There are many moments throughout almost every day of my life where I start to feel either stressed or frustrated or exhausted or some other kind of negative emotion. I know how easy it is to let those feelings start to spiral out of control and become overwhelming, and I know how much I hate when that happens. I'm a big, big advocate of self-care, of paying attention to what your intuition (or your heart, or your soul, or whatever you want to call it) is whispering to you as you go about your days.
These are the things that bring me back again, the things that restore a sense of calm, the things that remind me of what is good, of what is true, of what truly matters when things start to feel out of control.
Here are some of my tried-and-true tips to feel centered again:
- Make a hot cup of something yummy in your favorite mug. Add something sweet to it, because the calories don't matter on a bad day. You are cherished.
- Write out a Bible verse in your journal with your favorite pen. Maybe a fun colored pen even if you always write in black, because colors can bring cheer, and the Word brings peace. You are beloved.
- Drink a big glass of really cold water in one sitting. Let it bring you refreshment. You are breathing, you are living.
- Go through all of the crazy filters on Snapchat and laugh at how ridiculous your face looks with no nose or dog ears or a big flower crown. Bonus points if you send the selfie to a friend! You are beautiful and wonderful and goofy too.
- Go outside. Anywhere outside will do. Stand still, close your eyes for a second, and take a few really deep breaths. You're alive. It's a new day. Breathe.
- Move your body. Even if you're stuck in the office in the middle of a work day, get up and walk to the water fountain or the break room or the bathroom, and stretch your legs. Stretch your arms and neck at your desk. Do a few quick calf raises. You are strong.
- Read a chapter of a book that takes you to another place. It might be fiction (doesn't matter how cheesy or bad) or it might be a travel book or a memoir. Whatever it is, let yourself be swept away. You're not alone in your story.
- Plant something in dirt. Get your hands messy, even if it feels weird to have soil under your fingernails. Dig deep so the roots have room to spread out and grow, and think about your own roots. It's encouraging to be part of cultivating new life, isn't it? You are growing, you are alive, you are rooted, you can thrive.
- Do yoga. Even if you aren't flexible. Even if you've never done a single downward dog in your life. Download the app Sworkit (my favorite) and set your time (30 minutes or more is my recommendation) and follow along as they show you the moves. Breathe. Breathe in and breathe out and feel your body stretch as you try new things. You are powerful and you are capable.
- Write a list of all the things you are grateful for right now. They can be little and silly, they can be big, they can be poetic, they can be tangible, they can be anything. Write them down. Realize how much you truly have to be thankful for right now. You are living a beautiful life that is only yours.
- Laugh out loud. You might laugh at puns (like me) or a video of a cute baby or a Buzzfeed video or a joke from a friend... it doesn't matter what cracks you up, just laugh. See? Things aren't so bad. Laugh until you believe that, even if only a little bit. You are light, you are free.
- Call a friend. It's easy to get into your own head and let your thoughts run absolutely wild, and talking to a trusted person is so helpful in remembering what is real. Vent if you need to, cry if the tears well up, laugh together, or just talk about the weather for a few minutes. You have allies in this life, lean on them.
- Snap a picture of something beautiful. I don't know what it is about looking through a lens (even if it's just your iPhone), but you start to see the world differently. It might just be a vine creeping up a crumbly brick wall, or it might be a big white cloud in the sky, or it might be your feet. Capture whatever strikes you. Capture a moment in time. Even if the rest of life feels ugly, let this be a reminder of beauty. You are an artist, and only you can see the world through your eyes, so keep them open to truly see.
- Rub on some essential oils. I've become quite an advocate for oils and their benefits. I didn't go through one of the big brands, but have started acquiring my own oils and making blends for roller bottles and my diffuser, and I love them. I've made blends for headache relief, for energizing, for stress relief, etc. Taking a few moments to roll that little bottle on my forehead and wrists as I inhale deep reminds me to just slow down. You are strong, but you cannot do it all, so remember to relax a bit more.
- Pray. This one is somehow easy to forget, but it can change everything. It doesn't have to be elaborate or fancy. Start with "Hey God" and end with "Amen" and fill the middle in with whatever is on your heart. It helps if you close your eyes, if for no other reason than to shut the world out for a minute. You are beloved, you are heard, you are treasured, you are cherished, you are not alone, you are precious to the God of the universe.