Go to work, do laundry, wash dishes, prepare dinner, get gas, pick up groceries, clean the house… if your “to do” list looks anything like mine, then it can feel never-ending. Sometimes it can get to the point where you feel you never have time to do anything else besides the basic life maintenance you need in order to survive. So I try to make things a little easier on myself when I can. Here are a few small things that may help you get through the next day when you’re feeling totally overwhelmed.
Make your desk feel like home.
It’s not an option everywhere, but if there’s an opportunity to make your desk feel a bit more like it’s yours, do it. You will be spending the majority of your day there during the week, after all! My desk is not only decorated (a Miss Piggy figurine, a framed piece of art that says “What Would Leslie Knope Do?” and a heart-shaped button that reads “girls rock” among them), but I have practical items, too. I have an extra pair of comfortable flats beneath my desk. I also have: extra hair ties, a mirror, emergency makeup, lotion, my gym bag, and books. I like to be prepared.
If you commute, listen to podcasts in car.
I like to bounce between fun podcasts, like The Nerdist, and educational podcasts, like Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s StarTalk Radio. If you’re commuting longer than, say, 10 minutes, you’ll be sick of the top 40 radio hits in less than a week. There are so many amazing podcasts out there, many of which are free! Take advantage.
Invest in a crockpot.
Dinner will be ready for you when you get home!
Keep a list of your accomplishments.
This will come in handy not only if you’re feeling down, but also if you’d like to start building a case for a raise or a title change.
Listen to music.
Since most of us are essentially chained to our computers all day, music is a nice alternative to sitting in silence. Pandora, Spotify, and even YouTube work great. (I love this YouTube playlist of Disney songs!)
Get up and take a break.
Whether it’s eating lunch with co-workers or taking a walk around the building, take a break when you can. It’s good to clear your head and you’ll come back feeling a little refreshed.
Take a class.
I’m a huge nerd in that I love learning whenever I can. Taking noncredit courses at local community colleges can be a fun way to do that. Some are pricey, and some are just a couple of bucks, but noncredit courses almost always cost significantly less than for-credit classes. Depending on the college, there are courses available in everything from gardening to finance to Zumba.
Watch YouTube videos.
For a free alternative to taking a class, learn from YouTube videos! There are so many video tutorials out there that can teach you all of the things you want to know. I learned how to sew a skirt. Now I just have to watch that video about how to use my sewing machine. (Whoops.)
In addition to the tons and tons of blogs out there with totally free and useful information, there are also slightly more “professional” websites that provide free knowledge as well. iTunesU, No Excuse List, DuoLingo, Memrise, W3 Schools, and Khan Academy are all great places to get started.
Don’t weigh yourself every day.
It’s fine to want to know what you weigh – although if seeing the number makes you feel bad about yourself, I’d recommend just basing whether you’re losing/gaining on how your clothes fit. If you do weigh yourself, I’d stick to once a week. Your weight can fluctuate so much that weighing yourself daily can make you crazy.
Bring your snacks and lunches to work, if you can.
Not only will it save you money, but whatever you pack will likely be healthier than food out or from the vending machine. For snacks, think filling, but tasty, like nuts, cheese, hummus, peanut butter, veggies, and fruits. For lunches, wraps and salads work great. Try Easy Lunchbox Meals for inspiration.
Use cocoa butter liberally, and often.
It helps with everything from stretch marks to moisturizing, and it smells amazing.
Find an exercise you enjoy.
Or at least one you don’t totally hate. Sneak in some extra movement here and there, too, by opting to take the stairs or parking your car across the lot at the mall.
Relationships with family, friends, partners, and you
No argument was ever resolved by name-calling, insults, or low blows. Fights happen but they don’t have to be a disaster. First, know how you react when you fight. For me, I tend to get very angry very quickly and I need time alone. If I don’t get that time, I will lash out and say mean things. It’s not something I’m proud of, but at least at this point in my life, it is something I’m aware of and I know when I need to walk away and cool down. For you, maybe you get very sad and you need to cry it out. How we each handle anger differs, but as long as we’re respectful of one another, it will be fine. Generally, I think taking a break and giving each other a little space in any fight is a good idea. When you regroup, it’s important to listen to what the other person’s saying. If you can, frame your words in “I” statements. So, your first instinct might be to say, “You acted like a jerk when you said Aunt Bunny has a mustache.” Instead, say, “It hurt my feelings to hear you say Aunt Bunny has a mustache.” It not only helps you take ownership of your own feelings, but it helps the other person feel less defensive. (Poor Aunt Bunny.)
Think before you judge.
Not only strangers, but friends, family, and yourself. It’s so easy to let negative thoughts cloud how you’re feeling; when we think negative things about others, it tends to saturate how we feel about ourselves, too.
Know that no one is perfect.
Not even you. So if your dad/aunt/mom/best friend/cousin doesn’t act exactly how you’d hoped they would, try to understand where they are coming from.
Never underestimate the power of a handwritten note.
Especially in the form of a thank you card.
Refrain from checking your phone constantly.
At work, take personal calls in the hall or away from where everyone is working, if possible. At home or when you’re out with friends, it’s not necessary to check your phone constantly (unless you are waiting on an important call). Tuck it away if you can.
Enjoy the little things.
That includes the warmth of the sun, the perfect spring day, or a delicious chocolate chip cookie. If you can’t enjoy things like that, what can you enjoy?
Lastly: be kind to others, including yourself.
You never know what kind of day someone is having, so offer a smile when you can.
Photo credit: Maddox