We can easily get swept by the day-to-day and prioritise our never-ending to-do list rather than ourselves. Sure, there are moments where we need to focus and get things done without too much distraction. These periods are very productive, but they shouldn’t be at the expense of our well-being. Here’s some of the things I thought I could start doing today, and you could too, to reset the balance even.
1 | Slow down
Today, commit to take a mindful break. Do something else and enjoy the moment without feeling like you are wasting your time. You are just slowing for your own sake. If you’ve been working non stop for days or weeks on that thing, for sure a break is not going to hurt. It can be a real lunch break (not at your desk), or going out for a coffee or a walk. Anything that will make your stress levels go down and will give you the sensation of using your own brake pedal.
2 | Set an intention for the day
Intentions are the best way to set a positive direction for the day. If you intend to slow down for instance, there are multiple ways you can do it. Take a moment now to think about how you want to feel when you go to bed tonight. Do you want to be calm, feel healthy, happy, fulfilled? Think about a feeling.
You have it?
Okay now finish the sentence: “Today I intend to (be/feel/appreciate/like/etc.)” then add the feeling or emotional well-being you thought about.
That’s it, you have your intention. Right now, mine is “Today I intend to feel healthy.“
3 | Learn something new
What can you learn before the end of the day that you didn’t know when you woke up? It can be about someone else, about yourself. It can be something in the newspaper, online, in a book or in a documentary. Discovering new things is a great joy, so go on and explore what you don’t know about. Tonight, before falling asleep, reflect on what you have learned during the day.
4 | Say no
Setting boundaries is protecting yourself. It’s about not allowing someone else’s expectations or needs impact ours if they are not complementary. It can what they expect, or the time frame they expect it within. Think about yourself, about your own expectations, and gently push back. Be clear and explain why you’re saying no. If needed, find a compromise with them and agree on the terms that work best for the two of you.
5 | Move your body
Even if your schedule is very tight, find ways to move more during the day. When I was working in an office, I used to schedule meetings in rooms that weren’t on my floor so I had to walk and take the stairs. I was too lazy to prepare my own lunch, so I had to go out most days to buy something to eat. I was also walking 15 minutes to the train station instead of taking the bus. I found that having that time walking allowed me to clear my head from all that was happening at work so I arrived at home ready to enjoy the evening.
6 | Take care of yourself
Today, book that appointment to the hairdresser or to the dentist you’ve been postponing forever. Self-love means taking care of the temple you live in. It can be the way you look or a health check. You’ve been waiting way too long to do it, so just do it now. You can also treat yourself to something nice: a great dinner, a good bottle of wine, a long bath, a gift to yourself. Anything that will make this day special.
7 | Smile
Just smile right now, even if it feels fake. The act of smiling actually triggers a reduction in stress-enhancing hormones and increases the production of mood-enhancing hormones. If you smile now, you will start feeling more positive. It’s a good coping mechanism when feeling stressed.
8 | Declutter your life
Bring on the Marie Kondo in you because hoarding is a plague to your well-being. When your home or desk are cluttered, it’s very hard to feel like you have space in your life. Throw, sell and give away things that you don’t need or use anymore, that don’t “spark joy” (check Marie Kondo for more on that). It doesn’t have to be big today, but start clearing up the space you live in and see every day. It will take repetition to start being a habit, but there is no better day than today to start.
9 | Do something for someone
Show that you care about someone by doing something for them. It is a guide of self-love, but we need to recognise that the good people we have in our life help us feel confident and worthy. So why not giving back to one of them today? Do something for a family member, for a friend, that will mean a lot to them. You will see that the way it makes them feel will reach you a lot more than you think.