Chill. The. F*ck. Out.
Let’s face it, if you’re reading this, you’ve likely spent too much time engaging with digital media. This isn’t a call to beat yourself up for that. In fact, it’s the opposite, and I count myself as a member of the overconsumption camp. From my personal life and coaching practice, I understand how easy it is to fall into a scrolling wormhole, devouring semi-uplifting memes, near-apocalyptic headlines, and article after article on how to properly “do” self-care. It becomes a stressful spiral: practice self-care, but not too much self-care! Do this precisely, but not too much of it! Stay informed, it’s an election year! But also… don’t watch the news, it’s poison! Check out this conspiracy theory… if you don’t, you’re dumb! More calls, Zoom meetings…
If you’re feeling downright overwhelmed, unfocused, anxious, and/or confused, you’re not alone. Our nervous systems and brains are burnt out. I know mine is. It’s simply too much. It’s time to chill. So, real talk, how does one simply chill the f*ck out? I acknowledge that this is yet another piece of digital information in your brain today, but I hope it’s one that will leave you feeling a little more relaxed, a little less preached to, and armed with the toolkit to help you simply chill.
Say it with me – Chill. The. F*ck. Out. – is, in essence, giving yourself permission to be. I mean all of yourself, even the parts that may feel guilty about it. Read on for 5 easy ways to, well, take it easy.
1. Acknowledge and allow.
Stop trying so damn hard. I don’t mean stop trying completely or abandon your drive or motivation, I mean stop beating your head against the wall. Chill. The. F*ck. Out. This is the tip that permeates the rest, and that’s why it’s our first one. Guess what, it’s ok to come out of the mind game of problem-solving. You may feel constantly stirred up, lost in mental muck. You may think you have to solve or numb discomfort as soon as you feel it. Maybe you fall into a spiral of overthinking about the need to fix your life, or maybe you immediately pour a drink because you can’t deal. No problem, dude. But practice today taking time to let those often uncomfortable thoughts come up…and not do a damn thing about them. Here’s how: if you feel tension or discomfort arise, be curious about it and breathe. Allow the feelings and thoughts to fizzle and eventually dissolve without forcibly numbing to them. Remember: no thought lasts forever. Maybe this looks like meditation, maybe you stare at the ceiling or ponder a piece of art with your favorite album playing in the background. Just hang out, allow yourself to feel, and be still.
2. Take a walk.
“If you’re in a bad mood go for a walk. If you’re still in a bad mood, go for another walk.” – Hippocrates. The ancient father of medicine gave us a great prescription for the era of quarantine with that one. This is simple, profound medicine. The intention behind your walk is what matters most. During your walk, allow yourself to chill. You might walk with no destination in mind. You may walk alone, with or without headphones. Do whatever you want. Simply changing your surroundings and getting into your body will help you chill the f*ck out.
Turn everything off in the house, put your phone in the other room, and chill out in silence for 10-20 minutes. See also, number 1. Our nervous systems evolved millennia before the internet. While humans are very adaptive creatures, it’s been shown time and time again (check out this article from Duke University) that technological overload is terrible for our mental health. Turn off, tune into your inner self, and chill out.
4. Make your bath or shower luxurious.
This one has so many benefits and is one of the best, simplest ways to self soothe. The next time you take a shower or a bath, or the next time you’re able to set aside time for it, take longer than usual. Ask your partner to watch the kids, unplug (tip 3!) and allow to be fully uninterrupted. You can simply stand, sit, or lay in there without tending to anything. Mindfully enjoy the feel and sounds of the water and the luxury and privilege of having it. Your muscles will relax in tandem, and with just a bit of time, your entire being will thank you.
5. Make bedtime sacred.
Take a few moments of intentional space to find peace when you get in bed at night, right before you fall asleep. Keep it simple and do something simple that you like: light some palo santo or incense, play music (sound baths or music by East Forest are great if you want soothing music), write a few stream of consciousness notes in your journal. Whatever it is, do it with all of your attention and chill out. That’s it!
Do these tips sound too simple? Maybe you’ve heard them before… and maybe that’s the point. While we cannot change our realities and the circumstances around us, we also cannot brainwash ourselves into making everything peachy keen. Attempting to control the times or expecting things to feel a certain way will only lead to more suffering, but we can take a few moments for ourselves to chill. It’s simple, it’s science, and it works miracles. Chill out 🙂