- 15 Minute Stretch
I started with this one for a reason. Focus on your arms, legs, and core - especially if you sit at a desk the majority of the day. This is my fail-safe. Before I reach for a cup of coffee I stretch... and I am no yogi! But I find this gets my blood flowing in a practical and sustainable way and engages my mind more than anything else.
No matter how woo woo or spiritual you are, this is a great way to give yourself a minute to neglect your screen, guilt-free, and refocus your thoughts. This is something I recently started giving time and energy to, and I started with a three-minute meditation a day. No matter how small, giving a little space to refocus your mind can be a great catalyst to better focus and headspace during the day - which happens to be the name of the app I love using. If you are new to meditating, try out Headspace to get you going.
- Rewrite your checklist for the day
This could be counter-intuitive, but don't let it stress you out. I am a huge advocate for including every little thing on your list so that you have more to cross off and more reasons to feel good about yourself. Once your day has gotten going, you've almost always crossed off a few items and potentially added a few more. Rewrite your list, reprioritize, and reorient where the rest of your day will go.
- Have a phone date with a friend
We all have that person who's hard to align schedules with (...Heeeey, Dad). I'm pretty sure I'm that person in my relationships more often than not because I happen to live away from almost all of my family, so phone time is important to work into my schedule. Sometimes it's in between meetings and sometimes it’s when I need a screen break, but taking time to catch up with my people tends to be an energizing part of my workday.
- Respond to texts
Am I the only one? The only one who sees the little red bubble go from 1 to 12 before checking? I buy into the idea that it breaks concentration, and I also dislike feeling tied to my phone. For both of these reasons, I am not great at responding to texts in a timely manner. BUT, recently, I have found when I take a break and respond to people, I feel better AND I don't end up neglecting people. Win win.
- Take a walk - unplugged
This is one of the best ones. Taking some time to yourself that you believe to be yours is surprisingly empowering. Not to mention you are physically getting your body moving which is always a helpful break in the day. No sweating or long-time commitment necessary makes a quick walk a great idea.
- Make a specific effort to brighten someone’s day
The easiest way? Offer a compliment. This habit means you are training yourself to think of others on autopilot and to let them know. It may not come naturally at first, but the more you think about it, the more you are able to transition your mindset into positivity and the more you are able to impact those around you. The more your mind focuses on positivity? The more you may find you feel positive. Why does that matter? Check out "Why Focusing on Positivity Can Improve Your Business" here.
- Listen to a short podcast episode
It’s easy to think that a podcast is a time commitment and resign them to road trips or gym time. There’s a missed opportunity to listen to short podcasts that will inspire. A lot of podcasts offer mini episodes and are a great way to stimulate your mind. My current favorite is Oprah's SuperSoul Conversations.
- Enjoy a coffee or tea
In the past year, I came across the term Fikka. Fika is considered a social institution in Sweden. It means having a break, most often a coffee break, with colleagues, friends, a date or family. One of my lifelong joys has been enjoying meals with people I care about. It wasn’t until mid-college that I started drinking coffee, so it seems fitting it took me awhile to enjoy the ritual, but now it is a great joy. It is a great opportunity to set meeting and learn new things about new people or catch up with old friends.
- 5 Minute Dance Party
Call me crazy, call this cheesy…but try it and you won’t say I’m wrong. If I believe in stretching, I believe in dancing. The best thing to get your blood flowing is movement. I would love to think I’m not alone in this train of thought: Hugh Grant as the Prime Minister in Love Actually...or Meredith and Christina in Grey's Anatomy. I can tell you're smiling. Dance it out! If you don't know what I'm talking about, do yourself a favor and look it up. And for the record, I have experienced this in an office setting and it can literally turn. your. day. around.
Anything I should add to this list? I would love to hear what works for you!