Life Stories Motivation

Five Things To Keep Your Sanity

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It’s been a pretty stressful year, amiright?

Between Donald Trump’s ridiculous tweets, Apples new update, the Equifax Breach, North Korea, men in the limelight being scumbags in the limelight, and whatever else you have going on in your life, it’s easy to lose sanity. As the year comes to an end, you might be feeling a bit used, and ragged, or as my friend Spoz used to call it, “you feel like a dirty hooker,” from all of the services you’ve provided all year round.

Don’t worry, we’re here with you, we feel like hookers too. Unless of course, you are a hooker, then you do you boo boo.

Being a human being can make one crazy.

No, seriously, think about it. Between the things we have to do, should be doing, and want to do, the ability to maintain self-balance grows slim to none.

As soon as the end of the year crept around, I began remembering the anxiety that the time inadvertently brings. As this isn’t my first rodeo in the end-of-the-year-craze games, I went into my book of tricks to remember how I kept my sanity back then, to apply that technique now.

Here’s the trick:

Think about five things you can be in control of to perform at your absolute highest level, while maintaining your ground, and still finding time to be happy.

It’s a tricky task if you think about it. We do a million things every day, which one of those million things actually help keep all of our marbles intact? Do we even have any marbles left?

Sure, sounds great Jo, but I have no idea what I actually need to do to be happy.

Here’s how I did it: I thought about five things that if I don’t have or do, I’ll be in a terrible mood throughout the day, or throughout the week.

I took to twitter to see if you had five things you consider crucial to your sanity, and I was surprised to see more than 67 responses, with five different things each time.

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…And many more that you can read here.


Some might call it selfish to think about what YOU need, but those people are probably going through internal turmoil so big, the only way to get through to their actual desires is with a bulldozer to demolish their wall of emotional shit.

Here are the five things that keep me (somewhat) sane:

Music

I first realized music was important to me in the womb. Literally, this is not a joke. My dad was a percussionist in a jazz band, and he had his band mate play his saxophone by my mom’s belly when I was chillin’ in there. I’d jiggle around almost as if I were dancing. Later, when I was bigger than a fetus, I had this obsession with learning how to play the violin, and of course, the saxophone. I’d stay in on Friday nights looking at blogs about new music, browsing through things I liked and downloading them illegally on Limewire, and dragging them into my iTunes library. Oh, how the struggle was real before Spotify premium.

Now, in my current life, Spotify let me know I’ve listened to almost 70,000 minutes of music in my year. But even before this ridiculous data surfaced, I noticed that days where we film all day, and I have no time for music, I feel a little droopy. But because I’ve identified music as a non-negotiable in my life, I’ll pop in my headphones to recharge even if only in transit. And if you guessed that I was listening to music right this minute, you’re 100% correct.

Writing

I picked up the habit of writing as soon as I learned how to do so. In the first grade I wrote short stories, like “The Magical Sled,” about this sled that had… well, magical powers. Another hit I wrote was called “Freddy’s life,” which chronicled the life of my pet caterpillar, Freddy. By the fourth grade I became a full-blown journaler. I learned from a young age that it might be better to keep my thoughts, complaints, and crushes to myself, because I could always trust that.

Later, my writing progressed from basic diary entries, to more of a memoir that I’m fully aware the world might one day read. The minute I realize I haven’t picked up a pen and my journal in over a week, something is going on with me that can only be shaken with a good writing session.

writingEven writing blogs helps me declutter my mind. And clearly, it’s been a minute, so I’m ironically writing about how I love writing, when I haven’t done it in a while.

I write because it helps me understand myself. It’s basically like having a judgement free dialogue with myself, and that always helps me get to the core of what’s really going on. Plus, when I’m old and crusty, I can look back and giggle at how silly my problems seemed to be, how in love I was, or how many places I’ve been.

Carinho

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Carinho is a Brazilian word that doesn’t quite translate with the simple “affection.” Carinho is like an extension of love that can only be felt with intimate conversations, a good hug, and overall care towards another human being.

I need that.

Like most Latin people, warmth in human beings reminds me why it’s all worth it. I can’t go on like a productive robot without having an emotional conversation, a great romantic experience, or a heart-to-heart with a friend. Living far from family, friends, and even my significant other definitely takes a toll on this part of what I need to be happy. I’ve had to make a conscious effort to get a true carinho fix, otherwise I will go into a dark place of loneliness, no matter how happy I may look on the outside.

It’s taken years for me to realize this though, because it’s not an obvious one, and it’s dependent on other people.

Progress

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In order for me to feel good, I need to feel like I’m progressing in one or more ways. This applies to my need to go to the gym regularly, to strengthen my muscles and work my body out, but it also pertains to my constant need to learn, and grow my brain.

Feeling stagnant frustrates me, and I become a cranky demon at the thought that I’m even stumbling into a still period in my life. Once again, a difficult one to realize, but because it’s up to me, and only me.

The Ocean

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This one’s a little harder to honor because it’s geographically dependent, but it’s something I’ve been spoiled with after living in LA. I’m a watery creature. When I lived in Manhattan, I’d run by the Hudson just to feel the energy of a body of water. But nothing beats the ocean. In the most hectic of times, the tides always seem to clear things up in my mind, reminding me how small we all are, and how it’ll all flow in and out as time goes on.

Everything about the ocean puts life into perspective for me. The birds, breeze, sand, waves, the sun hanging low, and then rising high. It’s thrilling, always changing, and unstoppable. I try to spend some quality time with the ocean alone, at least once a week. When it’s been over a week, I feel it like a crimp in my neck.

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(my attempt at being a photographer with portrait mode)

How do you keep your sanity?

The beautiful thing is that these five things are completely in your control. Quiet all of the buzzing caused by outside factors and look within to see what you really need to maintain your sanity, and I guarantee you’ll be able to navigate through the rough times like a champion.

Cheers to taking care of you, boo boo.

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Comment your five sanity saviors below!

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  • Great blog post! The five things I must have are water, lotion, music, my journal, and quiet time to myself. Gotta stay hydrated and moisturized 😂; gotta be able to let my thoughts out in my journal; and I gotta be able to recharge and be with myself after a long day.

  • Janette Llerenas

    Somehow this made me tear up…I had to think and even by typing I found why this invoked such an emotional repose, thank you, oddly enough, thank you for sharing this post.

  • Justin Dykstra

    I love this. The five things I need for my sanity is music, showers, prayer, meditation and nature. But gurrll living in Michigan makes it hard to enjoy nature all year round, but its so worth it during the summer. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1c3b05e968573d60266b738b8e7d9151feebd34cedabf6e3eb0f5148c63d68d8.jpg

    • Michelle E.

      wow, that looks absolutely beautiful!

    • That is gorgeous! Snow scenes and mountains are my favorites to admire…

  • Michelle E.

    My 5 things are: music, friends, my guitar (I know I wrote music down already but that was more listening and not playing/creating), adventure, and languages. I’ve moved around a ton in my 16 years of living and yes I’ve been blessed with being able to see the world but, it also makes it extremely difficult to establish long term connections. I love learning new languages and going on cool trips but without the 3 first items on my list I would never be able to stay mentally healthy.

  • Thank you Jo for this post, really makes me think a bit more about how I deal with bad moods, and I’m in one now which sucks because it’s the holidays and I don’t want to seem selfish and annoying but I do need to take the time to reflect and think about what I need to feel better and in turn make the environment I am in a bit more positive and enjoyable. Bonne année à vous deux <3

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