1. If you’re walking somewhere, don’t look down.
I discovered this trick when I was a junior in high school as part of a theatre assignment. I honestly don’t remember what the assignment was, or why I had to do this, but it was very eye-opening to me, since it still plays a part in my life almost four years later. People constantly walk with their eyes down; avoiding eye contact with strangers, avoiding interaction with the world, or maybe just making sure they won’t trip. But while they’re watching their feet, they miss out on everything; other people passing by, the weird shaped clouds in the sky, that girl’s hair color that hasn’t been discovered yet in nature, everything. Nothing happens on the ground, unless you’re a bug. Which you are not. Look up. That’s where the action is. You’ve been walking for a really long time; I have confidence that you won’t trip if you don’t stare at your feet every time you take a step.
2. If you’re driving somewhere, roll down the windows (even if it’s freezing)
There are few things I enjoy more than the feeling of a breeze; that feeling of the wind on your face and sort of messing up your hair, but not enough for you to care; seeing, and hearing, the way it shakes the leaves in the trees. If you roll down the windows while you drive, that’s a constant breeze that you’re feeling and it’s incredibly refreshing. Roll them all down and feel the air swirling around in your car. Even if it’s 10 degrees outside, that breeze gives you fresh, crisp air in your lungs to invigorate your body and refresh your mind. Stick your arm out and feel it through your fingers. It’s awesome. But don’t get frostbite.
3. Bake something other than what’s on the box.
Okay so this one might not be free…but if you have a box of brownie or cake mix in your pantry, then this one’s for you. I recently discovered a box of Ghirardelli brownie mix with walnuts in my own pantry but instead of making the brownies, I made Ghirardelli’s Chocolate Overload cookies (basically brownie cookies with extra chocolate chips, and, in this case, walnuts). All you have to do is look online for recipes that include boxed brownie or cake mixes. There are hundreds of different things to make, and for people who don’t usually venture out of their comfort zones in the kitchen, it’s the perfect first step to thinking outside the box — literally. (Sorry, that was lame but I had to). Plus, cracking eggs on your forehead is a great stress-reliever.
4. Pull weeds in your yard.
There’s just something about getting your hands dirty. Digging into the ground and pulling out weeds is not something most people enjoy, but the dirt under your fingernails, an aching back and a pile of dead weeds in the bucket next to you is tangible proof of the work you just did. And if that isn’t satisfying then I don’t know what is. Also, if you’re feeling particularly stressed or upset, just rip the shit out of those weeds. Show them who’s boss. You are. You are the boss of the weeds. Plus, no one wants weeds in their yard so you’ll have to do it eventually.
5. Drink a cold glass of water, or a hot cup of tea.
You know how if you drink something super-cold or super-hot, you can feel it going through your body and into your stomach? I honestly think that’s one of the coolest feelings ever. Drinking ice cold water is not only crazy good for you, but it gives you this feeling and leaves you more refreshed, and more awake than before. Do it in the morning right when you wake up instead of having coffee (cold water wakes up your vital organs (i.e. you) faster than coffee). Then before you go to bed, make yourself some tea and feel the hot water in your esophagus and just relax. Tea bags are probably the greatest way to enhance water, so use them.
6. Look up the hashtag #wordsofwisdomWednesday on Instagram.
This is my new (and by new I mean only) favorite trending hashtag on Instagram. Instead of following a regular “quotes” account, check this hashtag every once in a while to get a huge variety of different pieces of wisdom from all kinds of people; people who’ve experienced the same things as you, and things you could never imagine experiencing, people from whose wisdom you could benefit. Right at your fingertips. Chances are you’ll find that one quote that’ll get you out of today’s rut and in a better mood with a fresh perspective on your day, or even on your life.
7. Look through old photos on your computer or in photo albums.
Next time you’re cleaning out the basement, before just throwing out that photo album you found; before clearing your hard drive, look through it. Look through the pictures of you from your senior year in high school, freshman year of college, first year of marriage. Give yourself a few hours to go “oh my god I cannot believe I wore that”, “remember the way he asked me to prom junior year?”, “I should really call her more often, she and I were best friends”, “this was the night we first kissed,” and more. Revisiting the past, I think, is a step you have to take before you can really move forward from something. Being nostalgic is a part of life, but once something’s over, it’s over, and while the memories are great, holding onto them is only holding you back. These pictures will remind you of who you were then, but the people in them helped you become who you are now.