In December, the snow is pretty. We don’t mind the cold yet, because it’s still new. It hasn’t gotten deep into our bones, yet. We still think that spending every second of every day inside is comforting and fun.
By February, though, it is getting old. We’re over it. Looking at photos of green grass and smelling sunscreen cause actual physical pain. Snow isn’t pretty anymore; it’s a nuisance. We just want heat. We want to defrost. That anxiety, that constant annoyance, can cause us to feel a lot more tense. We’re all a little more short-tempered, a little more easily provoked, than during the calm, warmer months.
So, until the temperature rises – if that ever happens – we must go out of our way to calm ourselves. Check out my favorite stress relievers below. Let me know what else works for you! I love trying new ideas.
Now, here is a photo of a really beautiful, peaceful summer sunset from my Insta because I am cruel:
When my commute is less-than-ideal, and I’m stuck somewhere, I can become a scary version of myself. I find myself sending angry texts to my friends, to somehow elicit empathy or guilt or something from them. But they are not Metra! They are not the CTA, and they don’t control Chicago traffic. So, why am I bringing them down? That is just rude.
Even music and books won’t take my mind off of the trouble. But, podcasts do. Every single time. I am especially loving Tyler Oakley’s Psychobabble! Tyler and Korey Kuhl have me smiling, if not laughing, in minutes. Their banter about pop culture and their own friendship are just hilarious! Honestly, when I learn that my train is delayed indefinitely due to “a pedestrian incident,” I grab my phone and rush to this podcast like I’m a person drowning and struggling to come up for air.
Return to a Happy Place… Mentally
I know that this is easier said than done, but try to think of something happier. Make a list of wonderful things that happened that day. Think about wonderful things to come.
When you are fortunate enough to spend quality time with friends, take note of inside jokes. Write down funny quotes, keep track of things that made you laugh. Then, when you need a pick-me-up, you can refer to those lists. I like to keep them in my phone, so I always have access to a laugh.
Listen to Calming Music
Create a playlist specifically for this situation. Figure out what music will slow your heart rate, what will bring you to a better mental state. I’ve had a “Therapy” playlist on my iPod/iPhone since high school, and it has been a huge help.
My favorite, never-failing song for stress relief is John Mayer’s “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room.” I’ve specifically limited how often I listen to this song, not wanting to lessen its powers. I mean, even if I don’t have access to speakers or headphones, just playing it in my head helps. Classic hypnotizing powers of John Mayer.
Not as simple as it sounds, breathing is crucial. Combine with any of the above tips – and maybe even a good stretch – and you’re on your way!