Updated: Oct 8, 2022
Some clients have requested me in the past tips or suggestions for exploring new hobbies or activities to unwind from work, traffic, and/or the crying baby. There are multiple activities that can be done depending on your interests and accessibility such as axe throwing, escape rooms, writing blogs, smash rooms, concerts, yoga, working out, swimming, singing journaling, etcetera to mention a few. There is a thin line between your childhood and your present adult life. The child we were is still in us.
Sometimes, what works best to unwind is what feels familiar; that thing, activity, or special connection that helped you as you were growing up. This may be, for example, a special sandwich that reminds you of your childhood, or at least of an easier time when a simple sandwich was an enjoyable experience and, even if just for a bit, there wasn't another care in the world. It could be a special song, or the act of singing, such as that sung by your grandparents, the snacks you used to sneak in snacks without your parents' notice, that changed a world that was falling down into a world easier to manage. Granted, your stressors today differ from that time. However, our system activates in a similar way and our way to regulate (calm down, return to balance) is usually through a familiar road. Reconnecting with our childhood we can find our comfort and natural self-soothing skills.
Although some of our 'go-to' ways of coping may be unhealthy, there is always a way to transform them into something healthier. Here is my list of things that I have found helpful, and I wholeheartedly hope this encourages you to find yours:
Reconnect with your childhood or inner child and have conversations with your inner child.
Reconnect with someone with whom you used to be meaningfully connected.
Reconnect with the present moment.
Send thank you letter to someone you always admired.
Try a new coffee flavor.
Identify the things you don’t like and explore why.
Explore things that cause you to feel anxious. Anxiety can sometimes teach us things about ourselves.
Tell someone you love how much you appreciate them.
Do daily check-ins with yourself, it can be as simple as asking: how am I feeling today?
Treat yourself- in healthy ways.
Go easy on yourself, watch for negative self-talk and replace it with self-understanding, curiosity, and self-compassion.
Talk to that person who seems to be interesting, practice reaching out to others and establishing authentic connections -however brief they might be.
Write a journal, there is no right or wrong way. I use Google Keep, which I can access from all my devices.
Explore new ideas and new interests. Whether that is trying a new flavor, new recipe, or place, reading a book, listening to a podcast, or watching a movie outside of your usual genre.
Explore your values. Ask yourself what is truly important to you, the meaning you give to them, and why.
Disconnect from devices from time to time. The world is strange and filled with endless wonders, don’t capture the moment on your phone, put it down! Imprint the image in your mind and try to capture as many details as you can with your gaze, and you will carry it with you for the rest of your life.
Don’t limit yourself, we only have one life, and we need to make the best of it, especially those who had suffered we owe it to ourselves. Although exploring is always a venture and a mixed bag of good things, bad things, and "meh", reaching out to the world can enrich your life and expand the repertoire of things that feel good to you. To venture might feel daunting, but remember, you need not do it alone! There is always help available and a supporting hand for someone to explore with.
Kelvin Rivera is a Student Mental Health Counselor Intern and Coach at Cypress Wellness Center. He believes everyone has the power to self-actualize and change their inner reality. Kelvin supports clients' self-exploration as they work with issues such as anxiety, depression, intrusive thoughts, self-esteem, addiction, ADHD, cultural identity, and more. He is passionate about accompanying others in their inner growth journey and incorporating philosophical perspectives in therapy. Click "Schedule Now" to request an appointment or a 10-minute phone consultation.