Do Mondays matter as much when you are working from home? Does ANY day matter so much when all the days seem to flow so quickly into each other? I would say YES. Everyone experiences life as themselves no matter what platitudes being spouted by me or anyone else. Put simply: under stress, you are going to do what feels good and right until you don't feel good and right any more. So what attitudes and habits do you find yourself holding on to right now? Are they serving you well? Do they bring joy as well as comfort to your life? While you're ruminating on that here are 3 things that can make you feel better in 10 minutes.
1. Write a letter
Screen time is a given these days be it for communication or for simple entertainment. Still, how nice is it to get a card from someone you care about? Really nice. So how about setting pen to paper and showing the people closest to your heart how you feel about them. Who knows, it might kick off a pleasant chain reaction.
2. Prayer or meditation
You don't have to be a religious zealot to appreciate the power of prayer and meditation. Research shows that even just a few minutes of either has a positive impact on your mental health.
"Prayer and meditation are highly effective in lowering our reactivity to traumatic and negative events," says Dr. Paul Hokemeyer. If you are already sitting or laying down why not take some time to go inward and channel some good energy into the universe, for yourself and others?
3. Exercise for 10 minutes
There is a misconception that only exercise that lasts for 30 consecutive minutes or more counts. True, there are CDC recommendations for exercise that should be followed but even just 10 minutes of planned movement (outside of your regular activity) can have a significant effect on health. This is especially useful because there will be days when our regular, longer intentions for fitness aren't an option. Sometimes 10 minutes once or a few times a day is all we can do but you know what? it is better than ZERO minutes. Choose an exercise like biking, brisk walking, 10 minutes of sprint intervals or a quick strength or HIIT class to get your heart pumping.
4. Stick with a routine
Okay, so this one might take longer than 10 minutes to figure out if you're not already in a daily pattern. In times of chaos having our own routines can set order where we need it most: mentally. Here are some steps to help you break it down further:
Think about how you start your morning: does if often feel like that alarm comes too soon? Then:
Get thee to bed even just a half an hour earlier. Your brain needs at least five 90 minute cycles of deep sleep to function well.
Put the device down and replace it with that book you've wanted to read or even some meditative music.
Pay attention to the caffeine, wine, and sugar (and NEWS) you've consumed throughout the day as that might be affecting your sleep.
Meditate before you leave the bed or once you arrive to it.
Put more vigorous exercise at the start of your day and in the morning or midday so you don't interrupt your sleep cycle. Yoga and stretching can actually help you sleep better and might be a better exercise choice if you are an insomniac who can only workout in the evening.
Think about where you are energetically by midday: do you often feel sluggish and irritable? then:
Ask yourself if you've had enough water yet today?
Have you moved purposefully yet today?
Did you start the day with a healthy breakfast and/or lunch?
Are you forgiving yourself for not being the perfect person by midday?
Think about how you feel at night: are you sometimes anxious or depressed? Then:
Are there things you need to ask for help with from your family?
Are you overestimating what you can actually get done then failing at it?
Are you consuming too much of anything that is making you feel imbalanced?
What can you let go of right now that doesn't serve you well?
Setting a calming routine for this part of your day is just as important as taking care of your responsibilities. Answer that email or text tomorrow. Light a relaxing candle. Change into something you only wear at bedtime. Inhale....exhale....this too shall pass.
It's human to feel out of whack and unsettled during difficult times even when they aren't affecting us directly. It's also human to sometimes need immediate gratification to help us feel better. Sure we can reach for the sugar and wine, no judgment here, but those habits can negatively impact us over time. So set a routine that makes you feel good, including some sweaty exercise in that routine and then reach for a pen to write a friend tonight.