Every culture is different but they all have their own versions of relaxation and recreational activities. Here in Georgia, it used to be steam baths and then it was colonics (yuck). Now, self care is the new thing everyone is recommending for stress relief. I don’t know if this is supposed to be in addition to Xanax or in lieu of it but I’ve found that the idea of self care is different to me than to my big city/northern friends. So I thought I’d write about what self care looks like in the southern United States.
Smell The Rain
If you’re from the country, you know the smell of the rain coming in. It is cool and sweet and, often times, it is accompanied by winds or a gentle breeze. Instead of face planting on a yoga mat, go outside and close your eyes when you smell the rain. Meditate in it, if that’s your thing, but at least smell God’s country and let your problems get washed away. Bath and Body Works really needs to make a candle that smells like this. It would be a best seller!
Dirt road riding is almost always a spiritual experience down here. Your stressors melt away when you roll the windows down, turn the music up and fire your vehicle down the clay dirt roads. You are cleansed by God’s dirt. No matter what you’re going through, riding along dirt roads will make you feel better if only for a second. It is also a great date night (for those of you looking for something different to do). Be careful with the clothing though! Clay does not come out easily.
Five Gallon Buckets
We have a special appreciation for the five gallon bucket down here. They can be used for so many things! Makeshift toilets, seats, fish totes and much, much more. My preference is to drag one by my pond and sit on it while fishing. Fishing is so calming and almost like meditating (or as close as my ADD self can get). I love sitting with nature and just relaxing. It does wonders for my anger. I always feel less like pushing someone in a bush after an hour or two of fishing.
I don’t recommend getting in the habit of eating every time you’re stressed out. That would end up being called emotional eating and cost you a good 60lbs of fat! BUT, every now and again, it’s nice to come home after a long, hard day and pile up in the bed with a whole lot of southern comfort food. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, hoe cakes, black eyed peas, biscuits and gravy followed by a strawberry shortcake or banana pudding. Then, once your in a slight food coma, take a nap to the sounds of The Office playing on Netflix.
I was tempted to just put dogs but I know some people actually enjoy the company of cats. I happen to have two dogs, two birds and a turtle (and four kids and two step-kids) so when I’ve had enough of people’s sh*t, I’ll play with them for an hour or two. It takes me back to when I was a kid and also reminds me that there is still pureness and goodness in this world. That’s easy to forget when you are surrounded by fake, back-stabbing people or being called a dumb, white b*-+h by your tenants at work.
This is not a southern thing. It is a known fact that writing your feelings down on a regular basis helps you process them. I have kept a journal on and off for several years. I love to doodle in mine as well as tape down or glue little momentos. My memory gets worse every year (#ThanksForty).
This one is pretty self-explanatory and cross cultural. Drink enough of it and you won’t remember or care what stressed you out in the first place! I implement this one daily.
When my father was alive, he would often remind me of the good things about the South. As badly as we are often portrayed in the movies, the real south is full of loving people, great food and beautiful surroundings. I would love to visit other places and see other cultures but this will always be home to me.