by Iulia Gheorghe
It’s that time of the year again.
Summer is long gone and Christmas not close enough to allow yourself to drown in glitter and coffee-drinking gorilla pattern gift-wrapping paper. I woke up like this: dismayed by the alarm clock. I usually hate that annoying jingle of « hurry up, don’t be late again » sound. However, now I felt something else was floating in the air. I was so confused that I literally didn’t hit snooze. I was astonished with myself as I jumped in SpaceX mode straight from my bed to the mirror. I always check my phone first! My face was almost tan free (so unhappy to loose the natural glow of happy summer days), but also heat bumps free. Finally, the cadaveric whiteness is not so bad after all. I opened the window and there it was: the crisp air of a November greyish morning. I felt shivery, but quite enthusiastic. For me, this month is so bloody ugly that you can focus better on your goals. Basically, it’s the month of second chances. The revival of all the good resolutions. We practiced them for five days in January and then we've thrown them out in the garbage of wishful thinking. They are waiting in the purgatory for salvation. Hooray, you get one more shot to get your shit together before the end of the year (and the clock is f*cking ticking).
If the idea of a new start excites you as much as it excites me, let me introduce to you some soul exercises that you could embrace this November. I can assure you as a conservative Taurus that I am: these activities can spice up your life without leaving yourself bare naked and helpless.
"Can confirm, it will be easier for introverts/couch potatoes/ introspection addicts to sit still"
1. Stillness can be a good idea. I’m sure you love travelling (who doesn’t?), but going nowhere can also open your eyes and your soul towards the world. As Pico Iyer says in The Art of Stillness, “The need for an empty space, a pause, is something we have all felt in our bones; it’s the rest in a piece of music that gives it resonance and shape”. Can confirm, it will be easier for introverts/couch potatoes/ introspection addicts to sit still as hyperactive people will certainly cling themselves to it with despair, but at least, all of us will now have an excuse to just sit on our asses without remorse. And bonus, the 2-Hour Rule: one a week, block two hours just to think.
2. Rage Yoga. The problem with thinking it’s that while you are doing progress about figuring out stuff, you’re inevitably feeding that bitchy monkey mind. You will need meditation, yoga or anything that involves mindfulness to calm it down. If you are not the “sugar and spice, everything nice” type, why not trying rage yoga? The mantra of this type of yoga that involves stretching, foul language, laughter, and even beer-drinking (luckily before or after the session) is “be zen as f***k”. If this class is too heavy mental for you, you can do guided meditation for inner f*cking pece. Choice no. 1 or my fav, the shorter version. Breathe in white light, breathe out bullshit.
3. A crash course on Sarah’s Cooper work. How can you just not love her way to depict everyday struggles and nonsenses of office life? She is a natural in describing those wtf situations we are all experiencing at work. I would consider marrying her on a beach in Honolulu and live happily ever after on fruit smoothies and long talks. Meanwhile, I will keep following her on Medium where you can find her articles. The most accurate diversity in tech report you will ever read is dope.
"1 in 4 people in England will experience a mental health problem"
4. Understand the impact of stigma and discrimination on people with mental illness. According to NHS Digital, 1 in 4 people in England will experience a mental health problem any given year. Basically, this means 1 in 4 people you meet is living a hard time. Maybe you are living a hard time. Nobody should be ashamed about dealing with a mental health issue, you are not the one to blame. You can help by speaking up, as these people do it on their blogs. Or supporting a friend or a stranger in his/her journey through the peace-making process with the nasty monsters who can eventually be tamed and even understood.
5. Give yourself the right to create. I will talk about the right to write, because November is also the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Perhaps you’ve already heard about this now famous creative writing challenge initiated by the freelance writer Chris Baty in 1999 with 21 participants. By 2015, more than 400 000 people participated from all over the world. The rules are simple and anyone who reaches the 50 000 word mark is declared a winner. I find this concept awesome, because it pushes you over your boundaries without the pressure of “what the heck should I write”. Just practice and show up. If you want to prepare mentally for NanoWriMo, you can check out some timeless advice on writing – a collection compiled by awesome Maria Popova published on her well of wisdom, Brainpickings. I would love to marry her too, but I’m not sure how she feels about polygamy.
I’m sure you also have some tips to better deal with November and its gloomy behaviour. Feel free to share them below! As far as I’m concerned, even if I’m definitely a spring girl, I start to kinda’ like it – it’s somehow like my period: uncomfortable at first, but quite helpful in the end as I give myself permission to stay home and reflect, do some art and think more seriously about helping others.