By: Dani Kessel
Recently, Sam wrote a fantastic article discussing the way that she spends her quiet time. I loved reading about the way she centers herself, and it inspired me to write about the way I spend my quiet time. This article will be different though. Faith is an extremely important thing to Sam, so her routine involves activities that bring her closer to her god. In my case, I’m not a person of faith. Truthfully, I am not sure if/what I believe in. I’ve had bad experiences with religion. And, the whole thing causes my anxiety to get worse.
(Note: To be clear, I do not intrinsically look down on or think negatively of people who do have faith. Many people of faith live enriched lives because of it. It’s just not me. Like many LGBTQ+ people, especially those with past traumas, it’s hard to feel welcome and not condemned to some sort of Hell whether by individual beliefs or institutional beliefs. Just as I respect people who do have faith, please no comments pushing me in that direction.)
So, my routine is based on things that help calm me. On my slow days and whenever I have an extra moment for mindfulness, these are the activities I use to fill my quiet time.
I cannot meditate. It actually causes my mental health to deteriorate quickly. I have anxiety and panic attacks and get thrown into flashbacks. Just, not good. Instead, I do grounding exercises that I learned in therapy. My favorite one is the 5 senses exercise. I will list out 5 things I can see, 4 things I can touch, 3 things I can hear, 2 things I can smell, and 1 thing I can taste. Another technique I’ll use is finding something around me I can hold and describing everything about it in as much detail as possible. A third grounding practice I enjoy is picking a category of object to find around me. Color is usually my go-to. All of these things provide me with a connection to my surroundings. It prevents me from getting too overwhelmed by racing thoughts.
Shuffling and reading my tarot cards
I know that many people think of tarot cards as a psychic or reading the future. That isn’t the way that I personally use my tarot cards though. I use my Ethereal Visions Illuminated Tarot Deck as a reflective and introspective tool. In my quiet time, I will pull out my deck. I focus all my thoughts and energy on one topic that I’d like to contemplate. Letting everything flow through my hands, I shuffle the cards over and over. When I feel ready, I spread the cards out face down. I hover my hands over the deck, and I’ll pull out whatever 3 cards I feel drawn to. Then, I sit and think. I mull over how the cards’ meanings apply to the topic. Afterward, I push the cards back together into a deck. I thank the cards, blow on them, and put them away.
Even though I am a writer by profession, I also spend my quiet moments journaling. I rarely read entries back, but there is something cathartic about purging my most vulnerable thoughts and emotions. This allows me to validate my experiences, something important since I’ve been gaslit a large portion of my life. When I write down something particularly painful, I’ll sometimes rip it out and tear it up. I’ll also often take an emotional inventory. I draw a line down the middle of the page. On one side, I write all the negative emotions I feel at the moment. On the other side, I write all the positive emotions I feel at the moment. If I can, I come up with ideas on how to move emotions from the negative column to the positive column. This helps connect my emotions with my logic in a proactive manner. All around, journaling provides me with a healthy outlet.
I used to do this every single morning, but I have been slacking lately. It’s still a part of my quiet time routine though. I stand in front of the mirror and find different things I like about myself. They can be physical, emotional, or behavioral. They can be big or small. When I come up with 3, I look at my reflection and say them out loud. There is power in this action. Over time, it helped me build up my self-esteem. Now, it’s a part of my mental health maintenance.
That’s what my quiet time routine looks like. Taking space to do these things helps me approach my day with a centered, mindful, and balanced mentality. I hope you enjoyed reading my article. If you did, give it a like. Feel free to share your own relaxing activities in the comments below! Who knows? Maybe I’ll incorporate them into my daily life.
A Note From Sam:
Hey guys! I don’t normally add notes at the bottom of Dani’s posts, but I feel the need to do one tonight. Dani already addressed this, but I want to reiterate it. Negative and hateful comments will not be tolerated. You don’t have to have the same opinions as someone else to respect them. While faith is something that is very important to me, I do not expect everyone to believe the same things as me. Dani is one of the best people I have had the privilege of getting to know and I will not tolerate any kind of disrespect towards her for writing this or me for publishing it. Those are not your decisions to make and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it. Let’s be kind and spread positivity.