Motivation Monday: The Non-Guilty Way to Slow Down & Take a Breath

Happy Monday people! Has today been feeling like “a Monday” to you too? Cause…same!

It has become that point in the semester in which it is so incredibly easy to become stressed. Homework piles up, projects are due, and the amount of tests you are taking begin to feel questionably torturous. Sometimes, us college students can feel as this is too much of a “norm” and start forgetting what it feels like to not have so much to do. But hey – it’s time to pause that never-ending tape for a second! In order to confidently finish your semester without running out of steam, you need to give yourself a moment to relax each and every day. I know I say this a lot, but its TRUE! Everyone deserves a break, especially you. Here’s how to do it in a non-guilty way:

Meditate Before Bed

Whatever the word “meditate” means to you, do it for 10 minutes right before you go to bed. I would normally say, “Wake up 10 minutes early and do it!” but I know that can’t apply to everyone, as some of us (myself included) are literal sloths who want every ounce of sleep they can get. So basically, this is an excuse-free version. You can still do it before you get ready in the morning if that is what works best for you, but everyone can do it before climbing into bed (so do it one way or another). Here are some ideas for making the perfect 10-minute mediation session:

  • Dim the lighting so it’s soft and warm (candle-light, twinkly lights, or none at all)
  • Put on some soothing music (whatever helps you chill it, play it out loud or put some headphones in)
  • Begin to breathe as slowly as you can, inhaling deeply through your nose and exhaling softly out through your mouth. Imagine you are filling up a circle as wide as it possibly can go as you inhale, and shrink it down into a tiny dot as you exhale. If visualizing waves coming in and out of shore helps you breathe slower, do that instead!
  • Think about what makes you happy in your life. Start to picture all the things you are surrounded by that brings you positivity. Imagine your happy place, wherever that is for you.
  • Send appreciation out for 3 things and/or people in your life. This is especially important for being able to slow down your busy life and actually focus on “the big stuff”. Sometimes we get so frantic about the minute day-to-day details that we let our gratefulness for what we have in our lives go by the wayside.
  • Set a goal for yourself for the next day that is centered around self-care. What can you do to make yourself feel better? Can you make it a goal to go to bed earlier? Can you smile at a stranger? Can you give yourself a pedicure while listening to your favorite playlist?
  • End your meditation by focusing on nothing but your breath. Try to block out little extra noise (that’s why headphones are nice) and just breathe. Feel your chest expand and contract very slowly, letting your heart rate drop. This feels so awesome and will help you fall asleep faster as your body completely relaxes.
  • Don’t want to worry about all this ^ and just listen to someone tell you what to do? If you have Spotify, look up “Meditation Minis” and listen to any of them to help you get into your chill-out zone. Otherwise, YouTube has hundreds of free meditation videos ranging anywhere from 5 minutes to over an hour. Find what YOU like and stick to it!

Send a Card to Someone

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We easily forget to do this in this day and age. People are so glued to their devices that they forget about putting pen to paper. Who in your life deserves a handwritten note? You should be able to find at least one person worth writing for. Take 10 minutes out of your day to zone out and just vent all the reasons why you love this person / are thanking them. Put it in an envelope, slap a stamp on it, and send it off. People love these kind of sentiments – they mean so much more than a text or social media post. It’ll help you feel more connected to someone who means a lot to you and to take a step back in your busy life.

Go for a Walk

Even if it is just 10 minutes around campus, put some headphones in, turn your phone on silent and just enjoy the fresh air. Sometimes all we need is some head space to reboot our boggled brains, and doing this can seriously help. Whether you’re studying for an exam or trying to cram in more “to-dos”, give yourself a break now and then to take some deep breaths outside and move around. Let your brain focus on nothing but the sky, the trees, the ground, the people passing by, and so on.

Spend 5 Extra Minutes in the Shower to Zone Out

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I’m sure a lot of you have done this, but do it more if you’re starting to get stressed! Letting hot water run over you as your mind just blanks out is actually so refreshing (and we all know it). Stop thinking about your work scheduled, homework list, and whether Stacy’s text was passive aggressive or not. This is YOU time!

Give Yourself a Pat on the Back!

Smile at yourself in the mirror more. Tell yourself, “HEY! You’re awesome!” cause you need to hear it. Give yourself a confidence boost by thinking of a few things each day you strive at. Remind yourself you’re doing great things for yourself and reflect on how much you’ve grown since _________. Your opinion of yourself is the most important one!

Go ahead and try at least ONE of these tips this week (preferably each day) in order to restart your head. You need (and deserve!) it.

 

Written by Hannah Garrett on 11/13/2017

 

 

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Motivation Monday: Utilizing 3 Minutes

Happy Monday everyone!

I hope you jumped out of bed this morning with energy, let your feet hit the floor, and took off running (not literally) into your day. If not – which is probably most of you – it’s totally understandable. Not everyone is as energetic and hyper as I am in the morning. I’ll be the first to admit that I am not absolutely perfect when it comes to getting up and starting my day though. Some days I’ve felt like a human slug, slowly moving out of bed and grumpily making a cup of coffee. This morning, although I was energetic and happy to start my day, I tried the 3 minute technique.

I recently learned about this on a podcast that I listen to. You try to take 3 minutes out of your day to do something good for you mentally to relax your mind, set intentions and keep you thinking positively. We often focus our attention on our physical health, with working out and nutrition, but tend to forget to give ourselves a mental check-up. Here are some ideas for the 3 minute technique for you to try each and everyday. (Cause let’s be honest, we ALL have 3 minutes in our day!)

1. Meditation

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I tried doing this one this morning. It’s very hard to actually vacate your mind from thoughts but it’s very possible to put your mind at ease. Set a timer on your phone for 3 minutes, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Acknowledge any random thoughts that slowly start to seep in about your day, but dismiss them and return to focusing on your breath. This will help you start out your day feeling calm and determined to get things done.

2. Journal Brain Dump

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Even if you don’t have a journal, grab a piece of paper and just start writing everything and anything that comes into your mind. Set a timer for 3 minutes and don’t stop until it goes off. This can help you vent out any unspoken issues you’re keeping locked up inside your mind and release your stress. You can ponder it for a few seconds after your time is up, but continue on with your day knowing you already took time out to ruminate on your life problems.

3. Dance It Out

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Turn on your favorite song (preferably 3 minutes) and dance like CRAZY until it’s over! Sometimes you just need to shake out all your worries and get your blood flowing. Don’t focus on anything else except dancing like nobody is watching (cause hopefully nobody is). Really get into the song and act like you’re auditioning to be Beyoncé’s back-up dancer.

 

Those are just a few simple ideas for this awesome mental trick, but the options are unlimited. Find what makes YOU feel most relaxed and ready to take on your day. As long as you try, you’ll likely feel better about how to handle your busy schedule, stressful classes, and other life dilemmas.

Have a great Monday!!

 

Written by Hannah Garrett on 3/13/2017