Here’s a little thoughtful questioning for the day: Where are some places that speak to your soul? If that question is a bit too hippie dippy for you it can simply be places that gives you energy or makes you feel at peace. Surroundings have a powerful impact on us and when we understand that we can use that knowledge to help soothe our frazzled minds when we’re stuck in a stressful place in life or need an extra boost to overcome a creativity block.
Below are some suggestions that I know have helped me out in the past.
Nothing brings me back to myself like going out for a hike in the wilderness. Now forcing myself to stop moping or stressing isn’t the easiest thing, but once I get out there I’m extremely grateful. Not only does it make me feel more peaceful, but the exercise outdoors also gets my blood pumping and my creative juices flowing. As your walking along make sure to breathe deeply and really focus on everything you’re seeing. If outside thoughts come into your mind acknowledge their existence and let them go. Going out into nature is the ultimate back to basics that I often need to recharge my batteries.
Library or bookstore:
Maybe it’s just me, but being surrounded by books has always lit a fire in this bibliophile’s heart. As a kid one of my favorite activities was going to the library and begging the library to let me take out more than the 10 book max they had per library card at the time. I would then go home and proceed to misplace each book after I read it much to my mother’s chagrin.
Libraries have always held a special place in my heart. They are the place that houses extraordinary amounts of knowledge and adventures that you can only dream of. When I find that I’m in a creative funk and have zero motivation to do anything besides play video games and eat gluten-free pizza I go to the library or the local bookstore and just feed off of that energy. Luckily enough I’ve found a significant other who loves books as much as I do and we’ll often read the same book so that we can talk about it afterwards. Our own little book club of love (ew, I know, right?).
My local yoga studio or wherever I can fit my mat:
I can go in feeling like Chicken Little and shouting in my head that sky is falling, but usually around 10 minutes into a hot yoga class my mind finally shuts up and just gives in to the peaceful inhalations and exhalations of my yoga practice. For some they may just be able to pull out their mat and get to that zen place on their own, but typically I need to be surrounded by the energy of others as they all devote themselves to their practice for an hour.
I find something extremely meditative in the movement of each pose. Believe me, this was not always the case. My first 10 or so classes at my hot yoga studio where torturous, but my competitive spirit wouldn’t allow me to quit. Now each time I lay out my mat in the warm, dry room and do a quick spinal twist to warm-up I can feel my shoulders start to detach themselves from my ears and the stress melt away.
Now, remember, the world is your oyster so you have the ability to use yoga to de-stress anywhere you can fit your mat!
I have my own espresso machine at home, but nothing takes the place of hauling my laptop over to the local coffee shop and plunking myself down to do some work and enjoy a hand-crafted latte. The bustling atmosphere of the coffeehouse and some chill, folksy tunes manages to calm me and get my synapses firing at the same time. I love how different each coffeehouse can be and finding new ones that I enjoy are like finding a diamond in the rough. I try and avoid chains because they just don’t do it for me and lack the charm that one of a kind coffee shops boast.
Each coffee shop has their own unique drinks that I love to work my way through (honey latte for the win!) and people watching can entertain me for hours. In another life I’m pretty sure I was a coffee shop owner.
Self-care is a must for me and one of the first things I let slide when I get busy and stressed. So when I feel the stress monster starting to wrap it’s tentacles around me I make sure that I schedule in a massage or a manicure. If there’s truly zero time at the moment to fit in going somewhere or I’m tight on cash then I make sure to at least fit in some time to take a bath and apply some fake nails. It may not seem that important, but taking care of yourself is one of the most beneficial things you can do. It raises your self-esteem because you are putting yourself first and spending the time to focus on yourself. Even if it is only for 10 minutes. I don’t know about you, but when I look down at my freshly painted nails or feel my newly cut hair blowing in the wind I feel amazingly self-confident. It’s the gift that just keeps giving.
What are some places that light a fire under you or calm you when your nerves are frazzled?