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Anchors

Yesterday I drove 40 minutes each way to sit on the beach alone and read for an hour. I hadn’t seen the ocean in 8 or 9 months, which is the longest I’ve spent away from the water in years, maybe in memory. Just an hour there was like refilling my soul, which the stresses and challenges of everyday life — and this year in particular — had siphoned away bit by bit.

I think everyone has a place like that. A place that is full of enough personal meaning to provide peace the moment you step foot into it, that acts as an anchor when the rest of life feels entirely chaotic.

Other points that provide that anchor for me are looking at a clear night sky, taking a walk through a city with nowhere to be, curling up with a book by a warm fire.

In such times as these, nearing the close of a year unlike any most of us have experienced, these anchors means more than ever. With travel limited*, that anchor may have to be a facsimile for a while. For me, taking a walk in a city has been replaced with taking a walk on the paved path behind my apartment.

If you already know you anchor(s), take some time to (safely) make space for them. If you’re not sure what that point is for you, think about when you feel the most content and at peace. We could all use a bit more of that.

What’s your anchor? Let me know in a comment below or on Twitter @ohgrowup. Thanks for reading, and happy adulting!

* Please, please take this virus seriously. Don’t travel unless you absolutely must. Stay home whenever you can. Wear a proper face covering when you do go out. Too many people have gotten sick and lost loved ones, including people I know. In the US, it’s less safe now than it’s been at any point since the pandemic hit. Please do everything you can to keep yourself and other safe.

Featured

Just getting by

Hey y’all. I know I haven’t made a post in a while. Admittedly, it’s not the top priority when it feels like the world is on fire and I’m just trying to feed myself and keep my head on straight.

I don’t know what tomorrow’s going to bring. Really, none of us do. But more stress and turmoil is almost guaranteed.

So today I just wanted to offer some things that can help when life feels like a lot, maybe even too much, to handle.

(If you haven’t voted yet, do that first! Resources here.)

Cover the basics

Have you slept enough? Have you eaten recently? Had a glass of water? Lowered your shoulders? Unclenched your jaw? It’s the little things, really.

Movies & TV

I have a list of comfort movies and TV that I watch when I need to just feel better. Some of my favorites are listed below, but of course there are treasure troves of streaming services out there.

  • Favorite movies: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Martian, Pride & Prejudice (2005), The Princess Diaries, The Devil Wears Prada, The Princess Bride
  • Favorite TV: Schitt’s Creek, Brooklyn 99, The Good Place, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Friends

Reading, but make it escapism

I love reading, and usually try to challenge myself to mix in some serious and nonfiction reading between more popcorn fiction picks. But I was recently reading a short story collection that was, how shall we say, not helping. So I put it down for now and picked up a cute rom-com one of my best friends recommended instead. Read something that makes you happy 🙂

Do something with your hands

I go absolutely nuts if I don’t have something to do with my hands. Often that’s just fidgeting, but I also crochet and garden, and even cooking and baking help give my body and mind something to do so I don’t just spiral.

Move

If you can, go for a run, take a walk, or do some yoga — anything that gets your whole body moving and some endorphins flowing.

Breathe

I hate how often I forget this one. You can try a number of techniques, and I’ve found a few especially helpful

  • Square breathing. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, out for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, repeat.
  • Belly breathing. Breathe in deeply, filling your whole belly with air, then your chest. Exhale slowly, letting air leave your chest first, and finally your belly. Repeat.
  • Literally just take 10 deep breaths (slowly).

Music

I put together this playlist to help when I’m feeling crappy, especially if I’m anxious. You might have your own playlist or album that you turn to, but there’s a lot of comfort to be found in a familiar melody.

I know all of this isn’t much to offer, but sometimes adulting is just getting by. What helps you out when life gets overwhelming? Let me know in a comment below or on Twitter @ohgrowup. Thanks for reading, and know that you’re not alone in this.

Photo is a free stock photo because, well, this is life right now.