An Ode to the Art of Chilling out
Late last week, I woke up with the sunrise.
As the light of dawn deepened to morning, I made the five-hour journey to Mammoth Lakes, Calif.
If you haven’t been before, the road to Mammoth is a trail of concrete un-expectation: the snow-drawn mountains, the earnest pines, the warm, woodsy browns mixing with a bluebird sky. Around every curl of the highway, nature is left to bloom. In whispers of feral gratitude, she rewards the world for leaving her (mostly) alone and like a cabaret singer with a penchant for Barbra Streisand ballads, puts on a wild, wild show.
Lovely, you think as you read my words then decide to move on to pastures more valuable than this.
Wait! Don’t go! There’s a lesson to be gleaned from the snowy hilltops and pine-speckled trees. When doing absolutely anything—from painting a mural of a British clown festival to concocting what will surely be the nation’s best recipe for blue cheese burgers—you have to give yourself time to chill. You must step back before you can forge forward.
I get it. I see the unseen eye rolls because they’re deserved. It’s hard to stop working when a hustle-first mentality has dominated the cultural conversation for years. But to really be your best, you have to take a break. Your body, mind and mindset will thank you later.
For me, rest came by way of a three-day ski trip. For you, it might mean cooking dinner or stopping for a 30-minute yoga practice. (YouTube has some awesome short yoga videos for beginners.) Whatever you need to do to temporarily quell the go-getter raging inside of you, commit to making rest a priority, just as you would any other goal in your life.
To help, here are three ideas for breaks to take:
A solo walk in nature.
Maybe I’m biased because Southern California is currently experiencing an outrageously beautiful super bloom but there’s something so relaxing about walking with no one but time. If you need a thirty-minute break, wander for the first fifteen minutes then turn around at the halfway mark and wander back until you’re home. Smell the flowers, literally, and don’t take your phone on your perambulatory stride.
A podcast listening sesh.
Be careful with this one because the better the podcast, the more you’ll want to binge on its juicy goodness but still! FUN. I just finished “Root of Evil: The True Story of the Hodel Family and the Black Dahlia.” What a listen that was!
A maker’s break.
Time to get your hands a little dirty. No matter what it is you choose to make (and it can be anything from candles to bread to a set of beaded anklets), revel in the mess of what it means to be a maker. Completing a physical project is a rewarding way to clear your mind.
WHELP those are just a few of my chill-out ideas. How do you take a break? Comment below and I’ll curate some of your best responses into another post this week!