You know when you’re feeling overwhelmed, overworked, overtired and overextended… but you’ve just got to slog through it, because you see a moment of reprieve on the horizon? That was me last week. I spent the first part of the week in Detroit and the second part of the week consumed by a work event.
Our home looked like a special kind of mess (two parts yet-to-be-unpacked luggage, one part baby bottles, six parts laundry, one part unopened mail, and an aging French bulldog hidden somewhere inside the sofa). My hair looked like a special kind of mess. My brain felt like a special kind of mess.
And while it would have likely been easiest to wait for my calendar to clear, I found myself on the morning of one of our biggest work events of the year needing to do something, anything, to calm the frenzy. All it took was five minutes to turn my day around.
Minute one: Spend just 60 seconds moving from room to room, picking up anything that is out of place and has a defined place to land. We’re not talking about clutter (that’s another topic for another day). We’re talking about the things that are easy to put away. For me, this includes Grace’s toys and books, Clark’s toys, a stack of clean laundry, mail that can be recycled and a few pairs of shoes. Put those items where they belong.
Minutes two and three: Make your bed. Not only does a made bed instantly make your home look and feel more tidy and serene, it sets you on a better path for the day. Don’t believe me? Maybe you’ll believe a Navy SEAL Commander?
“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.
By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.
If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.
And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”
You can read more of Navy SEAL Commander William McRaven’s 2014 UT Commencement speech here: Business Insider.
Minute four: Write a note (or two, or three) of gratitude on a Post-It. Leave it where a loved one will find it, or hide it for yourself to find in the future. Did you know that practicing gratitude can increase your happiness by 25%? These dudes did the research. A few words about what your most grateful for, or what you appreciate about your loved ones– especially when you’re experiencing stress– helps bring the good into focus. Knowing that Nick would be coming home to find these notes of appreciation and acknowledgement made me smile throughout the day.
Minute five: Spend an entire minute just breathing. Fight the urge to run out the door and onto your next commitment.
It’s incredible what you can fit into five minutes, and how good intentioned acts can turn your entire day around. You can fit these quick practices in throughout the day, before you head out the door, or whenever you feel stress, anxiety or crankiness rising (around these parts, we call that the Elizabeast).
What else can you do to turn your day around? Here are a few more ideas:(Some are quick, some take a bit more time, some are free, some cost whatever the guy behind you in line felt like spending…)
- Pay a stranger a compliment (I mean, this works well with people you know, too)
- Buy coffee for the person in line behind (This is one of my favorite things of all time… although I will admit, part of me does panic a tiny bit when I think, What if the police officer behind me is picking up lattes and donut holes for the entire precinct? And then I think, Won’t it be fun when I suddenly become impossibly rich and things like this won’t matter?)
- Make an iPhone photo album of your favorite photos. Scroll through them over and over until you feel less beastly.
- Speaking of iPhones: Make an actual phone call. No texting.
Also On Tap for Today:
- November 13 is World Kindness Day! Boston friends: Stop by South Station between 7-9 AM to celebrate with KIND, grab a flower from their flower wall and pass it on to someone else – a friend, loved one, teacher, coworker or even stranger. Throughout the day, KIND will also surprise people in the community who embody kindness, including firefighters and other local heroes.
- Love this: Awesome idioms from around the world via A Cup of Jo
- Unpacking… so we can pack for something and somewhere fun!
How do you turn a frenzied day around?