I Feel Better When I’m Naked And Alone

It’s been a long day.

The longest of days, actually. Class, work, reading, studying, Netflix-ing. Relaxing, but never fully relaxing because I can never stop thinking of things I need to do. I feel like I will never have enough time for everything on my to-do list — there is always homework to be done, books and articles to be read, new TV shows to be watched, words to be written and naps to be taken. Essentially: I’m stressed.

The words begin to roll off the page, falling into my second cup of coffee. I stare at a blank document for what feels like hours, as if my eyes know something my brain doesn’t and can burn the sentences I am looking for into the screen. My brain is fuzzy and my eyes are fuzzy and my teeth are starting to get a little fuzzy as well. My mind wanders to my to-do list, still littered with unfinished tasks, and I somehow manage to come up with more things I need to do before the week is over. I’m stressed. I’m overwhelmed. I’m starting to get a headache. I need to focus. I’m going to cry. I need a break.

I drop everything — books closed, pens capped, laptop shut — and stand up from my desk, distancing myself from the work that will be waiting for me later. I need to take a moment to myself to completely recharge, so I seek out what I consider to be the ultimate form of comfort.

This “ultimate form of comfort” is warm, wet and unclothed. It is fingers in my hair and eyes closed and, sometimes, music playing. It allows me to forget about the outside world and focus on letting my mind and body relax. It is my time to just feel good.

When the water is warm enough, I step into the shower. The droplets running down my back and along the sides of my face feel like a hug, like the water is trying to make me feel better, to let me know that everything will be okay. I close my eyes and welcome the warm reassurance.

The shower itself is very small and isolated. It is perfect for moments like this when all I want is to be alone — sometimes it feels like the shower is the only place I truly can be alone. There is just enough space for my body and not much else. There is no room for stressful thoughts to follow me in here. In the shower, I am safe.

When I finally emerge, I feel better. Clean, alert, and — yes — comfortable. I still have work to finish, of course, but I am recharged, refreshed and ready to sit back down at my desk.

I’m stressed. And so are you, and so are all of us. Usually, we can handle it: the work, the lack of sleep, the emotional turmoil. But from time to time, it gets to be too much.

When this happens, we turn to our favorite personal outlets. For some of us, there is caffeine, alcohol, drugs, etc. My favorite outlet? Showering. Something about taking a break from life and being immersed in a very small, very warm space where nothing matters but existing is more comforting to me than anything else.

Life will always be stressful, and I will always have more things on my to-do list than I am capable of finishing in a timely manner. This is just a fact. But just a few steps down the hall, there is a place I can always turn to, ready to give me the push I need to get through each day — and that puts my mind at ease.

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