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Five Things I Do to Keep My Sanity

Some obvious (and not so obvious) ways to keep it together

One issue I think any person that’s battled addiction has experienced is completely losing your shit. We internalize, keep things suppressed, bottle up our feelings, and just wait to explode.

In the process of kicking my drinking habit, I took the advice many people gave me and changed every facet of my entire life. Anheuser-Busch is not the reason I had problems; it is my thoughts, habits, fears, and experiences.

Over the last couple of years I have adopted a few things and purged a few things to stay mentally- and emotionally stable, so I am not triggered by my addiction. Here’s five in no particular order.

  1. Jazz music and ASMR

The nature of artists like Dave Brubeck and Thelonious Monk has been a real game-changer. I love both the complexity of jazz as well as how the moods of the genre can change from track to track. ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) is a physical and psychological response to noises. Some people legitimately get off on hearing people chew, which, while fascinating, doesn’t move the needle for me. However, ambient sounds like rain, trains, or a ship at sea relax me to no end and have gotten me to unwind.

2. Uber and Lyft to and from the office

I find myself taking an Uber or Lyft to work (and home) at least once a week. Yes, it has been an added cost, but the opportunity to sit in the back of a car, reading from my tablet, and not being stressed out by morning- and afternoon rush hour is excellent. I will gladly pay someone to drive bumper-to-bumper if it means I can read an extra ten pages, get to work without stress and be in a better mood. I cannot afford to do it every day right now, and my career as a realtor means I drive anytime to anywhere, but it would not shock me if I rarely drove at all within five years.

3. I got a Panda Planner

In the past, my brain was going 100 mph all the time. I could not focus, I could not keep up, and I could not remember what needed to be done. My Panda Planner has gotten me so organized, and laser-focused on my to-do list and tasks. The best thing I have ever purchased under $50.

4. Going out for walks

The most basic of exercise has helped clear my head. One thing I like about living in the Twin Cities is it is incredibly clean. So when I am out getting fresh air I know it is not smog-filled like other places, there’s also almost no trash or debris anywhere so when I am out I am not staring at cigarette butts, empty cans, and some random abandoned shoe. Scenic cleanliness combined with the Runkeeper app has been a winning combination.

5. I adopted a minimalist lifestyle

I got rid of half my wardrobe, cleaned out every possession I rarely used, and cut out people that only added to my problems. It is one of those crazy reverse psychology things, but when I got rid of all the useless crap and junk that was weighing me down, I felt much more freedom physically and mentally. Do Less by Rachel Jonat helped me greatly.

I realize I am not reinventing the wheel with a lot of these ideas, but I would urge you to turn on an ASMR playlist on Spotify while reading a book or taking a Lyft to work, or declutter your closet, you never know, it might be the breakthrough you need.