8 things you can do every day to feel more calm
While working from home may once have sounded like a dream, being cooped up in your home indefinitely can feel far from relaxing - soon enough you might even start missing that hectic morning routine. But whether you live alone or with your family, here are eight things you can do to feel calmer during this time.
1. Mindfulness and meditation
Being mindful and focusing on the present, rather than worrying about the future, can be an important step in helping you feel calm. Learning how to meditate could bring benefits such as staying positive, balancing your emotions, reducing stress, helping your ability to introspect, and helping productivity. A quick YouTube browse for ‘guided meditation’ will give you plenty of free options if this is something you’d like to try out. There are also some meditation apps on the market such as Headspace, Calm and Aura that are great options if you want to set a reminder or build towards a certain goal. Keeping a journal can also help you stay grounded and assess how you are feeling in the moment. Whether it’s a gratitude journal, where you list one thing you are thankful for every day, or a day-to-day diary where you talk about your feelings, the act of writing can calm you down and allow you to feel more present.
2. Breathing exercises
An important part of mindfulness activities such as meditating and yoga is breathing, however, if you’re not in the mood to do these, spending a few moments focusing on your breath when you’re feeling unsettled could help you come back to the moment and relax. Breathing correctly could also help you feel more energised while relaxing your body and mind. Here’s a deep calming breathing technique you can try a few times a day:
- Sit or stand with your feet firmly flat on the floor.
- Now imagine a triangle that begins at your belly button; the other two corners of the triangle are on your hips. Inside that triangle there is a ball or a balloon.
- When you take a breath in, visualise the breath slowly inflating the ball or balloon. At the top of the breath hold for a few seconds and then release slowly, deflating the ball or balloon and pulling your navel in to your spine
- Repeat this a few minutes and notice any changes in how you’re feeling.
3. Books to read
If you have any time to spare, picking up a book and delving into another world can be a great way to entertain yourself, stay productive and clear your mind. If you don’t have any unread books on your shelf, the New York Public Library has recently created a free access to its 300,000 e-books through their SimplyE app. All you need to do is download the app and browse away!
While having a routine is a great way to stay productive, it can also help you create a calming environment in your house by making your mind and body familiar with daily responsibilities. Set a regular routine by splitting your day up into different parts and trying your best to stick to them. If you feel you need to adapt your routine as you go along that’s totally fine – just find what works best for you in order to bring regularity and calm into your days:
- Wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day: this will help you regulate your body’s natural clock, allowing you to wake up more naturally as the days go on.
- Create a morning routine: have breakfast, get some fresh air, work out, shower and get yourself ready for the day ahead
- Find time for hobbies: try to spend one to two hours a day, whether that’s in the morning, afternoon or evening, to get creative and explore your favourite hobbies and pastimes.
- Create an evening routine: cooking, a nice dinner, self-care, reading or anything else that can help you get your mind off things, relax and take care of yourself before you settle down for the night!
A little self-care time can be a wonderful way to decompress and settle into a calming state of mind. Try adding a few steps into your night-time routine: you could run a bubble bath, use that expensive face mask you’ve been keeping for a rainy day, or give yourself a homestyle mani-pedi. While a few minutes of self-love every day can have a positive impact on your overall attitude, if you have an afternoon, morning or even a whole day free, allow yourself to indulge in a day of ‘me-time’ so that you can feel relaxed and refreshed the next day.
6. Home workout
While there are many obvious physical benefits to exercise, physical activity also causes an increase in endorphin levels, the body’s ‘feel-good’ chemical. It can help you feel more self-confident and energised, can help you sleep better and can also create a sense of clarity and calm post-workout. Though you don’t need any equipment to work out at home, if you’re used to the gym and need a little something extra, consider ordering a few resistance bands to use while you exercise for an added challenge.
Here are a few fitness accounts you can check out for some home workouts that will help you get a sweat on and feel your best:
- Natacha Oceane: Natacha has an Instagram with plenty of free, home workouts that focus on a combination of functional and high intensity moves you can do anywhere! Check out her YouTube channel too for more content.
- Whitney Simmons: Whitney also posts free home workout and high intensity interval training (HIIT) videos on her Instagram and YouTube channel.
- Grace Beverley: Grace is known in the fitness world for her workout programmes and no-fuss approach to exercise. Though her Shreddy app offers many home workouts, she has recently collated all of her free Instagram home workouts into story highlights.
- HIITburn: If you’re wanting to explore some more HIIT, check out HIITburn on Instagram. Though some of their older videos involve gym equipment, their recent content features a variety of HIIT home workouts you can try out for free.
- Cat Meffan: Yoga is also a great option for a home workout that helps you feel calm and Cat’s YouTube channel features a variety of videos of all different lengths and levels for you to try.
7. Goal setting
If you’re having trouble telling the days apart, try setting some goals for yourself and breaking them down into smaller tasks. This can be a great way to avoid getting ahead of yourself and help you keep calm about things that are worrying you. Pick up an old notebook or a piece of paper and write a rough outline of what you’d like to achieve in the next month then split it into more manageable daily and weekly tasks. By focusing on those smaller tasks, rather than the larger end goal, you’ll be able to see daily successes that will eventually lead to the bigger monthly success.
8. Listen to music
Finally, music is a powerful way to disconnect, switch off and counterbalance our ‘always on’ culture. Many forms of music are designed to prompt an emotional response – think love songs for warm, fuzzy feelings, or upbeat rap to get you pumped. There is a song out there that is guaranteed to make you smile and feel good. According to a 2013 study in the Journal of Positive Psychology, people who listened to upbeat music could improve their moods immediately and boost their happiness in just two weeks!
If you have had a demanding or difficult day then one of the most enjoyable ways to wind down and relax has to be listening to music. Select your favourite playlist, run yourself a bath, close your eyes and float away!
2 The song is Marconi Union, ‘Weightless’; The Journal of Positive Psychology, Volume 8, 2013 - Issue 1