When confronted with a sudden onslaught of change (“when it rains, it pours”), and sometimes ensuing angst, I predictably do one, some, or all of the following things:
1. Call a friend for a good “talkin’ it out” session.
I wear my heart on my sleeve most of the time. I always feel better after getting it off my chest, getting out of my head, getting some release. Sometimes just being able to tell someone, “I’m struggling” is huge. Thanks to MB for listening this morning.
2. Cut my hair.
I’ve been cutting my own hair since my second year of college. It’s been really short since high school and usually needs trimming once a month at least. A good buzz cut is so therapeutic. The fauxhawk/emo bang I have these days offer a bit more a challenge… Hopefully I didn’t hack off too much today… I guess it’s a work in progress…
3. Go for a hike in the woods.
This has been a major challenge in San Francisco. I was spoiled by growing up in Colorado, where the escape of wilderness was usually, sometimes literally, right outside my front door. Even living in Japan, a 5 minute bike ride could offer sweeping rice paddies and mountains on all sides. Here, getting to the “great outdoors” seems a bit more of a production. More so being car-less (no excuse, really, I KNOW, but there is the time constraint with a major bike ride). When I was living in the Castro, Buena Vista Park and Corona Heights Park offered excellent hikes for musing and get windswept. I hadn’t yet found that anywhere near my new apartment.
Yesterday, feeling the pressing need for escape, trees, physical exercise – to let my body do some of the thinking instead of my tired brain – I went for a walk, heading towards Potrero Hill, my closest “mountain,” determined for a climb! It took a bit of wandering to get there, and the discovery was worth it!
McKinley Square Park, perched on top of Potrero Hill, is officially my new favorite spot! You have to climb both stairs and a craggy hillside to get there. The pines and sandy dirt reminded me of Boulder. A father and daughter attempted kite flying in the small field next to the perfect playground. The views were utterly spectacular. My favorite part was discovering the Potrero Hill Community Garden. Steeped in a long history, and packed with overflowing plots. I wandered the paths and was comforted by the faces of friends: sunflowers, poppies, succulents, tomatoes, grasses, vines. I breathed in sunshine and was buffeted by the wind. I could smell the sea.
Oh, I’ll be going back there… it’s good to know that in my still newish neighborhood, comfort is nearby.
I’m curious to know what things other people do to ease stress, times of transition, and overwhelming worry. Do they too fall back on the reliefs they’ve used before? Is it possible to try new ones?