Having a bit of a meh day? If you’re in a slump, and feel like you might not have the time or energy to climb out, let’s tweak that perspective just a little bit.
Here are 10 Tiny Actions that you can take to get yourself into a different place. These are ideas that take very little time, and minimal energy to get going.
My favorite! If I didn’t believe so wholeheartedly in the power of having gratitude in your life, I might feel bad about how frequently I suggest it. But I do believe in it, and I don’t even feel a little bad about it.
Take a couple minutes to consider what things you’re grateful for. These don’t have to be elaborate, they don’t have to include grand exclamations of love, or feelings about people. Write down three of these things in a notebook or on a napkin, whatever you’ve got. It can be as simple as, “I saw those 45 seconds of sunshine that happened today,” or “I’m grateful that I had breakfast,” or even “Today I’m grateful that I didn’t have to put on real pants.” Easy.
Exchange 10 minutes of distraction or numbing for 10 minutes of connection.
If 10 minutes seems like too much to commit to, try 5. The point being that instead of those 5 minutes of video games, you spend 5 minutes talking to a friend, or family member. Spend 5 minutes being present in your life with another being. If that being is your cat? Still on board. They’d love 5 minutes of you!
It is truly that simple. If you want to take a walk, or go sit at a park, great! But if what you do is open your front door, and stand on the other side of it for a minute, that’s good too. Feel the air on your face, the cold, or the sun. Breathe different air than what’s inside.
Take a shower.
Already had one today? Well, that’s good. But how about a few minutes of warm water on your tense shoulders? An act of self-care beyond the perfunctory hair-face-bod routine. Gift yourself the comfort of warming up or cooling down (as is your preference), and you’ve already washed behind your ears, so here’s to hot water and relaxed joints.
Drink a glass of water.
A whole one. A whole glass of water, in which all you’re focused on is drinking that water. Unfamiliar with water? See also: 4. Take a shower, and this article explaining the substance, and this one discussing it’s use as a consumable. (Pro Tip: Hydration helps to improve mood!)
Oh honey, for real. Maybe this one is my favorite too (I make the rules around here!) Some of my favorite ways to get laughing include stand-up video clips on YouTube (John Mulaney and Trevor Noah get my votes this week), looking up a good long list of autocorrect flubs (be prepared for bad language, laughing without breathing, and a solid chance of accidentally wetting your pants), and looking up Buzzfeed and Mashable lists of the funniest tweets on any given week. I can’t get through one Damn You Autocorrect list without impossibly breathless laughter. Ever.
There’s a theme here! According to NBC News and 10 million plus Google search results, the act of smiling can convince your brain that it feels happier. Doing so, even if you don’t feel like it, releases dopamine and serotonin, increasing feelings of happiness and reducing stress. Don’t confuse this with the irritating suggestion of “Hey, just cheer up.” Smile first, and give your brain the chance to catch up.
Take a breather.
Giving yourself one or two minutes to focus on your breathing, the sensation of your lungs filling and releasing air, the way it feels to inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth- can give your weary mind a few moment’s pause. Try an app on your phone, or even just set a short timer. The point here is to just take a minute, and slow your roll.
Play in the dirt!
While there are some studies that suggest that there is bacterium in soil that can relieve symptoms of depression similar to the way that SSRIs work, the act of gardening has long been touted for it’s benefits on mental and physical health. It can be as simple as planting a seed in a cup, or as elaborate as planning a garden. So go ahead. Get your hands dirty!
Write it out.
Get out that notepad or napkin again, and spend a few minutes putting your thoughts into words. Expressing emotions and thoughts can be such a relief when your mind runs a mile a minute, or if there’s just too much bouncing around in there. If you’re more of a fan of typing it out, that’s cool too! Try 750words.com for an easy and private place to drop off some of your stream of consciousness. It’s a great way to clear your mind, especially if you’re about to begin your day or put it all away before going to sleep. I try to use that site daily, myself.
These are just a few examples of countless ways to give yourself a little reboot. Sometimes all you need to do is turn it off, and then turn it back on again.
What do you do to improve a meh mood? Tell me in the comments!