5 Life Hacks to Help You Get Back On Track This Spring
Want a shortcut to improve your happiness? How about some public speaking tricks that can help you feel at ease in front of a crowd? Or maybe you could benefit from some grounding techniques to help you de-stress? Since spring is all about rejuvenation and growth—and a great opportunity to check in on our New Year’s resolutions—we thought we’d share some of our favorite life hacks to help you start (or re-start) healthy, new habits this year.
1. Your shortcut to sanity begins with this simple question
In a recent interview with Gretchen Rubin, author and comedian Annabelle Gurwitch shared one of her so-called “shortcuts to sanity”: “I ask myself: How important is it?” Gurwitch says this provocative question has no right or wrong answers, but rather it prompts consideration that can lead to developing a fresh perspective on a situation or thought.
An example Gurwitch cites is an issue with a friend she had; while she considered ending the friendship, she ultimately realized that the friendship—and the circle of friends she was a part of—were more important to her than the disagreement. Once she realized that, she says, her answer was simple: she needed to work on repairing the friendship.
The takeaway: Consider the importance of the thought or situation causing you anguish, and respond accordingly.
2. Remember that fitness starts with small steps forward
The next time you start beating yourself up over skipping workouts because you don’t have enough time in your day, or thinking you need the ideal class or program to get fit, stop! Remember that any exercise is better than no exercise, and anytime you can move your body is a win for your health. In fact, researchers found that just 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity a week can lower one’s overall risk of heart disease by 14%. That’s a big payoff for just 21 minutes a day of average activity.
Want some inspiration to help guide and motivate you? Since building healthy habits is all about curbing inertia, follow an exercise plan that makes it really easy to start, like Couch to 5k. Couch to 5k is an app designed to get people in all different states of physical fitness from the couch to running 5 kilometers in just 8 weeks. Couch to 5k works by starting with small goals to gradually get the body moving, then incrementally increasing the challenge. During the first week, users alternate between walking and running for just a few minutes, and by the final week, they are running 30 minutes non-stop.
The takeaway: Even a little exercise is better than no exercise at all.
3. Quell anxiety with these grounding techniques
We all know what anxiety feels like, whether we experience it only when we’re threatened, or on a daily basis for seemingly no good reason. When we’re anxious, it’s easy to become dysregulated—meaning we allow ourselves to react without pausing. Decisions made from a dysregulated state are impulsive and often shortsighted, and we tend to regret them later (think about the last time someone asked you to do something and you felt cornered).
Thankfully, our friends at Talkspace have provided a few techniques to help you bust anxiety and stay regulated. Try one or both of these techniques the next time you’re in a stressful situation:
- Focus on your breath by practicing “Boxed Breathing.” Here’s how it works: breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds, and hold for 4 seconds. Repeat this cycle until you feel grounded. Deep, intentional breathing can reduce anxiety by increasing the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system.
- Engaging your senses during a stressful situation can help you self-regulate, similar to breathing exercises. The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, try engaging all 5 senses through a “5, 4, 3, 2, 1 exercise”: Notice 5 things, physically feel 4 things, hear 3 sounds, notice 2 smells, and identify 1 taste. This simple trick will help you bring your awareness back to the present moment by focusing on physical sensations.
To prevent stress and anxiety from creeping up on you in general, focus on your physical wellbeing with these 2 tips:
- Stretch when you wake up and before you go to bed to help your muscles let go of tension. Starting a daily stretching routine can help you become less stressed over time by helping you feel more comfortable and at ease in your body.
Pro tip: Focusing on your breath while stretching can help you feel more focused and allow you to notice tension and stress leaving your body.
- Exercise daily to boost your endorphins and reduce the stress hormones adrenaline & cortisol. By focusing on our breathing and muscle movements, physical exercise has the ability to put us in a “flow state” where we detach from our thoughts and simply focus on the task at hand.
Pro tip: Aerobic exercises have the tendency to elevate our mood and bust more stress than stationary workouts, like weight lifting. Also, working out with a group of friends has been shown to lower stress by 26%, so sign up for a group fitness class or invite a few friends on your next run!
The takeaway: Regulating your nervous system can help you stay calm in stressful situations.
4. Rock your next public speaking event
Very few people enjoy public speaking. In fact, one survey found that aside from snakes, it’s the thing Americans are most afraid of. But whether it’s speaking up in weekly meetings or giving a presentation, most of us find ourselves in a public speaking situation semi-regularly. Here are a few tips from career-building website The Muse to help you speak with confidence and grace during your next group event:
- Pick one person in the crowd to make eye contact with while you speak, then move on to another person. Delivering a speech this way will feel more intimate and less intimidating.
- Memorize your first and last lines. This will ensure you start and end strong, even if you stumble during the meat of your speech. Try not to memorize your entire speech word for word, as this will likely sound unnatural.
- Slow down and pause if you start to feel nervous. When we’re insecure, we tend to speak faster, but slowing down your speech or even pausing can give you time to collect your thoughts and breathe.
Pro tip: Pause after an especially important point to add dramatic emphasis.
The takeaway: Becoming comfortable with public speaking takes time and practice, and even the pros use tricks!
5. Create a morning ritual to start your day off right
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? If you’re like 60% of Americans, it’s checking your phone. But scrolling through social media or reading emails before even getting out of bed can make it difficult to prioritize the day’s tasks, and can cause you to carry over a pattern of stress and pressure from the day before.
According to bestselling authors and professional life coaches Marc and Angel Chernoff, “When you begin a day mindfully, you lay the foundation for your day being calm and centered, regardless of what’s going on around you.” Instead of reaching for your phone as soon as your alarm goes off, the couple recommends this morning mindfulness ritual to start your day off right:
- Take ten deep breaths before getting out of bed
- Stand up and stretch
- Meditate for 10 minutes
After 30 days, you can add another 2 breaths and 2 minutes of meditation to the ritual if you find it’s becoming easier.
The takeaway: How you wake up in the morning can set the tone for your entire day. Developing an intentional morning ritual can help you stay cool, calm, and collected as the day unfolds.
Rejuvenate your body this spring at Granite Bay Cosmetic
Feeling good and looking good often go hand-in-hand. Now that you have the life hacks you need to reset your mind, why not rejuvenate your body? Granite Bay Cosmetic Surgery offers injectables, premium skincare, and so much more to help you ring in spring with a fresh new glow. Contact us online or call (916) 242-2662 to schedule a personal cosmetic consultation with one of our female plastic surgeons today.