?) For some, it happens more frequently, and it can also take more of a toll on some than for others. Now. While I took a few graduate classes in community counseling, let’s get things straight: This is just a list of ten ideas that can help and serves as a plate of advice. Nothing more, nada less!
You may live with a roommate or family. You may be married. You may have kids. Or, you may live alone. In that case, you probably already have too much alone time, so this pointer may not be the best medicine for you. However, it this bullet applies, then listen up. Solitude is not scary, it’s gorgeous. Here is a time that you don’t have to front like everything is okay. In a state of solitude, we can talk to ourselves, pray, or sit in silence and watch our surroundings. Personally, I love sitting in my car alone while mumbling to God my worries or concerns. Or, I may say a legit prayer to the good Lord. Then sometimes, I appreciate sitting in a parking lot as I bask in pity of what made me down in the first place, then I whip out my phone and go into solution mode. Corny, but I find the internet has a lot of answers and solutions. Research keeps us armed with knowledge and can lend to problem-solving. What I’m trying to say is, sometimes, we don’t need to tell everyone everything. Some things are best between you and God, you and yourself, or you and one other person. Why? Because the world can’t save us, so we need to lean into our own strength sometimes, and let’s be real: Other people have their own problems. Unless you’re at a breaking point, perhaps you should work it out on your own as long as possible. You are smart, resourceful, and a warrior. You got this. You are forced to listen to and face your emotions. Scary at first, but after a while, it becomes second nature and beautiful to be honest to and with yourself.
9: KEEP LEARNING
What does learning have to do with being a mood lifter? A lot, actually. Try learning one more thing today than you knew yesterday. You never know when this new birth of knowledge turns into a hobby. Being enlightened can also translate into making more money or helping others for free. It can give us purpose for a new direction in life. Learning something new every day can keep you on your toes, and that’s got to count for something. A year from now, you’ll be able to look back and see growth in your own character. So, Google or read, but please. Learn.
8: DO NOTHING
That’s right. Sitting on my ass is a healer. I’m a doer and a Gemini. Put that together and you get relentless energy and a brain that doesn’t sleep. Oh yeah, I’m a writer so, there goes that. When I feel overwhelmed, I back off everything. You know what? I’d rather see myself as a temporary slacker who has her mentality in check, than to keep achieving but rotting in self-care. So, go ahead and bask in the ambiance of slow energy. It’s like being asleep but still being awake. Your energy will recharge like a phone on a charge or that Roomba vacuum that needs to touch down at base before going again. You don’t hate on technology recharging, so don’t when you need to.
7: RUN A SIMPLE ERRAND
Go find a reason to make a grocery run. Even if you don’t want to or can’t afford to shop, take your lowest budget that you can afford, go to a store like World Market, Homegoods, T.J. Maxx etc... and spend a simple five to fifteen dollars on something simple. Browse the store briefly to take in a new scenery and to make the most out of something out of your control and responsibility before you snatch, purchase, and go. Enjoy being somewhere of which you’re not in charge. You’ll feel better bringing something small home that’s easy on the wallet while treating yourself with something minor.
I’m a writer, full time that is, so it’s beyond easy to sit at home in isolation. It’s easy for me to blur the lines of meeting my characters’ needs versus my own. Don’t. Your life is real and needs true interction. Too much solitude is not healthy. Those who didn’t need solitude on point ten surely need this point. Listen. People can grate our last nerve but can also be the best medicine. Isn’t it fun to laugh with a stranger? Isn’t it fun to meet people at a place at which you have the same interest? Come onnnnn. You get to learn a little history about a person whose name you didn’t know minutes beforehand. Besides, isn’t it the greatest when you realize you have something in common with that person? The more people you know, the better. Let’s face it. You never know who you’re gonna meet and what they can do for you. Hopefully, you’re able to put a smile on a stranger’s face and do something for them down the line as well. How dope is it to be a mood lifter for someone else?
I don’t know about you, but my car is my oasis. It’s my place to be myself while the music mentally takes me away and the wind blows against my face. It helps that I’m in love with my car, but it also helps that the work of one creative can move my thoughts along. I find myself thinking of plots and getting into the emotions of my characters. Then, I wanna go home and write vigorously. Thank you, YOUTUBE and all artists who give me something to listen to on my solitude car rides.
4: BE A BIRD OF THE SAME FEATHER
Sometimes, it’s good to find your flock and spend time with them. A flock is not just a set of friends. A flock can be a group of people who share the same interests. I love to be with bookworms and writers. We don’t have to explain ourselves, because we get it! How nice is it to be with people who can gab about the same things that bring you happiness without having to deal with adversity? I’m telling you. Get out there in your community and find your flock. Say, ‘yes’ to the feathers!
3: HAVE A RECKLESS MOMENT
Okay, we’re not talking about recklessness that can have lasting effects. I’m talking about a day of throwing your cares of consequences away. Skip the gym, eat through carbs, have too much wine, drive long away from home and come back when the sun goes down, binge-watch Netflix/Hulu/cable, go to the movies and order a bucket of popcorn, go out with friends to a restaurant and order dessert, you get the picture. Pick the deviation that you can handle and recover from with ease. When you wake up, you’ll feel a lot better! You can’t keep your hair pinned in a bun seven days a week, can you? Your neck would get a kink. Well, since this isn’t literal, your brain forms a kink and it’s called crankiness. Imagine living a cranky life. Nah, that’s a hard pass.
2: DO WHAT YOU LOVE
Indulge in your favorite hobby or passion. It’s all about you, baby, and that’s how it’s got to be. This is your life. If you don’t care enough about yourself to take some me-time and to draw boundaries with others to respect your natural high, then it’s your fault. And if you don’t follow through with this step, then you’ll never live your best life—guarantee it. The moment you take yourself out of your own element, then you’ve already lost yourself. Sorry. No sugarcoating.
1: MAKE TIME FOR OTHERS
Loved ones or otherwise, you need a circle of supportive greatness—period. One person can be your everything, so be sure to nurture your clan. This is a struggle for me, because I have to make sure no one I care about feels left behind. According to my boyfriend, I need to step it up, but you know what? While I do my best not not abuse their generosity, my clan knows I’m doing my best but my self-care comes first—that’d be physical and mental health and my books. For me, my passion means nothing without having love around me. However, above all, taking time to pray and to stay in touch with God is number one salvation. My brain becomes overwhelmed and prayer has been the only thing that sets any anxiety back to a flatline. Shooting the breeze on the phone with friends is like a strong hug that blankets my soul. Thank you, friends. Spending time with my boyfriend makes me feel loved. And, family, from mom, brother, boyfriend to extended, keeps me grounded into an untouchable bliss that I must protect at all times. They are the reason I breathe. If I lose base with them, book sales and writing wouldn’t mean anything. But if they’re good, I’m good.