Because Someone Needs To Tell You — Chill Out, Homie

I have gotten my jacket rotation down to a science. If the high is below 40 degrees, it’s full on puffer. Between 40-55 degree high is the “transitional coat,” scarf included for layering depending on the windchill. Higher than that and the jacket of choice revolves strictly around activity level, sun rays, and event.

Who knew that “grab your coat” would result in so many questions?

This last Sunday, New York took its “frozen tundra” status down a notch, providing inhabitants with sun and a high of 44. I was thrilled. After church, I planned to soak up the rays, pretending that spring was closer than the calendar dictates.

My problem arose during my walk through the park, on my way to the train station that takes me to church. As I walked, quickly, I found myself growing a little warm. But, why?!

Welp, my carefully calculated jacket decision had not been made before I looked at the forecast. I walk at a good pace, so I generally help my temperature with body heat. With sunshine and no wind, I needed a “cooler” jacket.

If you’re still with me, bless you.

It was too late to turn around and change coats, so I was stuck in my puffer. I guess I could go home and change after church? But that would mean missing some sunshine...oy.

As I sat on the train and beat myself up over the decision I had so hastily made, I started to grin. The easiest fix to my problem was just not to walk as quickly. It’s a Sunday, for Pete’s sake, I’m not racing to get anywhere.

A simple solution to my silly little problem.

I spent the rest of the day, jacket flung open, waltzing down whichever street was housing the most sun at the given moment. It was lovely. Slowing my pace not only forced my heart rate to take a chill pill, but it allowed me to observe the things around me, stop when I wanted to, and wander without having to be at point B at a certain time. Sure, my body needed the literally chill, but it was my brain that benefited most from having to chill out.

How often do we forget the simple pleasure of a leisurely stroll? A quiet morning at home? Sitting in a coffee shop without a laptop in front of us?

How many times do you find yourself worrying about what’s next, when some things are out of your control? Do you beat yourself up for sleeping in because you could’ve gone to the gym? What happens when you don’t accomplish everything on your to-do list? If you have a moment of downtime, do you feel guilty if you don’t fill it with efficient, productive tasks?

Same. I do all of those things and then some. But friends, life is not a sprint. It’s a marathon (wow Lil, way to throw that in there just so you could bring up the marathon again). And marathons have water breaks and weird little foam rolling stations and complete strangers giving you high-fives. If you need to walk a little bit to work out that cramp, you can!

Even though marathons are a race to the finish, taking a minute to chill out is helpful in the long run.

We all need to be told to chill out every now and then. Don’t take it personally—do it, don’t just roll your eyes. Maybe chilling out is as simple as walking slower and enjoying your weekend. Maybe it’s taking a mental health day. Maybe it’s not stressing about that 1.2lbs you gained after dinner with friends.

One way or the other, being really thankful for the little things in life is so much healthier than stressing about your to-do list.

Chill out, homie.