Ways to Feel Better Instantly

The past 9 months has been a whole lot more on my plate at once than I’ve had to deal with, probably, than ever before. Two deaths, my dad losing his job (and starting to work for himself!), getting engaged, planning a wedding, finishing university, and trying to cope with the fact that my life will look completely different in two months. I am 100% uncertain regarding just about every important aspect of life in the next year; I don’t know where I’ll be living, where I’ll be working, what I’ll be doing, how often I’ll see my mom, what I will be able to afford, etc. In addition to all this, my personality definitely makes it easy for me to get caught up in stress about the future. This is why I decided to flesh out a list of ways I know that I can start to feel better instantly. If there’s ever been a time I need a list like this, it’s right now!

  1. Close out of all of you tabs on the computer, and actually shut it down/restart it.
    I know I’m not the only one who tends to keep tabs open on their laptop because I plan to read or make some sort of use of it in the future. Having a cluttered computer without actually shutting down or restarting it for a few days just begins to feel like being in a cluttered room. Clearing off my computer makes me feel like I can breathe a little bit better, and go about the things I actually need to do on my computer with more organization.
  2. Clear out your inbox.
    No, seriously. How many emails are in your inbox? How many have you already handled? How many are spam? I just looove going through all my emails and mass-deleting useless ones, or unsubscribing from newsletters or subscription emails. On top of all of that, I couldn’t survive if I didn’t label and archive my emails. If my school sends me an email about graduation, I read it, label it, and archive it. Same with important emails from anything else (especially online shopping receipts and such). Archiving in folders means I know exactly where to look for it later, if I ever need to reference it. It’s like deleting everything without having to worry about losing it.
  3. Clean your room.
    Just do it. Start by putting everything all in once place – a chair, bed, the middle of the floor, etc. Play music. I end up reaching a state of flow at some point and just go until I know I’ve either finished or made some significant progress.
  4. Just do one thing. Then do another.
    Mail that letter. Answer that email. Make that call. Set up that appointment. Doing one thing will help you feel like doing the next thing, and soon enough you feel like you’ve been at least marginally productive.
  5. Chocolate! 
    This is self-explanatory. Treat yourself. Be nice to yourself.
  6. Write it out.
    Here I am, doing just that. Whether it’s a blog post, a journal entry, a letter to a friend, or a list of some kind, getting it put down on paper helps you separate yourself from and organize the things buzzing around your brain.
  7. Hug someone
    This one is science, peole. Oxytocin is released in your blood stream when you hug or shake/hold hands with someone for more than 6 seconds.
  8. Look at baby things.
    Watch youtube videos or browse pictures of baby animals and baby people. This is science, too. Don’t pretend you don’t love doing this.
  9. Stretch.
    Whether you do yoga or just need to stretch out a bit, it feels amazing. Put down your phone, take your eyes off of your computer, step away from the to-do list, and just stretch. There’s no way to doubt that this will make you feel better right away.
  10. Work out.
    It’s okay if it’s just going on a walk! You don’t need to go spend an hour at the gym to gain benefits (both physically and emotionally) from exercising your body. Getting up and going on a short walk outside is worlds better for your sore back than pain killers or further resting. (Also science.)
  11. Look at pretty things
    The specific way I tap into this is browsing and curating my Inspiration Board on Pinterest.
  12. Remember that there are more important things.
    Sometimes you just have to remind yourself that there are more important things than killing yourself over not getting 100% on a school project, or being 15 minutes early to everything. Cut yourself a little slack once in a while, and remember that there are people who love you no matter what. That you’re not going hungry. That you are smart, capable, and special.

If you’ve been feeling like you really need a pick-me-up (who hasn’t at some point during this ridiculous winter?), hopefully some of these ideas help, or at least get you thinking about what makes you feel better.

What kinds of things always seem to brighten your day?

Guys I had a really bad day... I found out that one of my friends got hit by a car and died. I was crying like CRAZY in my first class and everyone stared at me. He was so nice and funny. I'll miss him. And on top of that I have a massive headache, I don't feel well, and I failed two quizzes... I'm so sad :'(

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Excuses (and How to Defeat Them)

We all have them. Excuses are all examples of “we are our own worst enemy/most difficult obstacle.” And it’s a particularly tricky situation because excuses are us passing up the blame for why our life isn’t the way we want it to be onto some other person, experience, or circumstance. However, there is a way to defeat them! The famous quote, “with great power comes great responsibility” is very applicable to you and your life.You are capable of making your life exactly what you want it to be. You have that power and, therefore, you have that responsibility.

The first thing you should do is write down your excuses. Go ahead and indulge yourself by coming up with every reason you can possibly think is a culprit responsible for sabotaging your diet, New Year’s resolution, cleaning schedule, organization of your closet, plan to cook through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and any other goal or plan you may have set. Then, really look at them and determine which is a legitimate reason or cause, and which is you justifying your lack of follow through. For example, if you’re not going on a run four days a week like you resolved to on New Years because you’re six months pregnant, that’s obviously legitimate. That’s okay. That’s good, even. But if you’re not going on your run because you’d have to wake up at 7 or 8 am and you like to stay up until 1 or 2 in the morning, that’s an excuse. If your run or goal is important to you, you will find a way to accomplish it.

Here are some of the most prominent excuses I have myself, and I know a lot of you can relate to several of them:

I don’t have time.
Ah, yes. Time. It is definitely the most scarce commodity in our world today. I go to school full time, work, and try to have a life. To many, this work and stress load would be a dream. I can’t imagine working full-time, putting effort into a marriage/partner relationship, raising children, planning (and paying for) a wedding, or anything else you crazy people have on your plates (sometimes all at one time!).

The way to defeat this excuse is to know that chances are you do have time. And also start with realistic goals. you may not be able to commit two hours at the gymn everyday, but the hour or two you spent catching up on your shows? I highly recommend you invest in a way to record them. If you want to get in better shape, record them and go to the gymn. Or, if you can’t or won’t have another time to catch up on them later, teach yourself to hoop dance while watching them (it’s what I do), invest in some dumbbells and lift while watching, do jumping jacks during the commercial breaks. 

If you’re trying to work towards incorporating a time of peace to meditate everyday – which is really important and so very beneficial – then commit to starting small. Our world is constantly moving, beeping, rushing, talking, and advertising. Start with five or ten minutes of quiet meditation a day. Turn your phone on silent in another room, turn off the TV, ask your partner to watch the kids. You can do anything for ten minutes. You’ll love it, too. If your goal is to say, cook more dinners at home, cut down on time for tomorrow’s meal by prepping during commercial breaks or watching on a TV in your kitchen if you have one. (my goodness, I could write a whole post on this topic itself!)

I’m not in the mood.
This one’s easy, but so difficult as well. The answer is: just do  it. Unless you’re sick or something – take care of yourself and recover. But if you push yourself to reach your goal, you will come out the other side feeling better about yourself, your capability, and your ability to complete other goals. Accomplishing a goal, meditation, and exercise all release endorphins, which make you happy. 

I’m not prepared.
Take steps in advance to prepare yourself! Keep a bag of spare gymn clothes and shoes in your car and just leave it there. When you have some time while you’re out, you’ll have everything you need to run to the gymn after class or work!

I don’t have the energy.
Push yourself. You can do hard things. You will have more energy after your work out. You will sleep better and have more energy tomorrow, as well. You will feel renewed and more calm after your mediation – which will aid in increased clarity of thought, better channeling of energy, and more restful sleep. However, also take notice and pay attention to what your body’s telling you. If you worked out hard yesterday, perhaps allow yourself a rest day. Turn down the phone for a few minutes once you’ve climbed into bed and get some peace and quiet that night. Honestly, it’s important to push yourself when you don’t feel like it, but if you’re sick or recovering or sleep deprived, pushing yourself may be counter-productive than allowing your body time to recover and heal. 

I’ve already been doing poorly today; I’ll just start tomorrow.
This may be the excuse I run into most. And the fact is that, although it’s tempting – and easier – to continue and “start tomorrow,” but what is important in this scenario is to forgive yourself and not freak out, punish yourself, or beat yourself up for what you’ve already done. It’s too late to change how your day started, but it’s Never too late to finish strong.  

part II coming soon

“Never believe that evil little person that says in your ear, ‘I’ll start my diet tomorrow.’ When you hear that voice come in your head, believe me, that person’s out to kill you.” — Super Size vs Super Skinny – Season 3, Episode 1