By the end of January, I was laying at a crystal clear sandy beach on the beautiful island Koh Phangan, somewhere far away in Thailand. Trying to enjoy myself and my well deserved holidays. To be honest that didn't work out that well. At least not in the amount I thought it would. Even when I had beautiful moments and also periods where I could really relax my mind, it was pretty hard to even get there. All those to-dos to check, new ideas to realise, people to text, questions to ask, plans to make, photos to take - what a hustle in my head.
As I'm more a doer kind of person, just doing nothing at all and enjoying the here and now is sometimes quite hard for me. Not saying that I need to change my personality, but there is quite a good reason for everyone to go some steps slower in life. Your mind and body simply needs a self care time-out (at least a Sunday once in a while, but actually every. single. day!). It can be pretty exhausting to deal with this inner urge to be productive. Ok, this goes far back to a bigger struggle, which is that you feel measured by for what you do and not for who you are. But fine, that brings up a complete new discussion.
So, what actually distracted me from zooming out? Let's start with my phone. And this was based on two reasons: Social Media (hello Instagram) for once, as I also use it for my professional work as well (ok, might sound like an excuse, cause work should be off the charts on your holidays, but still though). And the other reason, the constant need of being available 24/7. What if I miss an important message? What if something happens to someone and I'm not there? To be fair, my 97-years-old grandmother is not doing well, that was during this holidays kind of a reason to be ready and steady.
The other reason why your (and my) head is sometimes on full alarm: being stuck in your work vibes and thinking about tasks you have to finish or even projects you wanna start. Don't get me wrong, holidays are a great time to be creative, and have a boost on new ideas. BUT don't really start the new idea literally right away. When getting in your creative mojo, it's perfect to write all your thoughts down, but try not send out emails or start the 5th to-do list, not to speak of starting an excel sheet or powerpoint. Just don't.
Despite all the stuff going on in my mind, I could find moments of pure relaxation, and this is how I relaxed my mind:
Have only done it "partly" (like a half day), but I'm planning on the full thing. Best way for people like me: keep all of your digital devices for a couple of hours somewhere else, including your mobile, laptop (at least I didn't take it with me on the holidays!) or iPad (ok, that one I did take with me). Start with 3-4 hours. If you seriously need to look at your phone in-between a movie or on a walk, leave it at home and lock it in your bag. Put the bag away. Far, far away.
I started with yoga a couple of years ago and it really changed my life. In Berlin, I practice Jivamukti Yoga, highly recommended. But even when Yoga is not on your daily or weekly agenda, watch this video for a 15 minutes Morning Yoga. You can do it at 10 AM, 4 PM, 9 PM or somewhere when it's 31 degrees on a porch infront of a bungalow - trust me, I've tried, it does the job and you find a beautiful way to connect your mind to your body.
You don't have to be a pro to meditate. By its means, meditation is a practice of your mind. Start by deep, slow breathings. Sit or lay down. Close your eyes. Keep your mind focussed on one thought. When all the other stuff appears, just try to "move" it away. This helped me already for a couple of minutes, then I also have a hard time to keep going on. As not being a meditation expert myself, use apps who help you to center your mind like Headspace or Calm.
Sex and/or Masturbation
Sometimes it's hard to feel any sensual vibes when you're so stuck in your head, but honestly get connected with your body. Sexuality has a powerful energy and guess what, you can create it on your own terms. If you have a partner, enjoy. If not, enjoy as well. You might just start to massage yourself with an organic coconut oil and listen to music.
Go out and take a walk
Wherever you are, just put your shoes on and go out. Having the advantage of a beautiful island, ok, it was quite a benefit. Though when being at home, this is also my number one way to clear my head and relax. No phone, to talks. Just walk and look around you. You will get surprised what you can discover when you just SEE, and not LOOK.
Well, if you're not really a book nerd, take a book that really fancy. No need to start with mind blowing feminist literature like We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (even if recommended), it might be just ANY topic. If else, you're most probably giving up after the first few pages. Best way to check: read the first page before buying a book in the first place. Mostly this gives you a hint on tone of the author and you will feel it or not. Here some books which also teach you more on how to stop overthinking and overstressing:
The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k by Sarah Knight
The Anxiety Solution: A Quieter Mind, a Calmer You von Chloe Brotheridge
Hard to believe that being in a relaxed state of mind could be so much work. But selfcare is a practice. It goes hand in hand with loving yourself, gratitude and positive energy. Honestly, understanding the significance of selfcare is an ongoing process. It takes time to fully work with your mind and body, but it will get better and easier, and it's worth it.
Text by Bernak Kharabi