Give me a F^in Break: 5 Ways to Literally Take a Mental Vacay Right Now.
Waves crash in the distance and the curtains lap up a soft breeze. Your arms slide out from silky sheets to receive breakfast in bed from your tanned, glowing partner.
You snap out of this dream to a chorus of crying, barking and barfing — unclear which is your dog and which is your teenager.
Vacation is so far from reach you can’t even find your sunglasses. Go look for them in the fridge, my friend, and read on.
Face it, you’ve been given the role of super hero, whether you asked for this life or not. In the words of Tina Fey: “You go through big chunks of time where you’re just thinking, ‘This is impossible — oh, this is impossible.’ And then you just keep going and keep going, and you sort of do the impossible.”
But Tina, ‘going and going’ has given us anxiety, resentment and physical pain.
The trick is to make space for what heals you. Bluntly, your health and success depend on it. And because nobody’s giving you a week off or a flight to Tulum — consider these 5 tips right now: unexpected but proven ways to recharge, reset and refresh.
Then put that cape back on and do the damn day.
1. Smell This
Aromatherapy is the new chicken soup. Learn about the crazy good potential of scents to target issues from depression to insomnia to a sharper memory. Treat yourself to a trip to an herbalist like Barbara Close at Naturopathica, or just spend a few minutes googling what ails you.
Don’t cheat; Close says that pure, essential oils are the only way to go. Your nose recognizes the chemical compounds in synthetic scents and they don’t work the same magic. Inhale essential oils through a diffuser, or slather on therapeutic scented creams for a transdermal effect to amp the intensity.
Waft that stuff around your desk, kitchen, pillow, temples. My, don’t you smell calmer.
2. Scare Yourself Happy
“The more anxious I am, the more I crave horror movies,” writes Lindsay King-Miller for Vice. “It’s a relief to see a monster on the screen instead of feeling it in my chest.”
There’s loads of research (and box office dollars) backing up why people crave scary movies. Turns out, they’re good for you: among other psychological benefits, watching a scary movie releases dopamine – that ‘pleasure/reward’ juice we typically associate with food, sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll.
Remember that cheeseball scene with Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves at the end of Speed? Fire up Netflix tonight. This could be the mother of all cheap thrills.
3. Let Looser
Maybe you make time for yoga every morning at 4:30 like Queen Gwyneth. Bravo and we’ll have what you’re having.
For the rest of us, let’s get real for a minute about our bodies. We’ve been told the benefits of yoga start on Day 1, but we haven’t stretched in front of anyone since that personal trainer we hired before the wedding. We are freaked AF to head-stand and –god forbid– let one fly.
Might we consider, like this writer did, an infused yoga class? She bought into the instructor’s theory that “combining cannabis and the centuries-old workout helps students tune out their racing thoughts and pain points.”
Dee Dussault, her instructor and author of Ganja Yoga, admits, “Even with cannabis, you can feel socially awkward or overwhelmed or shy, but I think if you get to know people and see others doing it, you can give yourself more permission to join in.”
If you reside in a state where recreational use is permitted find a class and allow yourself to go with the flow for 90 minutes. Your mind and body will thank you.
4. Love The One You’re With
Well-paid sex researchers found that people who had intercourse at least once over two weeks were better able to manage stressful situations, like public speaking. And those scientists are stuffy Scotsman; The Times of India says you should have sex everyday! Yeah it takes some effort but science is urging you to do it more.
Well that’s just great, you say. But here I am with insomnia, besides 10 emails to send tonight. And I’m not getting naked until I drop this last 8 lbs. For many, the bedroom is full of landmines.
Stop the excuses! Your sexual health can actually build your confidence: so flip the script. C’mon, you know who you are and the places you’ve been! Was that you or Shock G who Once got busy in a Burger King Bathroom? Yeah, I bet you like your oatmeal lumpy, too.
Get creative or explore new options. A brand new study highlights a connection between those who partake in cannabis and how frequently they have sex. Turns out, weed may play a role in treating some types of sexual dysfunction –which should pique something in you.
5. Tell Yourself Stories
“I have already lost touch with a couple of people I used to be,” writes Joan Didion in her essay “On Keeping a Notebook.”
For just a few minutes everyday, write down something for yourself. Not what you did, or what you need to do. But how it feels. Begin in the middle of your stream of thoughts.
Catharsis, creativity and wisdom – you can get it by sitting on the floor in your closet and it doesn’t cost a thing [also see #4 for that]. Get to know just who the hell you are, and observe how you fail, change and grow.
“I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not,” writes Joan. “I remember what it was to be me: that is always the point.”
For more wisdom, check out her documentary debuting soon on Netflix, Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold.