Sunday, 15 July 2018

Self Care

Recently I've come to realise that we all have things we do alone, and we all really must do some things alone.  Living in a dorm, I've noticed that it's easy to fall into this trap of constantly craving companionship.  With people constantly around, there's always someone to walk to the grocery store with, to exercise with, or to watch television with.  However, as counteractive as it may seem for certain extroverts, not doing a few things alone is no way to live at all.  We all need to breathe some fresh air of mental self care on the weekly.

We all do this in different ways, which are somewhat unfathomable to each other.  Here's some of mine:

When in Sydney, the best way to clear my head or daydream is by going to the beach alone.  For some productive, endorphin-pumping time saving, I jog down to Coogee, or all the way to Clovelly, and take a seat on some rocks.  The sitting on the rocks bit is more of a photo opportunity, but it's the walk back with some good tunes, a good view and fresh air that is really good for the soul.

- and I cannot wait for the summer, when it's finally warm enough to swim in the rock pool again - at sunset - or early in the morning - salt water makes floating on your back serene like a Kendall Jenner Instagram post at the Maldives.

With a lot of free time, the best way to spend it could be by catching up with friends and going out for brunch or shopping or clubbing, or it could be by watching those movies you sometimes randomly feel like watching.  Here's a little list of which I know at least one will jerk that weird urge like huh - I haven't seen that in a while...
What to Expect When You're Expecting
Wild Child
No Strings Attached
Anne of Green Gables 
We're the Millers
Stuck in Love 
Now You See Me 2
Also watch Glee (or season 7 episode 18 of Grey's Anatomy) - some emotional singing can only ever be inspiring and good for the soul.

You could also simultaneously do something you haven't done in a while, like painting your nails.  I was recently deciding between the trusty old go-to silver, or something a little different *since I'm a different person now* like a deep maroon.

When in some serious self-indulgent existential crisis, I think the best thing to do is learn more about myself.  This can be done in the form of writing down your thoughts or reading old diaries.  The other night I lay down and read my diary as if it were a book for an hour.  I read the last six months of my life, about leaving home, which boys I liked but didn't realise I liked at the time, who and what were annoying me --- giving myself some insight into who I actually am.  It is, I think, only at times like these that you can truly undergo self improvement.

Having been home for two weeks, I've also gone back to my old go-to time for thought of driving.  Living in a small, green city, traffic is sparse and the view is almost always good.  In fact, drive 20 minutes in any direction and the scenery looks positively rural.  It's like escaping.  My favourite place for mind cleansing is driving along the main highway at 100km/h, alongside green hills of mini trees and mountains in the distance, singing along to music I have known very well for a long time.  If that doesn't feel like home, I don't know what does.

My main coping mechanism of my final year of high school was going to group fitness classes.  And by group fitness, I mean something like dance aerobics - something that resembles dancing but is super easy to follow.  Honestly, the music is infectious, and it gives you an excuse to drop whatever you're doing and take a break, and the cardio can only be a good thing.  The bigger the class the better, and during school I was fortunate enough to live walking distance from the largest gym in the city.  I remember one time I forced my friend to come along, and once she got into it, she couldn't stop smiling the entire time.

Finally, when given a vast amount of free time in the company of only yourself, it can be beneficial to learn something new.  Given a day to myself, I used to spend all day lying in bed with my earphones in, listening to TED talks.  Lately I've also been considering podcasts and reading non-fiction.

Here's some TED talks that have previously caught my attention:
The Danger of a Single Story
Before I die I want to... 
I Am Not Your Asian Stereotype
Why teens confess to crimes they didn't commit
How a male contraceptive pill could work 
I recently also visited the Victorian State Library, and after oggling at the pretty white dome in the pretty white room, I migrated to the bookshop, where I took a photo of every book I thought I'd like to read later:

12 Rules for Life - Jordan B Peterson
The Geography of Friendship - Sally Piper
Geek Girl Rising - Heather Cabot and Samantha Walravens
Feminist Fight Club - Jessica Bennett
Utopia for Realists - Rutger Bregman
Cringeworthy - Melissa Dahl
The End of Old Age - Marc E. Agronin
Overthinking is Overrated - Niels Birbaumer and Jorg Zittlau
101 Dilemmas for the Armchair Philosopher - Eric Chaline
I Feel You - Cris Beam
The Inflamed Mind - Edward Bullmore
The Happy Brain - Dean Burnett
How to Build a Universe - Brian Cox and Robin Ince
Every Time I Find the Meaning of Life, They Change It - Daniel Klein
Ignorance - Robert Graef
And here's some cute photos I took from a book about growing up and moving to a new city -