5 Activities to Feel Better Instantly
My to-do list and scheduled blog posts have been in constant reorganization for the past few … months. Scheduled next was an introduction to my new website—which you’re on, now—and somewhere in the mix is another on Planning vs Living.
Well, those have waited this long, might as well let them be, because today I have for you a list of the top 5 things I like to do to instantly help myself feel better. Oh, because that to-do list on the back burner was due to the funky feeling of planning and planning—and over-scheduling—and not letting myself live!
These aren’t in any particular order. They’re just things I enjoy doing overall and when I have a need to bump my joy-meter up a few notches. How I decide which to do first? Whatever feels best in the moment. Hope these help you feel just a slightly bit better than when you’re in a funk yourself.
5 Activities to Feel Better Instantly
1 – Meditate in A Comfortable Position
I’ve been learning to meditate for the past few years. And I say ‘learn’ because I know I don’t ‘do’ it as I’ve heard you ‘have’ to. But when I sit—or lay—in my most comfortable position listening to sounds of nature, I am able to let go of the heaviness of the moment and return to a state of lightness.
The simplest form of meditation I’ve found useful is to sit in a comfortable position (no need to cross your legs) preferably in a space where you’re alone or are able to have a moment of quietness. Play a soothing sound on your phone (if playing a soothing soundtrack is not an option, focus on the natural sounds around you if these are calming), and breathe deeply in, then releasing your breath out. Do this for a minimum of what feels like 2 minutes (setting a subtle timer will help) or up to 15 minutes. You’ll notice once you focus on your breath everything else around you and in your head will dissipate.
The key here is to feel as comfortable as possible. Don’t force yourself into strange positions, or to sit for longer than you can focus on your breath. Start with a few minutes, then move on to more time as you feel called to. With practice, you’ll want to stay there for as long as you can, and when you notice a subtle swaying of your body, you’ll know you’re in a good space.
2 – Take a Walk
I first started walking to lose weight (rolling my eyes!). Then I kept it up as part of a morning ritual. I enjoyed early morning walks so much that I even kept up with the routine on weekends, after telling myself I’d allow myself some rest. Although I started walking with a purpose about 4 ½ years ago, there have been periods of non-walking throughout, too. It came to a point, though, that I yearned for the feeling of vitality and the fresh early morning breeze this activity allowed me. I noticed that although I may not have been in a bad mood to begin with, after returning home from a short 20-minute walk helped me feel even better than when I started. Now it’s my go-to activity in the mornings to get the endorphins going and also to meditate in action. I enjoy just strolling through my neighborhood in the early quiet hours of the day before everyone wakes up and the traffic starts to rumble. It’s my perfect way to get the day started on the best foot.
Find a time of day that works best for you to take a walk. It may be early morning before heading to work, or in the evening after dinner as a way to calm the day down. To keep it easy, walk right outside your door, where you don’t have to drive to get there, but if you have the perfect park in mind—like my Balboa Park—then that’s fine, too. Keep the pace at a stroll. There is no need to rush from point to point; it’s not a race. The intention here is to walk away the angst and focus on the present moment, because a feeling of frustration is often fueled by thinking about the future.
3 – Journal in Your Favorite Spot
Journaling may seem like something only teenagers do, right? But it’s not! I’ve been journaling for the past 4 years, and although I may not be consistent (doing it every day) I turn to it when I have a strong emotion to let out—be it positive or negative. With over 10 journals filled already, and with entries ranging from deep anger and frustration to complete gratitude and appreciation, journaling has allowed me to let go of the mental clutter and lead a more peaceful life.
It doesn’t always have to be deep and poetic. Find a notebook that you can take with you wherever you go and always keep a pen handy. When you are called to, find a quiet place to sit and just start writing. The intention here is not to over think the words you write. Let yourself go with the flow of whatever comes out, without judgement or planning. Remember, this is only for you, nobody else has to read it. Over time you’ll notice you will want to keep going and going, and the feeling of letting everything flow onto the page is like meditation.
4 – Watch Your Favorite Show
When the to-do list gets too long and the inspiration to work on any given project is not there, I give myself some time to watch one of many shows I’ve saved on HULU. Sometimes it’s not about binge-watching whatever new show Netflix is streaming, it’s just about taking some non-thinking time and enjoying an episode of a fun show.
No instructions necessary here. Whenever you need to de-stress and none of the above options are helping, just choose your favorite show and sit for a moment to enjoy it. It’s best if you just let yourself focus on the show, without any other distractions such as phones or tablets. Giving yourself this dedicated time to do something we so often feel shame over—thinking it’s a waste of time—is a great way to be in the moment and feel better.
5 – Take a Nap
Napping is my all-time favorite activity (YES, activity!) to turn to when all else fails. There are those times when the frustration is so strong that my concentration levels won’t allow me to dedicate any mental capacity to anything but sleep. I’ve found this to be the most soothing of all my feel-better tips, even falling asleep as I dive deep into meditation. It allows me to reset and refresh, waking up lighter and ready to work on the project at hand.
I must admit, some of my nap times have lingered on to full-on sleeping for a few hours, but I tag it to my body and mind needing that deep rest. My husband has taken breaks and lunch hours to nap in his car during his work day, so you, too, can nap where ever you feel safe and comfortable doing it. Make sure to set a subtle alarm if you need to get back to work, but I’ve found that setting a simple intention of napping just for 20-30 minutes helps me wake up just at the right time.
I know many—all—of these may seem trite and un-original, but the thing here is not to be original. These activities seem like they're blog-theme-of-the-day ideas, but it's only because they work. Whatever values you base your life on, know that doing anything for the simple pleasure of feeling instantly better (all while not causing personal harm to yourself or others) is always ok.
What are your go-to feel-better activities? Please, share in the comments below.
With much love and gratitude,