Calming Habits I Brought Back from China

Ways to relax in crazy times

Keara Lou
Keara Lou
Mar 30, 2020 · 4 min read
Photo by James Coleman on Unsplash

I’m not in China anymore, but some habits never go away. Which, in these times, they’re needed more than ever.

Every time I go on Facebook or Twitter, it’s always politics or arguing about the seriousness of the pandemic. Regardless of what you believe, we need to stay away, for now, to flatten the curve.

Some people are scared, and they lash out at the people trying to calm them down. Others are so caught up in the hype they’re hoarding or social shaming someone that does.

Either way, there are some things I learned in China that I still add to my life today. No matter what the situation, these are some things I’ll always do. Maybe they’ll help you if you find yourself caught up in the anxiety.

Hot water is a good thing

In China, every time you felt sick, anxious, stressed, or cold, the answer was always hot water?

Period cramps? Drink some hot water.

Did you lose your voice? Drink some hot water.

Having a bad day? Drink some hot water.

Want to lose weight? Drink some hot water.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

I could go on, but I think you get the point. I’ve had locals tell me how weird I was for wanting to drink a cold pop on a winter day.

Is there any science behind hot water curing everything? Probably not. I wouldn’t be sucking down hot water if I had the flu. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was more of a placebo effect than anything.

Some days, hot water sounds good. I don’t care if it’s in the middle of the summer if I’m craving hot water, I’m going to drink warm water. Call me crazy, but I like the taste too.

Never say no to a walk

I could go on and on about how you’re doing your body an excellent service after going on a walk, but I’d be rambling. Also, I already wrote about endurance training a couple months ago.

Other than exercise, walking is a great way to destress. It helps you get creative if you’re facing writer’s block. Walking’s also been linked to problem-solving.

In China, on my days off, there was a big park near my apartment called Longtan Park. It was so big every day felt like my first time exploring the place. On the days I felt the most stressed, I’d spend my days in Longtan until the sun went down. Then I’d watch videos until the end of the night.

For me, walking was a way to unwind from the stress of the workweek. A way to fight burnout before I realized I was burned out. Even now, while we’re still allowed to exercise outside, I won’t refuse a walk.

Share as many pictures as you want

I’m not going to say too much about this one because it feels obvious. I like taking pictures in general. However, in the past, I was taking them for me. I didn’t realize the value of sharing until I came home for good.

Every year in China, I’d be given a month to come home and see family and friends. I couldn’t tell you how many times people came up to me, thanking me for sharing my pictures.

Photo by author

For a long time, I didn’t understand why people were thanking me. I wasn’t doing anything special. I did the same thing as millions of people around the world every day.

And then, I thought about it. Sharing my pictures had nothing to do with likes or comments.

Some people aren’t able to travel for various reasons. Sharing my pictures allowed these people to see the world. Once I realized that part about sharing my photographs, I didn’t mind sharing them while living abroad.

The takeaway

When you live abroad, you don’t realize the little things you take back with you. Things that seem strange to you could be the things you remember the most.

Little things that felt weird abroad ended up being little quirks making your life back home more entertaining. If someone ends up adopting your habits, that’s a bigger plus.

The Expat Chronicles

A publication for expats, former expats, and soon to be…

Keara Lou

Written by

Keara Lou

Forever Middle Child. If you can’t see me, I’m either lost in a book or wandering my world.

The Expat Chronicles

A publication for expats, former expats, and soon to be expats and their adventures around the world.

Keara Lou

Written by

Keara Lou

Forever Middle Child. If you can’t see me, I’m either lost in a book or wandering my world.

The Expat Chronicles

A publication for expats, former expats, and soon to be expats and their adventures around the world.

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