My 7th grade science teacher always told our class “fail to prepare, prepare to fail”. While that may seem a little harsh, there is truth in that statement. Preparation is key for getting the most out of your 24 hours. Planning has been instrumental in helping me manage school, work, and other commitments. Whether it be on an old legal pad or a pretty planner, plan what you absolutely have to get done as well as what you’d like to get done. You can add somewhat expected things, such as “coffee” or “shower” to give you that initial sense of satisfaction of checking something off the to-do list. Either way, planning allows you to take control of your time and how you allocate it. The planner I use.
Routines elicit a sense of predictability that can mobilize you to tackle your day with confidence. It can be as simple as waking up, turning your alarm clock off, making your bed, splashing your face with water, and grabbing a cup of coffee and banana on the way out the door. Conversely, it can be as simple as coming home, taking your shoes off, taking a warm shower, and decompressing with your favorite TV show or book. Regardless, having a routine to look forward to in the morning or be comforted by at night (or both) can get you into a rhythm.
Seems expected, right? However, this involuntary bodily function can be utilized to alleviate stress, subdue anxious feelings, and prevent hyper-emotional responses. The next time you are feeling stressed, anxious, or hyper-emotional, remember the 4-7-8 method. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. This method pacifies the mind, body, and soul.
4. Guided Meditations
There is a great selection of free guided meditations through the App Store and YouTube. Guided meditations can help with waking up happy, getting through your workday, encouraging creativity, going to sleep peacefully, and everything in between. One of the most highly recommended resources for guided meditations is Calm, a free App that also offers paid subscriptions services.
One of my college professors once told me “why suffer”? Of course, this comes from a place of privileged, but the sentiment behind it is what struck me. It is easy to fall prey to the voices in our heads that tell us “we should be doing this” or “we shouldn’t be doing that”. However, to better manage your day and end it with a smile on your face, indulging is a-okay (in moderation). Have that last half of the chocolate bar sitting in your fridge. Watch an episode of Grey’s Anatomy before going to bed. Life can be hard, but don’t suffer if you don’t have to. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You work hard and deserve to indulge from time to time.