The best things in life are free.
Life is busy. It can be tough finding time in your daily schedule when you have a job, family, and other responsibilities. However, as a society, we are Stressed, with a capital ‘S.’
8 out of 10 Americans cop to feeling stress frequently and more than half of Americans say they can’t take a lunch break.Something is seriouslywrong when we can’t find the time for a delicious, spicy chicken sandwich at Chick-fil-A.
This is why I need quick, simple, free ways to improve my mood and feel amazing. Feelings of happiness lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, while increasing the production of endorphins and serotonin, aka “the happiness hormone.”
Even a car designed to go 200 MPH has to stop for gas, and you, my friend, are no different.
There are many ways to achieve an instant mood lift, but these are my tried and true methods to crank up that happiness hormone and feel amazing.
Create a playlist.
As a kid, I loved a good playlist. I would sit down next to my stereo and patiently wait for Hot 97 to play my favorite songs so I could record them (yes, I’m that old). By the end of the week, I had a cassette full of my favorite jams.
If you don’t know where to start, think back to your days in high school. What song always made you smile? Choose that as your first song, and then let your music app guide you to your next find. There’s usually a “related artists” section somewhere below your selection and after a few taps and several trips down memory lane, you’ll have at least 10 songs!
Double the amazing if you break into a spontaneous dance break while listening.
In 2018, much of our writing is rapidly jotting down thoughts, ideas and emotions with our thumbs and a cell phone, but there’s something about the ritual of writingthat I love.
Journaling is one of the most effective ways for me to manage stressand I highly recommend that everyone add this to your morning routine. But two other suggestions can be just as powerful in completely different ways.
- Write a thank you note to someone. Thank you notes used to be a conventional norm to show our appreciation to someone before it was replaced with a, “Thanks for <insert subject here>” text message. But how awesome would it be to blow people’s minds with a handwritten thank you note? A couple of lines on some cute stationary to appreciate a friend treating you for lunch, remembering a doctor’s appointment, or simply being a great human is guaranteed to brighten their day, too.
- Write a letter of appreciation to yourself. How often do you stop to celebrate YOU? I’m guessing not often enough, so this is a powerful way to sit in your specialness and acknowledge that you are a strong, brave, talented person that is doing their best. (See, I just wrote the first sentence of your letter for you). What else would your letter say? If you’re still stuck, mine would start something like this:
Mo (that’s what I call myself), be proud! You have released over 65 episodes of your podcast, YOU WANNA DO WHAT?!You didn’t know anything about podcasting when you started, but you believed in yourself and took a leap…
Luxuriate at home.
Often times we pair relaxation with images like beaches, oceans and spas. However, this is a list of things you can do for FREE and spas ain’t free. Instead, I invite you to try an at-home spa day.
You’ll need a few things to recreate the magic but these should all be floating around your home somewhere.
- Candles (any will do)
- Music (see suggestion #1)
- Bed/Couch (you’ll need this to nap)
The key to making this activity feel amazing is time and intention. (Forget about time and focus all on intention; how you want to feel). Light a few candles, play a soothing playlist, run a bath, DIY a face mask with household products, and soak in the tub.
Exhale. A LOT. Let your mind power down. Notice your body in the water. Feel the face mask working its magic on your pores.
When you’re done, wrap yourself in a robe and sit down with a cup of tea or a fruit-infused glass of water (all spas have some type of fruit-infused water, don’t they?). Take 10 minutes (more, if you have the time to spare) and stretch. Feel your muscles loosen and then find the nearest bed or couch, and take a nap. You’ve earned it.
Plan a trip.
Planningis free, so why not research one of the destinations on your travel bucket list? Find the best time of year to visit and average prices for flight and accommodations. Dig around to identify the key attractions, best-reviewed restaurants and can’t miss expereiences. Save popular Instagram posts of your locale for extra inspiration. With a few clicks and Google searches, you’ll dream trip will begin to feel less like a fantasy and more like a possibility.
Double the amazing if you reach for that piggy bank, bucket or wherever you store your loose change and start counting it out. Once you’re done, BOOM, you have the beginnings of a travel fund and have inched closer to the trip you just planned.
Say your electronic goodbyes.
In Spanish, the word for goodbye, is adios. But I’m suggesting you saye-diosto all the electronic, virtual trash that is cluttering your inbox and your mind.
- Clean out emails and unsubscribe to lists that are filling up your inbox but you neverread. You know exactly what I’m talking about. They reach your email and you swear you’re going to read that article thisweekend. That’d be more believeable if that email hadn’t been sent in 2015. Delete it. Do the same thing with all those coupons to stores you haven’t shopped at in the last year.
You ain’t going to Bed, Bath and Beyond, boo!
- Unfollow every social media account that makes you feel like you need to be someone else. Comparing your work, your life, or whatever else will only serve to make you unhappy. and doesnt serve you. Social media is a curated collection of posts and experiences that show the best slices of life and leave out the rest. If any account you follow brings eye rolls, groans, or frowns, hit the unfollow quick, fast and in a hurry.
Comparison is the thief of joy. — Theodore Roosevelt
Organize and Purge
Find your junk drawer or messiest closest. (There’s a special place for neat freaks that don’t have this problem). But for the rest of us, there’s at least one spot in your home that is in dire need of radical interference.
Psychology tell us that clutter is an external reflection of what’s going on internally.
Let’s address the elephant in the room, er, closet, and start organizing and purging our mess. Trash all the useless stuff. (As a general guide, if you haven’t used or worn something in a year, you probably don’t need it). Bag up gently worn clothes and donate it. I know you’re going to wear that LBD just as soon as you drop those last 20 pounds, but donate this one and buy yourself a new dress as a reward for hitting your goal AFTER you actually hit your goal. I’m not judging, I’m just saying…
If you’ve made it this far, you’re either really digging my suggestions or you’re searching for one last amazing recommendation that speaks to your soul. (I hope this is it, because I ain’t got any more for you).
If you live in a house, sitting ouside should be simple. Cop-a-squat on your front steps or porch. If you live in a building, find a bench (even a bus stop bench will do the trick). Feel the breeze, watch the sunrise or set. If it’s a clear night, look up at the stars. Search for constellations. Observe people as they walk by. Listen to the sounds filling the air.
Remember that you’re alive. The world needs you. You are magic.