Some days it feels like the only guarantee life provides is that it’s going to be messy and busy. During these times, you might daydream of traveling to Bali like Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love. Anything to stop the busy train and boost your mood.
In between your internet searches for “she-sheds” you’re hustling from one activity to another. And all that busy feels important. Somewhere along the way busy became synonymous with hard work and achievement.
Your overfilled days leads to stress, keeping the signals traveling between your brain and body, and your nervous system on high alert. Your head and heart need a chance to rest. And when the stress hits, your mood usually sinks too.
Busy is a false reality
Busy and hustle are filler. Boredom. Disconnect. An overstuffed day leaves no time for you to be present in the moment because you’re always thinking about the next thing to do.
Sitting quietly enjoying a cup of coffee is a luxury instead of a much needed respite. Even the weekends–that were originally created for individuals to rest and have time for religion–have fallen victim to the “busy” syndrome. Families rush from one event to another until everyone collapses exhausted in bed Sunday night.
If the care and feeding of the
wild animals kids falls squarely on your shoulders, you need something quick. Maybe something you can do in the locked bathroom or behind the clothes in your closet…cause…the wild animals will hunt you down otherwise.
#1-7 Ways to Boost Your Mood
The following are simple practices that bring you more into the present moment. In any mindfulness practice, consistency is more important than how long you to do it or what method you choose for stress relief.
I pulled together a list of activities you can do right now, in only a few minutes, with little to no cost.
1. Read a book (a FUN book, not work related)
2. Read a magazine (I love People magazine)
3. Sit on your patio
If I can’t make it to the patio, I hide myself in the closet with the lights out and just sit. I listen to my breath and enjoy the silence (Yes, I love silence). If my mind is really active, I might repeat an affirmation (or mantra) or count my breaths.
Sometimes finding ten minutes of peace and quiet happens at ten-thirty at night when everyone in the house is asleep. For early birds, this can mean waking before everyone else does.
4. Get a coffee and sit at the coffee shop
5. Go to a book store
6. Take a nap
7. Take a walk (or take your dog for a walk)
I’m not sharing rocket science tips here. There’s no big mysteries to walking. However I have one suggestion. Go without “stuff.” Like your phone, playlist, the dog, the kids. Those, unfortunately, are all distractions.
This also isn’t a pump your arms, push the baby stroller, work-out kind of walk. This is a leisurely stroll.
As you’re walking, connect with your breath and find a rhythm between your steps and your breath. Then take notice of what you haven’t before. I like to make it a game. How many new or different things can I find this time?
Download one of the two mandala coloring sheets and color your stress away.
#8-22 Ways to Boost Your Mood
8. Get a massage (or manicure or pedicure)
9. Go to the park
10. Take a bath
11. Take a social media sabbatical
12. Go to a dog park
13. Take your dog to a dog park
Somewhere along the path to “maturity” we lose our abilities to play and have fun. Responsibilities outweigh running around in the sprinklers. When in the world did we wake up with sticks up our butts?
Women don’t get in the pool with their kids because they feel fat in their bathing suits. Men work, work, work and when they come home are too exhausted for a romp around the room with the kiddos. (Or maybe men feel fat in their swim trunks and women work too much.)
Stress releases hormones jack you up, and not in a good way. Laughter releases endorphins that mellow you out, totally in a good way.
14. Sit by a fountain
15. Go to the library
16. Go to the movies
18. Listen to relaxing music
19. Do something creative (crafts, write, sew, knit)
20. Fun movement like dancing, hula-hooping
21. Get closer to nature. (A walk or hike, sitting on a park bench)
22. Go on a vacation or stay-cation
My family just recently returned from a week-long vacation. Hubby was all about the go-go-go, what can we do next? And I participated in most of those outings. But I also found time for my two favorite ways of BEING–sitting on the balcony overlooking the ocean and reading.
The condo we stayed in also had very inconsistent internet, and in hind-sight I’m grateful for that. It meant I had to close my computer and do something else. So I spent time with my family without wondering about email or Facebook.
#23-26 Ways to Boost Your Mood
23. Have a girl’s night out (or in)
24. Watch a Friends or Big Bang Theory marathon (laughing decreases stress)
25. Do some stretching yoga at home (not the hot-vin-hell kind)
Stress likes to hang out in your muscles and stretching is a great way to break up the party. We all need to trust our bodies more, believe it when it’s telling you what it needs.
And yes, you don’t need an hour for it to be beneficial. Ten minutes here and there really will make a difference.
26. Do something you enjoy (if it wasn’t already listed)
Reading is my number one way to re-charge. In what could only be a prophetic moment, last week I bought a new book from Target. However, it’s sat on my nightstand until 10:00 last night when I desperately needed to escape. It helps my mind let go of the worries, and gives the hamster a break from her wheel.
What do you enjoy doing? Knitting, crossword puzzles, painting, journaling. . .pick your favorite and disappear into it for ten minutes. Even if you have to lock yourself in the bathroom to do it.
Your family will thank you for it.
Ok, probably not, but your sanity will.