Written by Abi Humber Tuesday, 27 September 2011 15:54
I spent the better part of last weekend in a funk. “Frequent mood instability” is a fairly typical occurrence for me, as I tend to adopt the mood of whomever I’m around.
To further intensify my other-people-induced mood swings, the reality of living with females is that hormones bounce around as freely as bunnies in the summer. Yes, I just related menstruation to nature, via bunnies. Bouncing bunny hormones make me crazy.
But in all seriousness, I’m either incredibly busy or incredibly not busy. My schedule never seems to exist in a comfortable state of normality. As a result, I feel super anxious all the time; either about my packed schedule and all that I need to be getting done, or about my free time, and all that I think maybe I should be getting done.
That was kind of stressful to type. And probably kind of stressful to read. Add the bunny hormones to the mix…do you feel crazed? Fantastic. Me, too.
Now that we’re all on the same page, I humbly present to you, my ever-faithful readers, in list form (naturally), “Six Ways to Practice Relaxing If Your Name Is Abi Humber…And Maybe Even If It Isn’t.”
(1) Candles. Lots of them. Preferably candles that smell really good. They have a double mood-boosting effect. Not only will the whole room/apartment carry a delicious aroma, but their soft light provides the perfect environment in which to further relax. I have three giant candles burning in this room right now. It’s OK to go totally over-the-top…right?
2. Good music. Everyone has their own favorite “relaxing” music, from classical to electronic to death metal (seems strange, I know, but it’s surprisingly cathartic).
My current “relaxation” playlist includes the following:
- “Encore” by Jason Derulo. So dang catchy.
- “Great Estates by The Freelance Whales.” Strangely hypnotic.
- “The Wolves (Act I and II)” by Bon Iver. A favorite.
- “Tuesday Morning” by Aaron Espe. My life.
3. Paint. It’s OK if you don’t think you’re good at painting. I don’t think I’m good at painting. Sometimes I stress myself out, thinking, “Oh goodness, I’m so bad at painting. What do I think I’m doing? I’m so bad at painting I’m so bad at painting I’m so bad at pai—” but then I remember that this activity is supposed to help me relax, not drive me further into the loony bin.
So, try it. Even if you think you’re bad at painting. Just smear colors all over a canvas until you feel satisfied. You might be surprised how good it feels to attack the canvas with your paintbrush, or how accomplished you feel after creating something that didn’t exist before.
4. Eat chocolate. If you’re one of those people who might feel even more stressed out after consuming large amounts of sugar, I’d suggest you skip this step. But if you enjoy a good ol’ chocolate binge every now and again, come visit me. We’ll consume copious quantities of Kinder chocolate and talk about the meaning of life and stuff.
As the bearded human named Miles informed me today, Kinder means “children” in German. Just a fun fact.
I had Kinder chocolate for the first time somewhere in Europe, the summer after my junior year of high school. I was with a bunch of students and Bobby Woelk (no column is complete without name-dropping), where 10 days of daily Kinder consumption got me totally hooked. But, to my dismay, it’s apparently not manufactured in the States.
I had resigned myself to a pathetic existence, completely void of Kinder choclate’s smooth, creamy existence. Then one day, the candy aisle at the local Mexican market changed my life forever. It has an entire rack of Kinder chocolate!
Dream come true! Life complete! Now I can relax!
5. Expose yourself to the art of slam poet Andrea Gibson. I suggest you start with her piece titled, “Birthday.” Your life will be changed in 3:37.
Then watch and listen to “Jellyfish.” Then watch the rest of her videos until your eyes disintegrate from staring at the computer screen too long. That’s what I usually do, and let me tell you…mood significantly improved. Every time.
If none of my aforementioned tactics help you feel even the least bit rejuvenated or relaxed, I can guarantee that my final suggestion will cure any anxiety and remove all of your life’s stress.
6. Hang out with Becky Steketee. She’s the greatest, seriously. She’s my best friend (ever), and something about her is instantly calming. She doesn’t fish for insignificant “comforting” phrases that probably won’t have their intended calming effect on the ridiculously stressed out person. She’ll just hang out with you. That calm, laid back attitude is so refreshing.
Sometimes she’ll tell funny stories about boys. Or plan random trips around the world with you. Or make you really cool art to hang on your walls. Or cook you delicious chocolate-and-peanut butter treats.
Even if she “does” nothing, her presence in and of itself is reassuring and calming. Becky and I could spend an entire day doing nothing of substance, and at the end, feel completely fulfilled.
There are days like today when I do almost everything on that list: sit in a candle-lit room, listening to excellent music, painting while eating delicious chocolate, stopping only for inspiration from Andrea Gibson….
Sure, it’s nice, and sure, I feel relaxed, but sometimes those moments are only complete when your best friend is around.