Even for “normal” people, it is really important to have tools and stuff to do that calms you down. Here are mine, and if you want to borrow any of them feel free.
1.) DOGS. I’ve grown up with them and honestly I miss my dogs more than I miss a lot of people sometimes. Up here I got involved in the Dog House, which raises guide dogs for Susquehanna Service Dogs. I was a puppy hugger, so for three weeks, twice a week, I just got to sit and hold four week old puppies. It was right after the play had ended, so I was bored and stressed and honestly just wanted Thanksgiving break to happen already. The dogs were comforting and they reminded me of home.
2.) My friends, both here (see To My Fellow Dickinsonians) and from home. No matter where y’all are or how weird our conversations are, know that I miss you like crazy and I’m so happy to know you.
3.) Exercise. Endorphins are good things. They have even done studies that prove exercising reduces stress and helps relieve symptoms of depression. Also it’s a good break to get outside or listen to music and just mindlessly do something besides work for a while.
4.) Music. It’s a great distraction. Since I was 8 it always helped me calm down, whether it be listening, playing, or even just singing to myself or serenading my friends. I also sometimes sing to myself without knowing it which my friends often call me out on. I often just walk and listen, and thing about good things.
5.) Think of a happy place. More on mine later, but think of some place you feel 100% safe and happy and imagine you are there and try to remember how it feels. Focus on it for a little. Make a picture of it your background.
7.) Remind yourself that you are safe and that people love you.
8.) Find a mantra. It’s only a few words that you repeat to yourself when you feel not great. Some of mine are, “just for today,” “I am safe,” and “I got through it before and I can do it again.”
9.) Reach out. Talk to someone. People want to help you and no one should have to go through this alone.
10.) Treat yourself. I’m really into coloring. Like the adult mindfulness coloring books? I have a box up here with markers and pencils and books, and when I’m stressed my friends and I will just watch movies and talk and color and eat chocolate and lime tortilla chips (not together). We’ve spent many Saturdays like this. If you need recommendations on coloring books, I’m an expert.
Noli timere, friends. Stay great.