Before I get into it, I just wanted to start by saying THANK YOU. Thank you for taking five (ish) minutes out of your day to read what I’ve put together!
Let’s face it, 2020 blurred into 2021, and we’re all coping with daily challenges in our own unique ways. Some people have it tougher than others, but it’s not a competition, so please know that your feelings are completely valid.
I’d like to preface what I’m about to say with this:
I’m not a professional (well, I AM a professional travel consultant, but I’m not a mental health professional), but I’ve been on this planet for more than half a century and I feel like I have some wisdom to share. Of course, if you’re struggling with depression and/or anxiety, PLEASE seek professional help (there are free resources, if you aren’t aware of them, contact me and I’ll point you in the right direction).
I’m typically a very positive and upbeat person, but I’m human too, and with that come some days when I just feel blah. I have zero to low motivation. My body feels heavy. My spirits are low. As an empath, I feel all the feels, and I feel ’em more than some other people might. If you have those days too, I’m hoping this will help you, at least a little!
All right, let’s jump right into it….five things you can do to feel better today:
1. Wake Up 30 Minutes Earlier
I know, I hear what you’re thinking, I like to stay under the covers as long as possible too, especially when I have my little dog snuggled up next to me. Tia is a Chihuahua mix, so she likes to burrow, and having her little body next to my leg always puts a smile on my face first thing in the morning.
With that said, I read somewhere, and I’m sorry, I can’t remember who said it first, but it’s really true: we all have the same 24 hours in a day….what you choose to DO with those 24 hours is crucial.
Don’t think of it as a punishment, getting out of bed earlier than normal, but rather as a gift, a gift to yourself. You’re GIVING yourself 30 minutes. What can you do in those 30 minutes that will impact your day? Well that will vary, depending on where in the world you are, what the weather’s like, what your living situation is like, what kind of mood you’re in, etc. But here are just a few suggestions:
Stretch. It doesn’t have to be formal yoga (though that’s great too!), but even if you take a biiiiiiig stretch, and FEEL your muscles waking up, you’ll feel a bit more energised once your feet hit the floor.
Meditate. I’m not one to do formal meditation, but I like to just lie in bed, tune out the sounds around me, and just BE. I find that in those moments, I do my most creative thinking.
Go for a walk. Recommendations state that we should all be getting at least an hour of physical activity per day, but it doesn’t have to be 60 minutes back-to-back, you can do 30 minutes in the morning and then 30 minutes, maybe, after dinner.
While you’re outside, NOTICE your surroundings. When I go out for a walk, it’s rare that I pass someone who isn’t looking down at their phone, but if you just notice the small things around you, you’ll remove yourself mentally from a fog you don’t even realise you have.
Make some chia pudding. In case you don’t know, chia seeds are very healthy for us!
Making chia pudding could not be simpler. I use a mini Mason jar because it has a lid and I like to shake my pudding as it’s being made. I add about a half cup of vanilla almond milk (you can use any kind of mild you like!), and then I add two tablespoons of white chia seeds….if you like a thicker pudding, then add three tablespoons. I like it just plain like this, but you can also add fresh berries (my favourites are blueberry and strawberry…but I also love it with banana).
I prefer the white chia seeds over the traditional black ones….the black ones aren’t really black, they’re more grey in colour, so when your pudding is done, you end up with what looks like cement. White chia seeds can be harder to find, depending on where you live, but I found them at Fiddle Heads and at Healthy Planet (price at Fiddleheads was double what it was at Healthy Planet). In case you’re interested, here’s the link for Healthy Planet: https://www.healthyplanetcanada.com/
Every few minutes I give the jar a shake, to make sure all the seeds are separated. After about a half hour, it’s ready, and soooo delicious!
Read something…but don’t check your social media feed(s) right away. Immerse yourself in a book (either the old fashioned way, ie, with an actual BOOK, or you can do e-book, or even audio-book)
2. Be Aware of the Negative
I know, life is hard, it’s unfair, people are irritating, bad stuff is happening all over the world. But if you focus on that, you will have a hard time in life. When I say “be aware of the negative”, I don’t just mean what’s in the news or on social media, I mean be cognisant of the words you say….how many times a day do you say something negative? If you have children, they’re like little sponges aren’t they? Your children will absorb your negative views. Do you want that?
It’s very easy to be critical, but we are all doing the best we can and the best we know how. Before you voice a negative comment, remind yourself that nobody is perfect (including you). Rather than criticising someone, maybe try and help them? None of us know everything about everything, but we all know something about something.
3. Do One Random Act of Kindness
You don’t have to make a grand gesture (of course, if you feel like it, by all means, go for it!), but most of us are capable of doing even something small for someone….or at least it may appear to be small to us, but to someone else, it could make all the difference.
Remember, back in the day, when we could travel freely, when you stay in a hotel, they give you a small amenities kit? It often contains a tooth brush, some tooth paste, a comb, etc. Well, as a travel professional, over the years, I’ve accumulated a good amount of those amenity kits….as well as hotel soaps, sanitisers, bath and shower gels and mini shampoo/conditioner bottles. They’re all small bottles, so no, it’s not going to change someone’s life, but it CAN change someone’s day, or week, or even month.
My colleague, when she’s stopped at an intersection and there’s a homeless person at the corner asking for help, she gives them an amenity kit (she keeps them in the console so they’re always handy). It costs you nothing, but it could make a big difference in that persons life.
OR, if it’s within your budget, you can get some of these basic essentials at the Dollar Store and make up your own small amenity kits to give away to those less fortunate that yourself.
Another thing you can do for someone else….specifically, your neighbour…..offer to rake their yard, or clear their sidewalk of snow (we are finally into spring weather here, but we had snow for so long that it’s still on my mind). My Mother is 74 and she still does this for her neighbours. She also bakes cookies and pastries for her neighbours, she takes a plate of them to her doctor’s office, her dentist’s office, to the “girls in the bank”.
One thing I’ll be doing on a regular basis is taking a garbage bag and a pair of gloves with me from now when I walk my dog. I live in a nice area, but still, there is garbage along the side of the road and along the trails we go on. I don’t want any wildlife ingesting something that should have been thrown in the trash bin. It’s not my garbage, but it is my planet.
4. Really Focus On Your Next Meal
Even if you can’t cook and you’re just having a bowl of cereal for breakfast, or a bowl of popcorn for dinner….heck, I’m having a bowl of store-bought ramen as I type this (my favourite brand is Mama….oh my goodness, SO delicious!….I believe they’re Thai…and yes, I know, have lots of sodium, but I’m not eating them every day….and I drink a lot of water afterwards too)….but whatever you’re eating, really NOTICE it. I like to add some delicate spring peas to my ramen, it gives it a nice fresh crunch.
Circling back to my comment about “if you can’t cook”….I believe you CAN cook….but maybe you don’t enjoy the process….or you were never taught how to cook….or you simply don’t have time (but trust me, making a home-made meal is healthier for you than store-bought or take-out). Coming up in a future post, I’ll try to help you with this.
5. Express Gratitude
I have an app on my phone, it’s called Presently (from the Google Playstore), which is free and super-easy to use. Every night at 9 pm it sends me a reminder, to make note of what I’m grateful for TODAY.
Did you know that you can re-wire your brain? It won’t happen over night, it might take two or three weeks, but you can do it.
“Significant studies over the years have established the fact that by practising gratitude we can handle stress better than others. By merely acknowledging and appreciating the little things in life, we can rewire the brain to deal with the present circumstances with more awareness and broader perception.” – Source: PositivePsychology.com
We all have something to be grateful for. It’s not the wealthiest or most successful people in the world who necessarily have the most to be grateful for….it’s just average people, like you and like me…..”every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day” – Alice Morse Earle
Thanks for giving me five minutes of your time today! I hope you found some value in this? Feel free to share your thoughts with me; I’m always grateful for learning new things, especially if they make my life a bit better, as I hope this does for you!