10 really easy things you can do every day that will actually improve your life
We all want to live our best lives.
But sometimes, some days, this feels just like a distant dream, doesn't it? You know what I am talking about. Those days when you never even get to tick one thing off your to-do list, when the house is a mess, when work sucked, or you know, you have run out of pods for the Nespresso machine.
The thing is, though, stress will always be part of our lives – and some days, well, they just suck.
But insead of feeling sorry for ourselves, there are ways to turn things around, to feel more in control of our lives, even on days when everything seems to be anything but. These may seem like small tasks, but try them out, make them a habit, and soon you'll see just how big a difference they can make to your day:
1. Make your bed every day
If you haven't yet gotten into this habit, now is a good time to start. Making your bed in the morning starts your day off on a productive note, which is great for making you feel like you are running your day, not the other way around. Another bonus? Come evening time, it will feel so nice crawling into a lovely made-up bed.
(Picture via H&M Home)
2. Break a sweat
The hardest part is actually making it out the front door, but once you've gotten started, you'll be so glad you did something to keep your body active. And the beauty is that it doesn't have to be complicated – do any kind of excersise you like. Go for a run, catch a yoga class, take a brisk walk, play football with the kids, it doesn't matter, as long as you get your pulse up and break a sweat. Bonus? The endorphins will make you feel happier and better about your entire life in an instant.
3. Keep on top of your finances
Few things cause as much stress and misery as money worries, which is why you should make it a habit to check in with your finances if not daily, than at least once a week. In these days of just tapping cards and buying most things online, it can be easy loose track of where the money is going and what you have left to do you for the rest of the month.
One easy way of keeping on top of things is to make it a habit to check your online banking one evening a week. This way you not only get a quick overview over what you have, but you also get a chance to look back over your last week, and maybe realise where you are over-spending and what you can cut back on.
4. Speed-clean your kitchen
Getting up in the morning to a messy kitchen is not a great start to anyone's day, I think we can all agree. Make a habit out of giving your kichen a little once-over before heading to bed every night, and you will no doubt feel like your day is off to a great start tomorrow morning. Bonus? Studies have actually shown that we tend to eat better and healthier in a tidy environment than in a messy one, so chances are you'll be making better food choices now too.
5. Get up half an hour before anyone else
This trick is my own go-to for making sure I feel like I have started my day right and feel on top of things from the word go. By setting my alarm for half an hour before I really need to get up, I can make sure I not only get a headstart on our day by having things like breakfast and lunchboxes ready before the kids get up, but that I also have a few minutes every morning where it is just me, no-one tugging or pulling or asking for something. My alone time in the morning is sacred. I make some hot water with lemon (my favourite morning drink) and curl up in my favourite chair to drink it while mentally planning my day before it actually starts.
(Image via Camillapihl.no)
6. Call someone you love
Texts and Whatsapps and snaps are all great and fun and practical at times, but nothing can beat hearing the voice of someone you care about and who care about you. Just try it and you'll see – even a speedy five minute call can have the power to completely change you mood and outlook on things.
7. Put your phone down
Isn't it ironic how so many features of smartphones are designed to decrease your stress, help you stay organsed and on top of things and in control – and yet so many of us allow ourselves to let our phones make us feel stressed and anxious. E-mails that tick in at all times, messages that require responding, pictres you need to see and like; it all makes us addicted to our phones and having them nearby at all times.
However, many studies have now pointed out the importnance of spending time disconnected from our phones in order not only to feel better and less stressed, but also to have time to focus on other things, like actual conversations with people, some tech-free me-time or just a book or magazine.
8. Do one thing at the time
This might sounds a little simplistic, and also impossible, maybe, to most mothers, but it's actually true: focusing on just one thing at a time will not only make more effective, but also feel more in control. When we try to do multiple tasks at once, our brain cannot focus properly and we end up feeling overwhelmed and stressed. So try this: Focus on – and finish – each task, be it sending that e-mail or cleaning the bathroom sink, before you start on the next, and you'll soon see how much more you get done.
Being in a messy environment can make anyone feel stressed or down. So try every day to keep on top of your clutter – it accumulates fast, especially in busy family homes. Clean out the fridge – and you'll get an overview of what you have and need, saving you time and money when you go shopping. Throw out old newspapers, magazines, junk mail. Grab a basket and move quickly through the house, picking up stuff that has been left somewhere it doesn't belong. Be ruthless about what you need and what stuff you are just holding onto for habit or hoarding tendencies alone.
10. Buy fresh flowers for yourself
This one is such a small, yet powerful tool in feeling happier and better about everything. Fresh flowers are a treat everyone should bestow upon themselves once a week (you'll get a week out of them) and they will brighten up your home in an instant. Make a habit out of picking up a bunch on Friday, so the house looks lovely for the weekend, or buy a bunch on a Monday, to have something pretty to look at all week.