Its no secret that life can be busy and stressful and I'd go out on a limb to say I know I'm not alone in experiencing the feeling of my day spiraling out of my control, especially when I have the most going on. While I know we may not be able to control all of the factors in our lives that can leave us with this out of control and stressful feeling (subway delays, demanding bosses, pouring rain and no umbrella, the list for me can go on and on), I do know that we each have the ability to take back our day and re-gain that feeling of control over everything that may be going on around us. Here are my 5 favorite ways to take back the day:
Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier. This way, you don’t have to jump out of bed and rush through your morning. You can begin your morning by lying in bed, slowly waking up. Stretch. Listen to the news headlines. Mentally decide what you’re going to wear, what you’re going to do, what you’re going to have for breakfast. It’s just as important to prepare yourself mentally as physically for your day. These few minutes in bed and avoiding the morning “rush” to get out the door, will start your day on a better foot.
Avoid “hanger” and take an actual lunch break. It’s easy to fall into the trap of the desk-lunch. The logic makes sense: If I eat lunch at my desk and just work through that lunch hour, I will get more done overall today. And when the pressure is on, sometimes we feel like we can’t even leave our desks to start with. Unfortunately, that lunch break serves a larger purpose than just getting food in our stomachs; it is a vital pause. It’s always better to take a short break for lunch then to regret decisions due to something as preventable as “hanger” or being burnt out later on.
Turn that cell phone off. And log out of your inbox and office chatroom while you’re at it. You’ll instantly feel less stressed. Not only can turning your cell phone make you more productive, but you will also compare yourself to others less, be happier overall (as you will be more focused on the task you are actually working on), and you’ll feel way less stressed.
Meditate. Even if its for only one or two minutes. Sit at your desk, take a few minutes, focus on your breathing and just let it happen. Meditating will not only help you reduce stress, but it can aid in increasing your ability to pay attention to each task you face and give you the ability to “reset” your self mentally when you feel like your day is running away from you.
Don’t be afraid to vent when you need to. A lot of the time, its helpful to get whatever negative emotions we are feeling off our chests. By venting and sharing these emotions with others, we are actually able to lift some of the weight of our feelings off of ourselves and restore some much needed equilibrium to get back to having a solid and productive day. Just be careful who you vent to and what sort of advice you take in/are willing to consider from those around you.