A repost from The Everyday Girl: 20 Easy Things You Can Do to Improve Your Life.
Read the FULL post on the link – I like to highlight MY favorites here (as you can see by the numbering. 🙂
Ever have one of those days? You know the kind I’m talking about: when you barely have time to grab your morning coffee, when your one-minute personal check-in is on the walk to your next meeting, when you come home from work at 7 p.m. feeling like you made time in your day for everyone—except yourself.
There’s no denying it: Stress will always be a part of our day-to-day lives, but it can take a toll on our long-term health. So, instead of tearing through best-selling self-help books or creating lofty goals on how to make this upcoming fall your best (and most stress-free) yet, here are some manageable ways to refocus and recalibrate so you can feel better about today, tomorrow, and the days to come.
1. Do five-minute phone calls with friends and loved ones.
Unless you have an hour-long commute after work, setting aside a block of time to catch up with friends and family can be tricky. Instead, opt for a quick five-minute call to say hi, ask what’s going on, or wish them luck for an important project or event. A few minutes of casual conversation with someone you care about lifts your spirits without sucking up your time. Personally when I get to hear a friends voice (instead of just texts), it does LIFT ME UP.
3. Only complain when you can offer a solution to the problem.
We all need our vent sessions, but complaining for complaining’s sake is actually counter-productive: you’re feeding your thoughts with negative attention, instead of looking for a solution. Is your internet connection too slow? Make a quick phone call to your provider to get it sorted out. Is traffic on the way to work terrible? Leave earlier or take a different route. Most problems can be easily remedied. If you can’t find a solution, then the situation is likely out of your control and complaining won’t do anything to fix the problem. I’m guilty of this (I definitely was at my previous work too – (Debbie Downer – Whiner). To be honest too, Michael says this is the one ‘goal’ he tells his colleagues (as their CEO) also.
4. Look people in the eye when you speak.
Maintaining eye contact is easy when you’re listening, but try doing it when you speak as well. Direct eye contact builds confidence and fosters a connection between two people in conversation. It also makes you appear more trustworthy, self-aware, and self-assured. This I found ‘amusing’ because I’ve noticed that younger people are actually ‘paranoid/annoyed’ when you do look them in the eye – almost as though its intimidating? But engaging them in the eye DOES make me feel that you do listen more. Thoughts?
6. Try a new activity.
Sometimes you feel most energized when you test the limits of your comfort zone. Maybe you’ve wanted to visit the cool coffee shop down the street, learn to play guitar, plan a trip out of the country, or try Zumba for the first time—whatever piques your interest, go for it. Experiencing new things leads to increased productivity, renewed creativity, newfound perspectives, fun memories, and—at the very least—an interesting story. I would even consider a new activity like exploring/road-tripping (not just the planning of a trip) – the actual activity of getting out and finding new places.
7. Practice self-kindness.
Observe your habits, behaviors, and thought processes—are you gentle with yourself? If not, try to pinpoint why and when this occurs, then do your best to actively offer yourself compassion and grace. It could be as simple as taking the time to pay yourself a compliment when you wake up in the morning (try a positive sticky-note on the mirror in your bedroom), or saying “no” to happy hour plans with friends so you can unwind with a book and glass of wine on your couch. Or maybe it means writing down one thing you did each day that made you feel proud, whether it was as big as tackling a new project at work or as small as finally remembering to floss. Guilty – I’m my own worse critic. YOU??
8. Break a sweat every day.
However you want to do it — running, walking to work, playing basketball, gym training, furniture rearranging, sex—make sure you get in a sweat every single day. Staying active has infinite physical benefits, and beyond those, it spikes endorphins, making you feel happier post-sweat session. NO, it doesn’t count if your just having hot flashes. teehee
10. Keep a gratitude journal.
The best way to pull yourself out of a funk is to actively focus on the good in your life. If you have a few minutes on the train in the a.m., pull out a notebook or the Notes app on your phone and jot down three things you’re grateful for, big or small. It doesn’t have to be extensive: a bullet-point list will do. Taking the time to thoughtfully consider what you’re thankful for puts your life in perspective—and allows you to focus on what you’re lucky to have, instead of what you don’t have. I LOVE this idea. Ironically Monette and I bought these cute journals (Knock Knock Okay Fine, I’m Grateful) – which I’ve yet to use but LOVE the quotes. Highly recommend!
19. Give praise freely.
The old adage that doling out compliments only gives people an inflated sense of self-worth is ridiculous. Human beings need positive reinforcement and words of affirmation to feel connected and cared about. We need to feel appreciated, valued, and respected.
Be generous with your compliments and praise. If you like your co-worker’s outfit, tell her. If you find yourself admiring your brother’s sense of humor, let him know. Sharing your kind thoughts is the easiest, quickest way to positively impact someone’s day. I personally like even giving compliments randomly, like if I see someone wearing a great outfit – I’ll compliment them. I love that it does make them smile!
20. Make more time for the things you love.
Make time and space in your life for activities you enjoy. Give yourself permission to pursue your interests and cultivate your passions without guilt or fear.
It could be as simple as spending thirty minutes every Saturday morning reading the paper at your favorite cafe, or as time-intensive as setting aside an entire afternoon to work on your latest fiction novel. Maybe it means hosting a monthly dinner party with friends, taking a language course, or spending more time at the park with your pup.
Carving out time to experience the things you love doesn’t just bring you more joy, it also gives you more purpose and a greater sense of fulfillment. Plus, doing things that bring value and meaning to your life makes it easier to deal with whatever setbacks and difficulties come your way.
What small changes have you made to improve your day-to-day life?