words Alexa Wang
It’s inevitable that with this life there will be hills and there will be valleys. This is not a unique experience to any of us; even those who appear to be coasting through life with no problems, have their versions of struggles to surmount.
How can we best handle those moments with grace and power, while not letting those darker times take over completely? How do we ride the wave and even find some joy in it?
Here are some tips for how to make life even just 5% better during trying times.
Take Care of Something Living
Taking care of something that’s alive, like a plant or a pet, will connect you to life and nature. Consequently, this will get you out of your own head.
When you know you have to take care of something living every day, you’re more likely to get out of bed and take care of yourself as well. Sometimes, it’s a lot easier to remember to feed your crying cat or water a wilting plant, than to take care of yourself.
If you get a pet specifically to help regulate your emotions, you can register your emotional support animal online. You’ll take care of them and they’ll take care of you!
Practice Daily Gratitude
There have been scientific studies conducted that show the benefits of practicing gratitude daily. This small task can lower your blood pressure and reduce chronic pain. Even just taking 5 minutes a day to list the things you’re grateful for will make a difference. They can be anything from “I am alive and healthy” to “I have AC in my car.” Anything counts!
Get Enough Sleep
Whatever your friends told you in college is wrong: most people cannot get by on 4-6 hours of sleep a night. Anything less than 7 hours for consecutive nights is grounds for chronic sleep deprivation.
We’re not ourselves when we’re sleep deprived (sounds obvious, right?). We’re irritable, volatile, rude, ineffective at work; basically, we’re the worse versions of ourselves without sleep.
Move Your Body
Exercise is essential for your mental and physical health. We were made to move our bodies daily! Exercise releases endorphins and keeps your muscles active and engaged. The extra blood flow also brings more nutrients to your brain.
It doesn’t have to be excessive: even a 10-20 minute walk a day is great.
Reduce Social Media
Social media can be a great tool to keep connected with friends, family, and entertainment.
However, more often than not, it leads to depression and anxiety. It can cause us to be irritable over what our “friends” think (how can they possibly think that??) and causes us to compare our own lives with someone else’s highlight reel.
Try staying off of it for a week and see how much better you feel.
Give the Gift of Kindness
Giving a stranger a smile, paying for someone’s coffee, complimenting someone’s outfit, and letting someone in your lane during heavy traffic are all ways to extend kindness and grace to people. Extending grace makes you feel better about yourself, and also gives you a greater purpose than yourself.
While mainstream media tries to tell us that “just doing you” is the best way to become happier, science just doesn’t back up this claim. Even the biggest celebrities donate huge amounts of money to help strangers in need.
Give Yourself A Routine
If you do these things every day, you will see absolute progress. It may only be 1% of progress at a time, but progress is progress.
Akin to going to the gym every day, progress builds up over time. It takes more than just doing one thing once a week to see real, tangible progress. It takes a lifestyle change and this starts with a set routine.
Trying to do all of these things every day can be very overwhelming and intimidating at first. Try picking your favorite thing off of this list (or the easiest thing), and really do it every day for a week. Then the next week, add another, etc.
Wanting to feel better and become a happier person will ultimately take some sacrifice of the “comfortable” mundane life you’ve been used to living, and it’s your choice whether you want to make that sacrifice.