They say the habits you make when you're in your twenties can last you a lifetime ... which is exactly why establishing good habits now is of utmost importance. You don't need me to tell you that your twenties have been a mix of euphoric freedom and a chaotic sh*t show. The transitions are endless — once you get used to college, it's time to graduate. Once you get comfortable in your first internship, it's time to find a real job; once you find a real job, you lose it; once you find a partner, you realize it's not right — and so on and so forth. We're in a constant state of flux and consistently yet subconsciously aware that we are to never allow ourselves to feel comfortable, for whatever we're relying on can be taken from us in the blink of an eye.
This type of physical and emotional environment is not the best breeding ground for zen living. That said, there are things you can do to introduce and incorporate a system of relaxation into your life. That way, you can begin to rely on yourself to find that calm place, even when it seems like there are no doors to get there. Here are a few things you should do in your 20s to build a sense of calm into your life, for good:
Learn To Self-Soothe
Spend some time figuring out what types of fragrances, fabrics and sounds are soothing for you. Find an essential oil that you love and get in the habit of dabbing a few drops of it somewhere on your body that works for you. I put a few drops on the sides of my neck and rub the remains on my temples in slow circles, giving myself a mini face massage. Next you're going to want to find a fabric that your skin responds well to. Make sure you keep this fabric in mind when choosing bed linens and clothing. Certain types of linens like wool blankets and down comforters might irritate your skin, making it hard for you to get comfortable and relax. You'll also want to find yourself some music that puts your mind at ease. Spend as much time as you want exploring different genres of sound, but make sure to write down the pieces that calm you. Classical piano and folk music tend to slow my mind down and help me unwind. The combination of lavender oil, fresh cotton fabrics and a little piano are my go-to calming agents. They may change overtime but they're what works now.
Check-In With Yourself
People are constantly asking each other how they are. It's a pleasantry that's sometimes hard to answer, honestly. Do yourself a favor and make the time to ask yourself the question "how are you?" and answer honestly, in a notebook for your eyes only. You don't have to be a writer to benefit from writing — it's important to know how to articulate your feelings and keep track of them. Find a time that works for you and make it your check-in time. I try to write before bed a few nights a week for 30 minutes, even if I don't feel like I have anything to say. I'm always happy to have that little bit of a reflection to look back on.
Stay In Touch
Your life is only going to get busier. If you find that it's hard to see your friends regularly, create a weekly or monthly dinner or lunch date that works for everyone. The quicker you make it an unbreakable tradition, the quicker you'll feel more calm about keeping in touch. Just knowing that your monthly hang time has a permanent place on the calendar will make you feel more confident about your friendships.
You and your friends and co-workers might look alike and might lead lives that seem alike, but you're not the same people. Do not get in the habit of comparing your life to others — be it your looks, your relationship status, your paycheck, your social life, your workout regime, your diet or your possessions. The best life you can live is the life your living for yourself. Don't spend time stressing out because your friend who is younger is farther along in her relationship or job. Your life is on its own timezone and things will happen for you when they're ready to and meant to. You do you.
Fall In Love With Yourself
Whether you're single or in a relationship, never stop working on your relationship with yourself. It's so easy to get in the mindset that there are things you can only do in life with a partner. But you're holding yourself back from so much fun and so much growth by waiting. Date yourself, always. Even when you're in a relationship, cheat on your partner with yourself whenever you get the chance. I always thought I needed to wait until I met my life partner before I made plans for a international travel trip, it's something I imagined I'd do with a lover — but doing it by myself will be the most rewarding experience of my life.
Find Your Groove
If you enjoy exercise, you know that there is no "one size fits all" on workouts people benefit from. Maybe you weren't athletic in high school, or maybe you were the captain of the track team, but that doesn't have to dictate what kind of athlete you are as an adult. Finding a routine that works for you in your 20s is incredibly important. The health and emotional benefits of exercise are countless. Maybe you tried SoulCycle and couldn't walk for a week and swore to never ClassPass again — don't give up! Try another type of class. Maybe you're not a gym kind of girl, maybe your stress-relieving exercise regime will include meditating during yoga, or walking around your neighborhood while listening to death metal, who the heck knows. Just keep trying new things until you find what's right for you. And once you find that, stick with it!
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