Welcome to Belle’s Guide to Work & Life, a biweekly column written by Belle Rose. The column will run every other Thursday and cover topics like how to behave in the workplace. You can follow Belle by adding her on Facebook.
One of my favorite mantras goes like this: “Do something valuable today. You are exchanging one day of your life for it.”
Last Tuesday morning I was awakened by a mind-numbing, eye-torturing migraine. Everything hurt: my head, my neck, even my teeth. My only motivation for getting myself up was to wash the pain away with a strong cup of coffee, but when I removed the pot to fill it with water I realized that the $9 machine I purchased from Target was broken. In hindsight I’m not surprised even though I had bragged about my bargain, but I was certainly angry in the moment. Determined not to let this ruin my day, I took two Excedrin Migraine, showered, and drove myself through Dunkin Donuts for a quick fix. The day was looking up. As the bell rang to signal first period and students would soon be entering my classroom, I noticed beads of sweat forming on my forehead. The air conditioning was broken.
Ever have mornings like these? It seems as if everything goes wrong. Every time you see a little light at the end of the tunnel, it’s crushed by an oncoming train. By the end of that day, I wanted to hit stop, rewind, and do it all over again no matter what the butterfly effect would be. Everything about that morning was just off. I didn’t want to do anything valuable. I wanted a complete redo. Unfortunately, the nature of most of our jobs leaves little time to regroup when we’re feeling frazzled. Most of us are expected to be bright-eyed and smiling all day. In my case, one hint at a bad mood evokes a chorus of thirty students asking, “What’s wrong?!”
Here are a few ideas to brighten your mood when you only have five minutes.
- Pour yourself a cup of hot tea. Spend five uninterrupted minutes breathing in the aroma and allowing the warm liquid to soothe your soul.
- On a sheet of paper, list five things you are grateful for or five things you are looking forward to. If you have time, do both. A simple exercise in gratitude will help your brain to fire feel-good chemicals and reduce the stress-producing ones.
- Turn on one of your favorite upbeat songs. Sing and dance the stress away! If you can’t manage this due to space or sound restraints, a good pair of headphones and visualization goes a long way. It truly is the thought that counts.
- Close your eyes. Acknowledge the fact that you had a bad morning and then gently remind yourself that you are more than capable of making the rest of the day productive. Give yourself three reasons why you are competent and three ways in which the day is going to get better. Speak to yourself as you would a good friend. Do not bash yourself. Sometimes a refreshing pep talk is all you need and often you have to be the one to deliver it.
- If the above fails, visit Pinterest and view the ‘Animals’ category.
After completing one of these five things, you should be good as new. Remember, your day is too valuable to spend the entire thing in a bad mood. Migraines happen, coffee pots break, but that doesn’t mean you have to exchange an entire day of your life for it.
Your turn! What do you do when you have only five minutes to modify your mood?