In the midst of the drama and chaos and trauma of our times, the tsunami of stress can feel overwhelming.
We see it manifest in the news each evening, or throughout the day on our phones with heartbreaking events such as suicides and shootings. In our workplaces, we listen to colleagues share how their kids are longing for a classroom, or how they had to turn around and head home after forgetting their mask to go into the grocery store. We wonder when it will feel normal instead of a little scary to hug a friend.
What can we do to keep ourselves strong and resilient, to enjoy and be grateful for life when everything feels precarious?
Here are a few proven ways to renew today in five minutes or less:
Nature. A source of renewal and groundedness. A place where we can reconnect with ourselves. Research shows that even a little time spent in greenery lowers our heart rate and blood pressure. My own experience in just taking a short walk in the morning reminds me that the world is much bigger and more beautiful than the worrisome issues that sometimes captivate my attention. Even looking out a window at a bird in a tree, or gazing at a picture will start to center you. I’ve included one picture at the start of this blog. Find others here.
Music. A friend shared a musician who was new to me this week---Michael Franti. His upbeat and thought-provoking music, and my friend’s thoughtfulness in sharing it resonated with me throughout the rest of the week. You can discover some of it here.
Hydration. A cup of tea. A glass of water. Pour yourself a beverage. Find a quiet place where you can simply sip for a few minutes, nurturing yourself and savoring the moment.
Laughter. So much joy and so many funny people. We can choose to smile or laugh at any moment, even when we don’t feel like it. And sometimes we need an external prompt that spontaneously evokes a laugh. Here are some options so you can experiment. The release of endorphins will raise your spirits.
Giving. It turns out that there really is a health benefit to giving. Give time to a neighbor, as I did recently when it took us 3 hours (really!) to get her phone reset when she lost her password. Give food or money to your local food bank. Send a card to a graduate, or to a friend you haven’t connected with recently. Give a compliment to your child, your significant other, your checkout clerk. There is no shortage of ways to give.
What difference will it make? Maybe just enough to enable you to feel today is manageable. Maybe enough that you feel genuinely grateful to be alive and able to enjoy all of these things.