1. Stop eating lunch at your desk and taking breaks in the kitchen — walk to the nearest park and lay on the grass for 20 minutes. Eat on a bench with a view you enjoy. A power packed meal and some fresh air or sunlight is an instant, irreplaceable reboot.
2. Take a day-long road trip to somewhere you’ve never been. (The other day, I went hiking around waterfalls — it was incredible and worth the trip, needless to say.) Look at the towns and houses on your way there, imagine what those people’s lives are like. Eat at a diner in a place you’ve never heard of, watch the people there.
3. Get lost somewhere. Don’t journey back for the sake of being found, but for the sake of seeing. When you don’t know where you’re going, you pay most attention to what’s at hand.
4. Do or plan to do something that immediately forces your attention to be in the moment. Bike through a trail you’ve never been on before, take an interesting exercise class outside. Plan your next big trip to be a week-long hiking adventure. When it’s new, you’re attentive, and when it’s outside, you’re instantly more relaxed.
5. Understand that connecting to the world usually requires disconnecting from your screens that show you selected projections of the world, so do that. Go for a walk without music, step on the grass barefoot, put your hands in the water if you live near any lakes or rivers, leave yourself nothing to do but be present.
6. Be mindful of what you eat. Consider what’s in it, don’t just count calories. Keep a food journal and log how making healthier choices affects your mood and your day overall. Replace coffee with a super nutritious breakfast.
7. The next time you want to go out with a friend, plan for a personalized walking tour of a part of a city they’ve never been to, or a trail you’ve never seen. Show each other what you know, stay outside, keep moving, and connect with one another all at the same time.
8. When you’re lagging on inspiration for the day, stare out the window for a while if you’re unable to actually go outside and take a walk. Stop thinking about whatever it is you’re stressing over, it’s much more likely to come to you when you’re distracted by something calmer anyway.
9. Buy yourself flowers. Nice ones, as nice as you’d buy for anybody else. Put them on your desk. Open the windows, light candles. Rather than your usual Pandora station, put on nature sounds of rivers or rain — try to bring as much life force energy in when you’re unable to get out.
10. Go outside. Close your eyes and follow your breaths, don’t force them. Feel your heartbeat. Visualize yourself as more than the compilation of your thoughts and organs and blood and bones. Imagine each one of those things, and realize that there is something more there within the sum of them. Let that part of you connect to the other parts that match it, in the world and in other people.
11. Spend a day with no makeup, no synthetic props, air dried hair, natural food and water, and see what it’s like to be as you are. So much stress in our daily lives comes from molding what’s natural into what’s expected and constructed. There’s freedom in letting those ideas go. There’s calmness to be found in going with the literal and metaphorical flow.
12. Get down to eye level when you interact with children and animals. Pick flowers. Stop and look at street art for more than a passing few seconds. Take your headphones out and experience what’s happening outside your mind.
13. Don’t limit yourself to a gym. There’s no reason to schedule yourself indoors for another X number of hours per week. Run outside, even when it’s raining. Plan to do things that you don’t see as “exercise,” but as fun. It will be twice as physically rewarding because you’ll actually want to keep doing it, and it will be a mental break from making yet another aspect of your life monotonous.
14. Learn something about what you experience on a daily basis. Even if it’s as simple and silly as learning about a star constellation via your horoscope and then looking at it when you go outside at night. Look up how your food is made, what your favorite store supports, where your day-to-day consumption comes from. I guarantee you’ll be surprised.
15. Stop distancing yourself by choice. Stop avoiding benches because someone else is also sitting on it. Don’t gaze away from meeting someone’s eye contact. Smile. Say “hi.” Tell them your name. Tell them to have a great day. The separation only exists in your mind.
16. Move. To a new town, to a new city, to a new apartment, to a new job, to an afternoon at a coffee shop rather than at your cubicle. Even if it’s not personally or financially feasible right away, choose a plan of action and make it your goal to work toward it. Stop accepting that your life can only exist as you know it right now. Get out there and see more, do more, become more, know more. It’s all we’re really here for at the end of the day.