We all need a quick pick-me-up every now and then when life feels a little arduous, boring, stressful, or even just a bit Groundhog day-ish (we’re looking at you, Lockdowns!). Below are some tips to potentially give you a lift both physically and emotionally through implementing cheap, healthy, easy, and quick daily practices into your life. None of this is rocket science, or a silver bullet to long periods of stress or unhappiness (please see the end of the article for places to seek help), but implementing one or two of these practices could just give you a quick boost in times of need. Sometimes it’s the simple things that can work wonders! Life isn’t merry 100% of the time, but these 10 tips may help you feel 10x better in the moment!
Sun-Salutations in the Sun
You don’t even need to grab a mat, just grab a moment, head outside (if possible), and do a few rounds of sun salutations. Sun salutations are a great way to stretch and energise the body. They help to boost blood circulation, and so are a great break from sitting over a computer or the like. You don’t have to have the time to do a full yoga practice, just a few sun salutations can help you revitalise, and they are believed to help move energy blockages in your body.
Tune in to Tune Out
It’s easy to get into our own heads…and when we spend too much time going over and over thoughts…we can stand in our own way! Time to crank up the music to tune out mental chatter and tune into uplifting beats! You could make a playlist of your fave songs to throw on when you need a feel-good moment/hour/evening. If you’re not sure where to start…the positivity-fueled power ballads from the ’80s can be a good place to turn to!
Plan Something Fun
Research suggests that people who are able to balance living in the here and now with planning for the future are more resistant to negative moods and resilient in the face of stress. The study looked at two different ways of managing stress: mindfulness and proactive coping. Mindfulness involves living in the moment, while proactive coping involves planning for things as a way to minimize future stress. Making plans for the future is thought to be helpful for managing daily stress, but it is considered best used when coupled with living in the present. Plan an outing, plan a catch-up with friends, plan a party, plan a holiday…and get excited!
Do Something Kind
Doing something kind for someone else, inevitably, gives us a boost ourselves…often referred to as “the warm fuzzies.” It just feels good to be kind to someone else, right?! Kindness can be to a stranger or group of strangers from the comfort of your own home by way of donating to an online charity. Perhaps it is baking a batch of cookies, wrapping a few apiece, and dropping them on friends’ doorsteps. Maybe it is volunteering your time. It could be as simple as a solitary act of kindness, such as picking up rubbish on your next beach walk. Perhaps it is just writing an email, letter, or text to someone to tell them how amazing they are, just because. It doesn’t have to be someone’s birthday ….love-bomb those in your lives just because, and you’re sure to feel the love while you’re at it. Doing something that helps others (even if it’s something small), can help keep our perspective from becoming too self-centered.
Meet/Call a Joyous Friend
We’ve all got those friends that we love and we’re there for, but they often love a good moan, gossip, or whine. While we can be all ears…sometimes, it’s important to actively choose to spend time with or chat with a friend who sees the bright side, and in turn, fills us up! When you’re feeling a little low, consider turning your attention to those who help bring you up. It’s basic behavioral science…we copy or at least absorb the energy and behaviors of those around us!
Watch a Comedy
It’s an oldie, but a goodie…laughter is the best medicine! With so much on offer to watch online, it’s easy to get sucked into a certain genre. There are only so many “whodunnit” type shows you can watch before they start to zap your energy or outlook. While dramas can be a great escape when you’re feeling a bit “blah”, try actively seeking out shows that make you laugh. Re-runs of classic comedies from your past are always a great place to start.
Control Your Breathing
Check-in with your body to do some deep, mindful breathing. It can instantaneously help to reduce stress and increase oxygen to your blood. Simply stop what you’re doing for just a few minutes, take a deep breath through your nose, hold it briefly, and then exhale deeply through your mouth. Repeat for as long as you have available to you to consciously focus on your breath!
Connect with Nature
Make a point of connecting with nature daily. It could be just standing barefoot on your front lawn every day, or perhaps combining a few of these other tips at the same time (mindful breathing, sun salutations). If you can, go for a walk in nature. Again, maybe combine other tips such as listening to upbeat music, or just enjoy tuning into the calming sounds of nature.
It may seem like a bit much initial effort, but you will be rewarded by the comforting smell of baked goodness wafting through the house. And when they’re done, you can reward yourself with home-baked deliciousness. Life is just better with freshly baked goods.
Practice Mindful Eating
When we’re busy, stressed, or rushed, we often eat our food in a hurry. On the go, while multi-tasking or mindlessly scrolling our phone. It’s a good idea to be mindful of our eating habits, and try to implement mindful eating practices. This means taking the time and space to truly appreciate our food, consuming it at a slower pace, and truly enjoying it in the process. Tune in to the textures, tastes and feelings as we eat. Chewing our food properly (rather than gulping it down which many of us are guilty of!) is so much better for our digestive systems, giving our body the best chance for optimal digestion, and consequently, optimal energy!
I hope some of the above tricks help you feel happier, more energized, or more optimistic in times of need. Below are some places to seek help should you feel you need some professional advice to help with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues.
Depression helpline – 0800 111 757.Lifeline – 0800 543 354
Healthline – 0800 611 116.
Youthline – 0800 376 633
What’s Up – 0800 942 8787, (for 5–18 year olds)