These are 10 simple things you can do to keep your mind active, your heart full and your soul motivated. They’re all easy to do and cost next to nothing!
1. Go to new places
Ideally this would be going to a new European city every weekend, booking exotic holidays to faraway places every chance you get. Now that’s not always realistic for most of us who have commitments and things tying us to places. But that’s not to say we can’t all have the beauty of exploring. Visit a new place in your town or city, take a day trip to a region you’ve never been to before, or simply go for a walk/drive/bus ride in an area that you never normally go to. The break up from routine will serve you well.
I don’t care if you say you can’t. Everyone can sing. It’s built into us. Wait till you’ve got the place to yourself and just break into song! Tip: there’s even better acoustics if you’re in the shower. It’s a guaranteed feel good activity.
3. Get creative
Remember how fun art class was at school? Life got too serious too quickly, and you probably haven’t painted in years. Now, you don’t have to go out and buy tons of expensive art supplies, and you don’t have to spend hours that you don’t have painting… but you can check out your local craft shops for coloured card, glitter, felt shapes, stickers, fineliners – all pretty cheap. Then make a card for someone! Or a poster for your own bedroom. Let your creative juices flow and release that inmer child a little!
4. Keep a journal
Keeping track of how you’re doing is key to being healthy mentally. It’s up to how you how you choose to do it – maybe you want to set aside one night to write per week, maybe you’ll write one thought a day, perhaps it’ll be a gratitude journal or perhaps you’ll only write when you’re confused. Whatever way you choose to journal, keep at it. There is something amazing about reading back over a note you wrote 3 years back and realising just how much you’ve grown.
5. Get enough sleep
Sadly, a good night’s sleep is never guaranteed, even when you have the best intentions. Try turning off your phone, tablet and whatever else distracts you at least an hour before your ideal bedtime, and giving yourself time before turning the lights off to just relax, when you can. And if you have a few wild ones in a row, make sure you factor in a night to just chill afterwards.
6. Be active
Some people love sport, love exercising, going for frequent 10k runs and 6am gym sessions. If you’re already regularly active, please go to No.7.
If you’re not, however, I feel you. Being heavily uncoordinated, unable to catch, and prone to getting a stitch after 5 minutes fast walking meant I thought I hated being active too. But just a little bit of movement in your day makes your body and mind feel so good! Once you realise that most of your life is incredibly sedentary, you’ll actually start to appreciate breaking a sweat in the speed walk to the station, or going for a light jog in the evening, taking the odd exercise class and doing some bedtime stretches to ease out. A small bit of action can go a very long way.
7. Eat/drink well
This does not mean deprive yourself of the good stuff. Absolutely not – never make yourself feel guilty for enjoying some cake or chocolate or McDonald’s fries, life is too short to not enjoy what you eat. Just, be aware of what you put into your body. If you’re drinking fizzy drinks and eating only sugary foods on a regular basis, you will start to feel sluggish. Drink plenty of water all day, occasionally replace the chocolate with fruit, have a constant supply of side salads… these litle steps will help you to feel and look amazing.
8. Start a personal project
Alongside your studies or your work, why not start a project that’s just for you. Think about everything you imagined would be fun to learn – maybe you always wanted learn to code, pick up a new language, become really good at yoga, understand philosophy, write short stories… it literally can be anything! Seize that hidden dresm inside you and throw some time at it. You might only have 30 minutes over the whole week to do it, but those 30 minutes will turn into 26 hours by the end of the year – think what you could accomplish. The nicest thing about this is, there’s no pressure. Do it cause you enjoy it, and if you don’t see progress for several months – well it doesn’t matter! The hardest part is getting started. Try googling your project for tips and tutorials.
9. Watch things that make you smile
If you find yourself binge watching not-very-good series on Netflix, or mundane YouTube videos that leave you wondering what you did for the last hour – stop. Spend a bit of time exploring the web for channels, films and and series that are about things you actually enjoy, and get something out of – whether that’s genuine laughter, discovering something new, or a new perspective on things you’re interested in. The internet is great for those lazy nights in chilling, but you may as well make the most of all it has to offer and not just watch what is advertised to you.
10. Reward yourself
You’ve had a long day. You’ve just finished a project at work. You’ve spent hours doing DIY. You wrote 1000 words of your essay. You sent that really tough email to your boss.
It’s been stressful – so actively relax. That might sound like a contradiction, surely relaxation is just about chilling out? It is, but it’s also about doing something you enjoy, in a chiled way. So on your way home, plan to make your favourite pasta dish for dinner, or watch your all time feel-good film that evening, or have a mug of hot chocolate cause it’s been raining on you all day.
Actively planning these little rewards helps us feel accomplished on those tricky days. It’s a way of relaxing us while still doing what we love, and avoids just getting home and feeling a bit drained and dull, which then makes us feel uninspired and more likely to just spend our down time doing something mundane that we don’t really enjoy.