Pat Benetar once said, “Love is a battlefield.”  That may be true, but where does that leave life?  With work, school, friends, family, bills, health and growing up, life must be guerilla warfare on a barren Saturn moon in the middle of a hailstorm during the zombie apocalypse.  Rough, to say the least.  Of course, it’s important to never give up and to make every day count, but sometimes we need a break lest we fall to pieces and lose it all.  When you feel the pressure rising and find yourself wondering when it was the last time you laughed, it’s time to step back and take a moment or two to relax.

How to Not Take Yourself So Seriously All the Time

1. Have a Bake-a-Thon

Nothing soothes the soul quite like a cupcake.  Or a pie, a cake (or two) or maybe some donuts.  But before you run off to the store and buy crappy store brand treats, consider calling over your friends or family to be your personal bakers for a day.  If you’re feeling crafty in the kitchen, put your own culinary skills on display.  Otherwise, feel free to sit back and be the official taste-tester.  Don’t worry if you’re health-conscious or watching your weight.  There are tons of alternative healthy recipes to be found, or you could send the baked goods home with those who helped you make them.  But make sure to save something for yourself.  You’ll have a fun afternoon of baking, talking and laughing and your house will smell delicious!

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2. Go for a walk or get some exercise.

When stress mounts up to the point where it’s taking over your life, run away.  Seriously, run!  Or walk, bike, swim, play basketball—whatever gets you moving.  Get away from your desk, turn your computer off, leave your smartphone behind and go outside.  Exercise releases endorphins, which could be exactly what you need to realize that everything will be just fine.  Leave whatever you’ve got on your mind behind for a while, get some fresh air, do some people watching.  The best part about getting out and seeing other people—even if they are just strangers—is that it can give you some perspective.  Realize that there are millions of people in this world and they all have moments where they feel overwhelmed.  Literally every single other person you see have problems or worries of their own.  You’re not alone!  This can be a humbling thought and allow you to breathe and smile.  We’re not all that different from one another after all.

3. Pump up the jam.

When was the last time you danced?  I mean, really danced?  When was the last time you let loose, pulled out all the crazy moves, and acted like a giant clown?  Can’t remember?  Well then, today is the day.  Queue up all of your favorite songs, put ‘em on shuffle and let your freak flag fly.  What’s your dancing style?  Are the classic moves like walking the dog and windshield wipers your thing?  Maybe you’re more of a wild child and get your rocks off by head banging mosh pit style.  Whatever your preference, it doesn’t matter!  Move however you want to and pull out all the moves that would put Lady Gaga and Beyoncé to shame.  Put on your craziest, sexiest outfit or take a page out of Ke$ha’s book and take it off to dance in your underwear.  Admit it: you work hard and you deserve to rock and rave to blow some steam off.

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4. Fantasy life.

You’re a very serious person who does very serious stuff, of course.  But being that person all the time can get exhausting.  So when you get some free time, stop and imagine yourself as another person living another life.  Did seeing Black Swan pique your interest in being a show-stopping ballerina, minus all the crazy?  Imagine what it’d be like to take the stage every night and leave everyone in awe with your grace.  Or perhaps you’re the fashion world’s latest designer and everyone is absolutely mad about your newest collection.  As long as you can come back down to Earth and successfully do what you’re doing here, it’s okay to get lost in fantasy land sometimes.

While it is important to be able to handle every situation that comes up in life, the best way to ensure that you’re at the top of your game is to take a moment every now and then to let your hair down.  Life is hard work and you’ve got to be strong to survive.  But to be truly strong is to know when to be serious and when to take it easy.  When you start to feel completely overwhelmed, take a step back, breathe and stop taking yourself so seriously.

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