Woman hugging a huge tree with eyes closed

How Vanity Can Help You Keep Your Sanity

Blythe Landry Guidance

This week sucked. Let’s be honest. Between Puerto Rico and Vegas there really are no eloqent words. I don’t have anything brilliant to say about any of it; and I also know that many of you are having big feelings about victims and political leanings and all kinds of things. So let’s not take up too much brain bandwidth with a lot of verbal clutter and get straight to it this week.

Are you feeling insane? Are you feeling stressed and scared and overwhelmed by it all? Are you literally without words? Then let’s get back to the basics and get grounded and get real – and remember that some basic things that you can do that may seem vain or self-focused or too “okay” for all that is going on, are the VERY things that will keep you present and grounded and well-fed and clear in your thinking so that you CAN be nice to the person right next to you on the subway or living with you in your own home (and at this moment the way you treat yourself, the people right at your fingertips, and the way you respond to life are literally the only things over which you actually have control – and, no, Facebook and Twitter fighting is not giving you a win or any control).

Four Tips that Sound Vain, but that Can Help You Get Back to Yourself Again:

Workout. That is right. Exercise. If you do it all the time, then keep doing it. If you don’t, then start. Go out for a five-minute walk. Join a gym. Take a yoga class. Do some form of exercise that not only challenges your body, but challenges your mind. For extra points, do something that doesn’t come easily to you. This will allow you to feel stronger and more in shape, but more importantly, to get rooted and focused in expanding your physical and mental limitations. More body power and more brain power mean more presence in your life and more energy to go out into the world and sign petitions and advocate for others.

Eat a super nourishing, super indulgent (but healthy) meal. If you like to cook, cook; if you hate to cook, order in or eat out. Go it alone or ask someone to join you who feels GOOD in your life, who makes you laugh, who takes the time to see the REAL you. Enjoy the food. Taste it. Allow yourself to feel it on your tongue. Enjoy your own company or that of the person(s) along with you. Feel the feelings of being in the moment. Let the conversation and the luxury of having the option to eat something amazing marinate. And maybe even smile.

Get a Massage (or manicure or pedicure or facial or whatever). Yes. That is right. Go for some type of physical self-care treatment. We need touch. We need physical connection to our bodies and to ourselves. This is a way to give that to yourself without the dependency or the requirement that another human being meet your need that is -as an adult – your responsibility to fulfill. Even if you get lots of touch and hugs and love from the people in your life, do it anyway. If you don’t have a lot of money, go on the discount day. Get a Groupon. Figure it out. You aren’t winning any contests by self neglect. Go for it. Give it a try. Feel pretty or grounded or engaged in your body and then, just for fun; pay attention to how much more present you are in your daily tasks and to the people around you once you are done.

Plan a day trip. Get out of town. Get out of your current perspective. Get a life. Taking a day off of work is okay. Doing something with yourself, your partner or a friend is also okay. It isn’t laudable to never miss work or never skip a day of adulting. It is okay to see new things and gain new perspectives. And just think, maybe if you go out and see a new site, your perspective will shift. You will get out of the rut. You will meet a nice person along the way that pays your toll or pays for your Starbucks in line in front of you and renews your faith in humanity (at least on some tiny level). It isn’t a big deal. You have choices.

Some people will see this list and think “How can I do these things!? That is so insensitive! How could I POSSIBLY smile while all this is going on in the world?” Reality check. There is no honor or true empathy in punishing yourself from life’s pleasures because other people are in pain. In fact, learning to Mea Culpa your way through life is not authentic and it doesn’t show utter gratitude for the fact that – just for today – you have the option to eat good foods and live your life. Just for today you might have a roof over your head or access to the people you love and the choice to see them for another day.

Relish it.

If you are reading this and you have a pretty stable and okay life as of today, living it is an important way you can show complete understanding that:

  1. You will not on any level understand what these victims have endured (unless of course you are one and to those of you I send my deepest love, grief and warmth) by reading the news or fighting about it.
  2. It is utterly self-centered and insincere to believe that doing those things will give you any insight into how they are feeling or what the aggressive and palpable depths of their pain might be.
  3. Enjoying your life IS the way to be more grounded, to be nicer, and to be more present to those in your life with whom you connect – and THAT is one way to actually make a difference.

And just like that, I said I wasn’t going to be wordy and, alas, I was. Good thing none of us have to do life perfectly to take credit for trying!

If you would like help with your anxiety related to the current state of the country and the world, please contact me and refer to this blog post.