I am no master at life. Today I wore the same shirt to work I did yesterday, I paid my car insurance late this month and I don’t do laundry with the regularity I should. I have good days and bad days like anyone else. What I have noticed, and for whatever it’s worth, is that these good and bad days are less defined by big events, and more by small things that elevate my mood and make my day better my just a little bit. And now I will list them for you.
1. Sit Up in Bed as Soon as You Hear Your Alarm
I am not a morning person. I’m not proud of it, but in the mornings I am downright mean. I have said my most awful things to my partner, my parents, my roommates, first thing in the morning. The hardest part is the waking up. I have to set at least three alarms because I consistently turn them off and roll over. The only solution I’ve found that works is sitting up. The second I hear my alarm, no matter how disoriented I am, before I have time to even make sense of what’s happening, I sit straight up. I’m sure there’s a scientific reason, blood flow, position change, I don’t know, but even if I’m still tired, it immediately wakes me up.
2. Chew Your Food Well
This sounds silly. I know. But I always forget to chew my food. Well, not forget. But I half-ass it and usually end up choking or causing myself great discomfort. I’ve found when I focus on chewing I end up getting full faster, avoid upsetting my stomach and I enjoy my meal more.
3. Go Outside Every Day
This is a little cliche. But I find it crazy how connected my state of mind is to the amount of time I spend outdoors. If I’m sitting on a balcony for ten minutes, or even just driving with all my windows down, my mood instantly lifts and my head feels so much clearer.
4. Practice Gratitude
Being thankful is tremendously important and showing it is even more so. You like being appreciated and recognized right? So do it for other people! It feels great to watch someone’s face light up because of something you’ve said or done, and they feel great that you’ve noticed their contribution or hard work or whatever it is you’re thankful for.
5. Don’t Put Off Phone Calls
I’m guilty of this all the time. I know there’s someone I need to call, I know I’m going to have to sit on hold listening to low quality audio of a song from 2006 that is playing way too loud, so I put it off. I wait and I wait and then I start to get anxious because I know I should have made this call a week ago but I haven’t, so now it’s looming over me and has become a way bigger deal than it ever needed to be and is causing way more stress than it ever should have. Don’t. Put. Off. Phone calls. Especially because 9 times out of 10, even though they’re annoying, they’re not nearly as bad as I thought they were going to be.
Right now you’re thinking, “What? Bounce? What does that mean?”. Well my dear friend, let me tell you. I like to bounce. I have always loved trampolines (I literally worked at a trampoline park in high school) and have always found bouncing to be soothing. So I took that simple joy and now incorporate it into my work day. Instead of an office chair I sit on an exercise ball and no matter what I’m doing, talking on the phone, typing, writing, I bounce while I do it. It stops me from fidgeting and lets me get out that energy so that I feel comfortable focusing and don’t get distracted so easily.
7. Have Good Posture
This one’s pretty straight forward, like you should be. (Get it… sit straight and forward… posture… ha…) It’s similar to the bouncing and sitting up in the morning thing. Something about being all aligned and at attention allows you to stay awake, focused, and saves you from being sore from hunching.
8. Hug People
I mean, don’t get weird with it. But try and find someone who will let you hug them (and hopefully return the hug) once a day. It just makes you feel better.
Instead of going on your phone when you’re taking a breather at your desk, sketch a little. I don’t mean bring in a fancy pad of paper and your colouring pencils and commit to making a brilliant piece of art. I just mean relax and let your pen do it’s thing. It clears the mind and helps your brain loosen up a little.
Like I said, I’m no life wizard and there’s a lot more people with things like “science” and “research” to back up the things they do every day to keep themselves sane and healthy. And if you’re one of those people then I applaud you. But I find most of us have trouble committing to intense habits like doing yoga eight times a week and drinking Kayan pepper infused smoothies every morning, and that’s just as okay. We all have to do what works for us, and for me that includes a lot of things like implementing a strict “No Assholes” policy in my life, scheduling time in my day to sit down and think about big ideas, and you know, chewing my food.