It’s 9:44 at night but it feels much later to me.

That’s because I do too much. All day long, I feel like a machine. A computer. Going, going, going, it never seems to stop. Fifteen hour days here, a minor me day there, it is ceaseless and it makes me feel like it’s all too much at times.

Sometimes I feel like I am going to freak out. Other times I wish there were more hours in the day.

My experience has been that I pretty much always have a million things going through my head at once. When I am not making lists of lists in my head, I am checking my email, hearing a phone alert go off, remembering that I have to work on a project here, pick up my dry cleaning there, visit someone, wash my car, and remember to stock up on my peanut butter stash. (Because what is life without a steady supply of peanut butter?).

But no matter how I shake out, one thing is for sure: life is busy. This human experience is a full one and it seems something is happening all the time.

So when I am stressing, I take things down a notch and have figured out I need a plan, something to soothe me. My de-stressors are the following:

The gym.

No other place provides a better outlet for hashing out my frustrations and a CALM DOWN moment more than a good sweat session. I am in my element, grooving to the music in my headphones, seeing all my old lady and men folk motivations (the elderly at the gym inspire me—I want to be like them when I grow up) and I am rocking out to my play list. I leave my SWOL time feeling like a beast, the Tombraider, ready to kick some ass. My head is cleared, my body feels strong, and I have cardio-ed my way into a high where I feel superhuman.

Books.

Oh, the literary walk in the park. Transported into someone else’s world, I read, read, and read some more and find myself lost in the characters’ stories, their happiness, sadness, an author’s written words that make me feel part of someone else’s planet. No better way to get lost and forget about the time and about my life completely.

Cooking.

If I need some me time, one of my favorite pleasures is creating something fun in my kitchen. Glass of wine (that is supposed to go in the food but ends up in my mouth, every time), some good tunes playing in the background. Me, my cutting board, a sharp knife, some herbs, and some delicious scents emanating from my stove. This is life. It’s also really therapeutic.

Sleep.

Never forget about sleep. Seriously, can we talk about sleep? If I don’t have a full 8 hours of shut-eye, it’s really not advisable that I talk to anybody.  I am a zombie. I am grumpy, I am cranky, off-kilter, and just generally, an asshole. Get me on less than 8 hours of sleep and no caffeine—well, I apologize in advance for the alien that has taken over my body. I’m not that bad in real life on a normal well-rested body day, promise. But no sleep is an unhappy me.

Hot showers.

In the dark. With candlelight. Long baths that leave my bathroom looking like a steamroom. Scalding water trickling down my back. This is one of my favorite ways to relax. My pores seem to open and my mind goes somewhere else, evaporating into a fog. I used to joke and say this was the only time I ever felt like I had some peace and quiet, that is, while in the shower. Also, cleanliness is godliness. What’s not to love about that?

Happy place.

Everyone should have a happy place to go to mentally in their mind. Mine is a memory. Once upon a time in the Caribbean, I was alone, my body floating just above the clear, turquoise water with my eyes closed and my face and nose turned upward towards the sun. I floated for what seemed like an eternity, miles away from everything and everyone, without a sense of anything chaotic around me, with only the sound of the ocean hitting my ears as a pelagic soundtrack. I wish I could live in that moment. And this is the place I go to and remember anytime I want some tranquility.

Sanctuaries.

It’s important to find them. To use them, to escape to them physically and mentally whenever life’s grind gets to be too much. The meditative room inside my head provides my zen. The above are my go-to’s and work so well for me. When it all gets unruly, I stop and do these things, turn off my phone, walk away from the computer and unwind. I end up feeling like a new me.

How do you reset?

 

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