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“Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia. (…) You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.” (John Green, Looking for Alaska)

Carpe diem. The answer’s been there for thousands of years and still we are all conditioned to always want more. Shoot for the highest, and give up today for tomorrow. At the beginning of the past school year, I made a point of not falling into the arrival fallacy: I would not wait around and leave my future up to time and chance, I was going to go seize it. But in heading out to seize my future, I ironically forgot to seize today. I wore myself so thin this year trying to move forward that I was too exhausted to enjoy what I was doing. It arguably paid off at the end of the year, but not in the moment. In real life, there is no end of the year, no break. There is always more that can be done, and in always striving for more, we are giving up the joys of the present. That is not a sacrifice I am willing to make anymore.

When productivity and happiness start to have an inverse relationship, it’s time to stop. Slow down. I lived in a constant state of high tension this year because I was always on the move. I enjoy being tired at the end of every day but when exhaustion seeps into the beginning, middle, and end of all days, productivity decreases anyway. Regaining calm and balance can come with just ten minutes of rest to refresh. Take them.

Self-Nurturing Activities:

  1. Take a warm bath
  2. Get a massage
  3. Buy yourself flowers
  4. Take a walk
  5. Visit a zoo
  6. Get a haircut/mani/pedi
  7. Watch the sunset
  8. Relax with a good book
  9. Soothing music
  10. Watch a funny movie or TV show
  11. Dance like nobody’s watching
  12. Bake
  13. Go to bed early
  14. Look at the stars
  15. Fix a special meal
  16. Call a good friend, or several
  17. Go to a new restaurant
  18. Go to the beach
  19. Go for a drive
  20. Meditate
  21. Buy new clothes
  22. Browse in a book/record store
  23. Buy a fluffy stuffed animal
  24. Write or journal
  25. Spend time with a special person
  26. Go to the theatres
  27. Go to the park and swing on the swings or climb on the monkey bars
  28. Go to a museum or gallery or festival
  29. Allow yourself time to dawdle
  30. Do a puzzle
  31. Do BuzzFeed quizzes
  32. Hottub or Jacuzzi
  33. Window shop (online works too)
  34. Listen to a tape
  35. Exercise