5 FOR 2015: Five Ways to Stay Sane In 2015

It’s easy to fall into the pattern. Wake, eat, study, work, study, sleep. Rinse, wash, repeat. Shuffle the particulars; maybe you’re no longer in school but working two full-time jobs; maybe your leisure time is spent writing that novel, or completing that photo series. It all amount to the same thing- a routine we adopt and follow through. No matter how passionate you may be about your work, the reality is that productivity comes at a price. Too often, that price is personal well-being. In a world of deadlines and first priorities, we often sacrifice individual sanity. If any of this rings true- if you’re in a funk of days (or dazedly functioning)- here are some suggestions to pull you out of the pattern.

1. Sit down with that book, zine, or manifesto you’ve been meaning to read. Scroll through someone else’s world. Peruse old editions of magazines you love. The best thing about reading is that it can be slipped into the white space- the train ride home; in the hour before dinner or before bed or while waiting for the significant other/best friend/acquaintance to arrive.

You’ve probably got a stacked reading list, but here are a few more suggestions:
No one belongs here more than you - collection of short stories by Miranda July
The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin' Sad - zine by Adam Gnade
After Dark - Haruki Murakami
Shedding Silence - Janice Mirikitani
Rihanna’s Twitter
Cher’s Twitter

2. Mindfulness- Taking five minutes out of your day, every day, to breathe and detach from tasks at hand can cut stress in half. There are a million articles, gurus and books out there to guide one to a state of zen. But focusing your mind doesn’t require mental gymnastics. Actively engaging on a task at hand and shutting out everything else increases one’s sense of positivity and completion. There are all kinds of studies about mindfulness. Here’s a pretty cool article by Time Magazine which discusses how mindfulness can play a role in mental resilience.

3. Make something!  Creating something- unrelated or in addition to your normal workload- helps . Are you a writer of fantastical prose? Experiment with photography. Take photos of your family; your apartment; home, loved ones, your toes, your best friend’s hands. Plant something, or bake a cake, a meal, draw watermelons on your nails. Take a break from productivity and produce something for yourself.

4. Get active- While yoga certainly qualifies as working out (despite the grannies and granola dads who participate)- exercising for thirty minutes a day boosts endorphins and general feelings of wellness. This may seem like the fodder of health magazines and Pinterest boards. But exercise need not include treadmill nor extensive weight-lifting routine. Riding your bike to school, work, or the local coffee shop; walking your neighborhood or going on a hike are all good ways to get moving without ever entering a gym. Getting outside is almost as important as the exercise itself. Cramming in the library or poring over the light of a computer in your dorm sometimes makes one forget what sunlight feels like.

5. Finally, let others appreciate you. Watch this youtube vid of people calling their loved ones then: Call your mother, call your friend, your father, your sister. If the idea of speaking to a person is too intimidating, start a pen pal correspondence. Write a letter to a person you haven’t seen in a while. Put on makeup you’d never wear to school, or work, and take pictures of yourself. Transform yourself. And finally, know that spent on personal sanity is not procrastination. Carve out the time you need for yourself. Don’t schedule it. Just remember that good work comes best when you’re not working yourself to pieces.

Curated by // Isa Flores-Jones
Want to write your own Five for 2015?