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JK, folks. I just couldn’t resist trying to be like those ads online… okay, I thought it was funny…
Back to the topic.
I’m sure most everyone can relate to the days where we have SO. DAMN. MUCH. going on. We might have a long day at work, a huge conference or presentation that we are nervous about, exams and homework, and/or social gatherings that we “have to go to because__insert reason here___,” etc.
Here’s the thing. We all have days where we have one, two, or multiple things that…may not be ideal (to put it nicely), just like we have those days where we can’t sleep because we are so excited to see so-and-so or insert-activity-here. Life goes both ways.
The best advice I have received on how to deal with the crappy days is to practice mindfulness doing one activity that makes me jump-out-of-my-pants happy. Depending on the day, that “thing” may last for 5 minutes or it may last for a couple hours. In my experience, it is best to have a toolbox full of different activities.
Before we continue, I may have to define one word from that last paragraph…dun, dun, dun… MINDFULNESS!!! The more research I’ve consumed myself in about this subject, and the more I have learned to incorporate it into my life, the more I can’t stop running my mouth about its benefits and importance, especially on the tougher, more busy days. Mindfulness, simply put, is the practice of being in the present and focusing on the activity you are participating in right here, right now. Now, please, for the love of God, do not confuse mindfulness with meditation. They overlap in some ways but are also different…kind of like comparing a house cat to a tiger. An example of being mindful could be focusing on the blog you are currently reading, music you are listening to, conversation you are having with your friend, board game you are playing, or smoke detector beeping that goes off every 30 seconds because it has a low battery. It’s literally focusing on the thing you are doing rather than thinking about past experiences or future obligations. I’m going to leave the definition of mindfulness at this for now, but this is just the beginning… stay tuned for more in-depth posts on these two precious self-care techniques.
My “toolbox” of activities that have different time commitments are 1) enjoying my coffee in the morning, 2) planning my workouts for the week, 3) going to the gym, or 4) working on my blog. Depending on what I have going on that day, I allow myself to do at least one of these activities. One of my favorite, yet simple, times of the day is sitting in my big black fuzzy chair drinking my café. I’ll spend anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour sipping my coffee and relaxing depending on my schedule. Planning my workouts and blogging usually take longer (anywhere from 30 minutes to ~3 hours). Going to the gym can take me anywhere from 1.5-2.5 hours depending on my workout and who I see. All these activities bring me a sense of either tranquility, energy, happiness, excitement, inspiration, and/or motivation. It is 1000% possible to add at least one of these activities into even the busiest of days. It’s not a debate, it’s a fact. 5 minutes of self-care over Facebook scrolling or checking Snapchat stories can make a remarkable difference (I mean, who really cares about another comment or picture of the Midwestern snowfall…). Myself and about 100 teenagers at my job that told me it wouldn’t work, but then changed their mind after a couple days are living proof that it does.
My goal for the week is to do one thing each day that brings me pure joy, even if it is only possible for 5 minutes. It is one of the many ways that I can improve my mental health, happiness, and well-being.
Next time it’s a crazy day, STOP (in the name of love) and use a minute to take care of yourself.
Have a wonderful week,