Just because I design clothes doesn’t mean my days are filled with extravagant runway shows, parties and champagne. Like everyone else, work can become monotonous and I find myself longing to escape from my daily routine. Yeah, I own my business, but that doesn’t mean I can jet away to an exotic island when the grey winter skies crush down on me. Actually, this is the time of year I am busiest, making it impossible for me to take a restful, sunny vacation.
So how do we add some interest to our lives and escape from reality when the days run into each other? I asked my team this question and got some great solutions to escaping the grey days of winter.
I love Chicago! There is always something going on in this beautiful city – from music that fills the Summer air in Grand Park to the multicultural cuisine all year round, ice skating with a warm cup of coco at Millennium Park and bike rides by the lake overlooking Navy Pier and its iconic Ferris wheel. We do tend to have a long winter though, and this is what I do to enjoy the colder months:
I enjoy reading a good book on the couch under sunlight from the brightest living room window. Other days I have tea time with friends and family while sharing current events or memories. It is an excellent way to bond and share good laughs. On adventurous days, cuisine exploration is a good idea to warm the soul and find new favorite dinner eateries. On workday commutes, I listen to Youtube videos to learn while I sit in traffic or listen to classical music to ease my mind. When I get home from cold days, I adore taking candlelit showers while I listen to Sade Station on Pandora. I lather up with favorite soaps and scrubs found in my all time favorite shops (Chicago’s own L&A Healing Studio and Merz Apothecary) and [revitalize] with blends of oils and moisturizers to beat the winter dryness.
I’m a nature girl – In any other season I take time to explore outdoors, surrounded by the beautiful colors, textures, smells, and sounds that are easily overlooked by most of us during our busy day to day indoor routines. With Winters in Chicago, it’s a bit more tricky. I would love to get cozy and hibernate all winter, but since I was a bear in another life, not this one, I’ve found a few other things to keep me occupied and motivated.
Although music is one of my favorite escapes each and every day, all year long, it is especially my inspiration at the end of a year/the start of a new one.
Listening to lyrics, which I see as stories set to a tune, inspires me to reflect on my own experiences – where I’ve been, where I’m going, and how I will get there. Comparing others’ thoughts with my own evokes different perspectives and lets me see a bigger picture. This keeps me focused and in touch with myself and my own views/opinions so that I feel more grounded and empathetic towards the lives of others. The trick with this technique is to actively engage in the music (after all, it is meant for MUCH more than a background soundtrack to your life).
Just like the food you put in your body and the clothes you put on your back, I believe it’s important to invest time and effort into researching the music that flows into your ears.
How can you do it? Discover Spotify if you haven’t already, search out a new songwriter, rediscover an old favorite and look up a little bit about a band – it’s amazing what an hour of your day can do to lift your spirits. Take time to listen to an album all the way through – NOT just the one hit song you’ve heard on the radio. Sure, you may hate the rest of the album, but you also may find inspiration that keeps you motivated for days, months, or even years to come! One of my favorite things to do rather than going out to a bar is spending time at a local music venue for the night instead. We have TONS of wonderful nooks in Chicago, both city and suburbs, where you can listen to live music. It’s SO important to support local music – you never know who you will discover, or who you will hear on the radio one day as a result from your influence!
All seriousness aside, some songs are just meant to be fun & help make our days a little more sunny when its cold and grey outside.
We love to blast some of our favorites in the MAJAMAS Studio and have a dance party while we work! Even though our neighbors may not feel the same way, it helps us stay energized when we are feeling the lull of the dark afternoon set in. Currently we are rocking Foster the People, the 1975, Postal Service, St. Lucia, and Chicago’s own Wild Belle – all songs that take us far far away from winter. If you don’t have a workplace that doubles as a disco like ours does, bring your headphones and listen to something on a break or at lunch to take you away for a few minutes. Not allowed? Well, there are no rules about having your own dance party in your PJs at home (I do it ALL the time)!
The most common way that I “escape” is through music too. The genre typically depends on my mood, but usually includes a variety of genres to put my mind at ease.
Other ways are more visual-based. Whether I’m listening to music, watching a movie, playing a video game or just feeling inspired, I often sketch new garment designs. Making sweets is always an option. (The MAJAMAS team definitely appreciates this escape too!)
Being an athlete, the best way for me to relax my muscles is to stress or engage them first. Similarly, I do the same for the mind. I love to do “Brain Games” such as crossword puzzles and jumbles. Every night before retiring for bed, I do a Sudoku puzzle. Sudoku is a logic based number-placement puzzle. For those who have not seen one or done one , Sudoku is a 9×9 box grid which is blocked into 3×3 subgrids, with a total of 81 boxes or cells.
The object of the game is to fill each cell with a single digit of 1-9, so that each row and each column contains all of the digits from 1 to 9. Each subgrid (3×3) also contains the digits 1 to 9. There are various levels – easy to insane -depending on how many cells are partially completed by the setter. Each Puzzle has a unique solution.
Like the crossword puzzle I mentioned before, Sudoku has a simple structure and a simple set of rules for solving it, but it still presents a challenge. Unlike the crossword, however, it requires no “external knowledge” (names of events, people, facts etc.). It just requires us to place symbols (usually the first nine digits) in cells in a logical way.
The satisfaction that comes from solving a puzzle is very satisfying. Sudokus are a powerful form of relaxing my brain and an escape from the ups and downs of everyday life.
As for me, well my favorite escape is a good book. I know this isn’t a new idea but reading a truly great book has the power to take me away from my day to day.
I find myself immersed in a story about a person or place that transports me to a whole different world and it’s this escape that not only brings me joy, but also brings me perspective. I feel like a voyeur sneaking an intimate peek at someone else’s day and I become less focused on my own trials and tribulations. Sometimes it’s a relief to return to my own reality and sometimes I really miss the characters I’ve lived with the last few days. Regardless, it takes the monotony out of my winter routine and I’m grateful for the talented writers who have the ability to do that without my having to pack a bag.
We hope you’ll try one of the suggestions above and let us know if you too felt you got to escape without going anywhere.
– Germaine Caprio, Company Owner & Designer & the MAJAMAS team
TO HEAR FROM YOU
How do you escape?
Please share your own thoughts with us – let’s get a conversation started in the comments below! Your comment may even win you a free MAJAMAS garment this week!