Hitting my June 30 weight loss goal took a lot out of me. Not one day after marking that accomplishment, other stressors and projects that required my attention consumed my last bit of energy. Once I made it through the remaining hurdles, I felt a well deserved break was in order. And so I took it easy and relaxed. And then three days after getting back on track, I got derailed by some sort of summer cold I’m still battling. Now half of July is gone. I haven’t gone to yoga in ages and haven’t hit my daily goal of 11,000 steps since July 2. I feel weak. I’ve been eating like crap. I can’t believe how quickly things went off track. I desperately need a reset and decided that today is the day for it. Luckily for me, I know exactly how to reset body and mind to get me feeling better.
Do you need a reset, too? Maybe you’re getting over being ill, or have been bogged down by anxiety and stress, or maybe just have been derailed by competing obligations? Whatever your reason for needing a reset, keep reading for seven simple ways to reset your body and mind to get you feeling better by bed time. They’re the exact things I’m doing today.
1. Drink water
Stop what you’re doing and go drink water. Seriously, stop. If your bottle of water is nearby, take a long chug. If it’s not, get up right now and fill a tall glass and drink it down. Water is crucial to our well being and many of us don’t get enough. My water consumption is one of the many things that suffers when I’m not on top of my game. So this morning I filled two 32 oz. bottles with water and the juice of two lemons. I drank both by 4:00 pm and will drink at least one more before bed.
In my opinion, drinking water is the simplest thing we can all do on a daily basis to help us feel better. Water flushes out toxins, aids digestion and increases regularity. It boosts the immune system, reduces headaches and improves skin complexion. And it generally helps you feel more energized. There is no acceptable reason whatsoever to deny yourself water. So please, do it for yourself.
2. Get some exercise
And I don’t mean next week. I mean today (or at least tomorrow if it’s already late in the day). Exercise is another excellent free thing that helps us to feel better almost instantly. I’ve hit my first exercise slump in ages and let me tell you, I feel awful; weak, irritable, fatigued. I am at the point of craving exercise.
With this nasty cough, I won’t go for a jog or even a walk (it’s far too humid). But I will finally do thirty minutes of light yoga to begin to ease my body back into a practice and loosen up my joints that have gotten used to the couch the past week.
For those of you who don’t exercise regularly, I know how hard it can be to begin. But it’s all you have to do. Just begin. Go for a ten minute walk if that’s all you feel you can do right now. Every little bit counts and will get those endorphins flowing.
3. Eat something nutritious
We’ve been eating a lot of takeout and junk lately in my house, largely because I haven’t felt well. When I don’t feel well, I seek easy comfort food even though it’s the worst thing for me.
Despite not feeling well, the thought of eating more junk makes me feel nauseous. And so I’m making the dinner I was too tired and ill to make yesterday. It’s a pasta dish with chicken loaded with mushrooms and asparagus with a bit of goat cheese melted throughout. I enjoy cooking very much and am excited to sit down at the table to “real” food.
No food in the house or no time to cook? Choose the lesser of the take-out evils. Maybe that’s a soup or salad from a fast food chain, or a turkey sub/hoagie from (insert beloved convenience store/deli here – mine is Wawa). It may require a little extra effort, but there are more options than greasy chinese, pizza or cheeseburgers. Find something good for you and your body will thank you for it.
3. Plan your food
Think about the rest of today and tomorrow, too. I know I have some cherries that have seen better days so I’ll mix them with some oats, yogurt, chia seeds, almond milk, raw almonds, and a drizzle of honey. Voila – cherry overnight oats for the next four days. I’ll also defrost some wheat bread for a peanut butter sandwich and maybe hard boil some eggs, and see what else I can dig up in order to prevent buying lunch.
Just see what you have and get creative. Or better yet, run to the store if you have time, but whip up a quick meal plan and list first.
No food and no time? Again, planning ahead can prevent you from making decisions you may later regret. When we’re hungry and irritable, we tend to get amnesia and find ourselves reaching for the most convenient source of energy. By planning ahead, you allow the space to remember better options like Panera, Chipotle (burrito bowl/salad), or even Whole Foods which has plenty of seating and a gorgeous prepared foods bar.
The point is not to wait until you’re hangry to think about what to eat.
4. Straighten up/get organized
I don’t know about you, but if my environment is cluttered, my mind is cluttered and I don’t function well. Take some time to straighten up and get organized. Throw in a load of wash if you need work clothes or towels, do the dishes… just get things to a less stressful level. You’re not aiming for immaculate – just orderly. And try to stay focused on the major living areas and surfaces. Other areas are not at all a priority. This is NOT the time to clean out the linen closet or medicine cabinet (unless you find yourself completely energized to do so!)
5. Make a to-do list
Getting back on the wagon usually means facing things you’ve neglected that require your attention. Free-write a to-do list. Just write down anything and everything you can think of whether you need to do it tomorrow or next month. Just get it from your head to the paper. You can re-order it later. The goal for now is simply to get it out of your head.
6. Ask yourself: What is the most important thing I can do right now to begin to feel better?
Now that you’ve drank your water, exercised, eaten something healthy, straightened up and made a to-do list, you should be feeling exponentially better in body and mind! Maybe it’s time to wash up for bed or call it a night and settle in for last night’s Game of Thrones premiere on the DVR. Awesome! You did great!
But if there’s still time or you want more, then ask yourself today (or tomorrow morning): What is the most important thing I can do right now to begin to feel better?
As for me, I would like to watch another episode of my current binge-watching pleasure, Vikings. But the truth is that I’ve been doing too much of that lately. I gave myself permission to take a break from blogging. But now the break’s over and getting back to work is what will make me feel better. And so instead of hanging out on the couch, I am at my desk writing this blog post.
Vikings isn’t going anywhere.
But if the most important thing you can do right now feels too big or overwhelming or is also the source of your stress (I’ve been there!), then please go on to the next question.
7. Ask yourself: What is one small step I can take right now to get the ball rolling?
Earlier this month I had to prepare for an important meeting. It was a significant source of stress for me and I completely procrastinated until I literally could not procrastinate anymore. Finally, with tears in my eyes, I just… began. First, I sat at my desk. Next, I turned on my computer. Third, I set my timer and committed to sixty minutes of effort. Next, I pulled out my notes, and so it went…
Thirty minutes in, problems began to resolve themselves, ideas came to me, and the preparation began to come together. The stress and anxiety melted away.
If all you can do right now is make a list or a phone call, write one email, or Google something, then that’s all you need do! Do that thing you identified and be proud of yourself for getting started.
To begin, just begin.
Not sure where to begin? Start at the beginning and go drink some water. It helps, I promise.
It’s no accident that this list of how to reset body and mind started with water, exercise and food. You can not begin to feel better in mind without first feeling better in body. The brain is a muscle and does not operate without the cooperation of the body. So do these things in order and you will be on your way to feeling better in no time.
What would you add to this list? I’d love to hear from you.