Life. It happens to the best of us. You’re having a pretty good (possibly downright spectacular!) day and then BLAM! (gotta love the onomatopoeia…) something, doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, a fight with your significant other or you stub your toe, smacks us in the face and attempts to throw us off course for the rest of the day.
What do you do? Personally, I like to just yell “Not today, Satan!” and run away screaming.
I kid. Mostly. I used to let little bumps in the road derail my entire day, and it wasn’t pretty. For anyone. Luckily I’ve learned some little self-care tricks that help immensely these days. They’re quick, easy, and only take a few minutes so I can knock one out and get back to my day pretty quickly.
Ready? Here we go!
#1 – Change Your Surroundings
If the weather’s nice (or if it’s not and you want to embrace your inner Eeyore) get out and go for a quick walk around your neighborhood, or even just leave the room and go hop on a treadmill or elliptical machine in a nearby fitness center, make a quick (hahaha!) Target run if you have time, you get the idea.
Or if you can’t do that, just change rooms for a few minutes. I get stuck back in my office all day and if something starts bothering me I’ll get up and leave the room for a short time. I might go sit out on my deck, or if the weather’s crappy I may just plop down in my comfy chair and watch a quick Marie Forleo video like this one. Marie’s insightful and entertaining videos always perk me up.
#2 – Breathe or Meditate
If you’re stressed out believe me — you’re NOT breathing correctly. Stop for a sec and observe your breathing. Then slowly take a deep breath through your nose, making sure to expand your belly on the inhale. Slowly exhale out your mouth, forcefully pushing all of the air out of your belly. Repeat a few times. How do you feel? Even if you weren’t particularly stressed while reading this, you probably feel at least a few degrees better than before (hopefully).
If you want to take it further, try this quick 4-7-8 breathing exercise, popularized by Dr. Andrew Weil. I do this before bed if I can’t sleep and it knocks me out cold, but it’s also great just for relaxation if you’re sitting in a chair.
Or one step further, throw yourself into a quick meditation. Here’s a great one by one of my mentors, Gabby Bernstein: Calm Down Fast: A Meditation to Prevent Freaking Out. It’s super quick but SUPER effective.
#3 – Yoga
I ❤ yoga. It’s an amazing way to get in touch with your body and figure out what’s going on, where you might have any restrictions, and how to work through them. I do at least half hour every morning and it leaves me feeling centered and ready to start my day.
Yoga Anytime (a monthly subscription service) is my go-to for yoga videos, but there are a ton of great free ones on YouTube, as well. Here are some great, shorter routines from Yoga By Adrienne to get you back on track:
- 10-Minute Yoga for Self-Care
- 7-Minute Yoga Boost
- 6-Minute Yoga Chill
- 18-Minute Yoga for When You’re Angry
#4 – Brain Dump
I know it may seem counterintuitive, but one of the best ways for me to quickly get out of my head and back on track is to grab a pen & paper, or open Word or TextEdit or Evernote, whatever, and write down EVERYTHING that’s currently on my mind.
Write down every task buzzing around in your head on your to do list, all annoyances, anything stuck in your head that’s been nagging at you, people who are driving you batty, whatever it is. Set a timer for 5, 10, 15 minutes and just free-write.
When you’re finished step away for a few minutes, grab a glass of water, come back, and do something with that list. Add any outstanding items to your to do list, rip the page out of your notebook & tear it into tiny pieces, or throw it in your shredder, or even burn it (carefully…); close the doc without saving it or, even more dramatically, save it under “shit that pisses me off” and then close it, delete it, and open your recycle bin and delete it there too. Just get rid of it permanently, one way or the other.
#5 – Dance Party
On the complete other side of the spectrum, maybe just dance it off! This probably wouldn’t work so well in an office (neither would burning, btw, so keep that in mind…) — or maybe it would if your office is in an Ally McBeal-type world, who knows? (Sidenote: if you do indeed work in such a world, PLEASE write to me and tell me — I so want to believe that that’s actually a thing.)
I work from home so this one is easy for me. If you’re in an office, maybe just throw your headphones on and wiggle around or move your feet under your desk.
Go to Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Pandora, iTunes, wherever, and find or better yet MAKE a playlist (or more than one!) that pumps you up every time you hear it and makes you want to get up and dance. I created a “Meg’s Playlist of Joy” playlist on Spotify and I listen to it when I need a good pick-me-up. It’s super random and full of songs that make me smile and want to dance.
I highly recommend making your own playlist because that alone will put you in a good mood, sifting back through your old or new faves, playing snippets (or the whole song) and truly curating the list yourself. I had a lot of fun creating my playlist, and it puts me in a good mood just thinking about the playlist, it’s so dang good.
What’s also awesome is that I have an Amazon Echo device in my office, another one in my kitchen, and one in my bedroom. I have them networked so that I can play the playlist across my house and hear it wherever my dancing takes me.
Alrighty, that’s my list! Hopefully you don’t need to refer back very often, but please bookmark for those moments when you feel your day taking a turn or you’re in a full-on downward spiral. And if one doesn’t work, try two! Or heck, all 5.
Which one(s) appeal to you most, or what other suggestions do you have? I’d love to hear from you, so please drop a comment below so that we can continue the conversation!