Need a pick-me-up? Looking for a quick jolt so you can study or get a report done or just get through an insanely full day? I’m talking about those situations in which you have to stick with what you’re doing … even though you’d rather close your eyes and go to sleep. Or run off to Tahiti.
I suppose Starbucks, Red Bull, a smoke or a chew of nicotine can keep a person going. But I can’t have caffeine and I don’t smoke. Now what?
Or what if you’re just feelin’ down? No ideas, the monotony button is on high. You’re bored. Life’s balloon has lost its air. It’s popped or pooped out completely. I’m not talking here of severe depression or serious mental issues. I’m not talking about procrastination or wasting time. I’m talking about dealing with a funk or the blahs while life has to keep moving.
When you feel like you need a moment, a pick-me-up or a renewal on your life’s lease, what do you do? Here’s a few things that work for me … it might be a quick stolen moment or a longer breather.
1. Meet a friend. Recently, I’ve met with a friend who is working on her second book. Another who just had a short story published. Yet another with major health issues who keeps engaged with life. These friends energize and inspire me. And if one of us arrives in the doldrums, we help each other.
2. Read … something light. I just read this novel by John Martel. It’s a mystery and courtroom story told by protagonist Billy Strobe, a young lawyer from Enid, Oklahoma. His moral compass swings a little close to the edge. The story has more zigs and zags than the switchbacks on Mt. Whitney. It all comes together when Billy faces a real moral dilemma which will determine the kind of person he wants to be.
3. Walk through a favorite store. There’s a local antique shop called “In the Hutch.” On a recent walk through, I enjoyed seeing the stuff my grandmother had in her kitchen, the furniture from the 1950’s, the old glassware. I bought an English bone china cup and saucer with Lilies of the Valley on it. Why? It reminded me of the flowers my mother liked. Oh, and it was pretty.
4. Do something for someone else. It doesn’t have to be earth-moving. As I was shopping in our local Ralph’s market, I saw an elderly lady trying to reach a can of mandarin oranges on a top shelf. She was quite short. I’m quite tall. So the obvious happened. I took the small can of mandarin oranges down for her and we chatted for a moment. Felt good.
5. Get out of the four walls. Here’s where a good walk comes in. Or a leisurely drive or a bike ride. There’s a drive I can take from my home that leads through the desert where developers’ creep hasn’t happened yet. Huge date palms line each side of the road. A small date processing company advertises date shakes. Plowed fields are ready for the next planting. An unleashed dog wanders down a dirt lane. A small house, a few vehicles in various states of repair parked in the yard, nestles back from the road. It’s quiet.
6. Write. It’s calming to write in a journal or send an email. Even writing a shopping list can bring organization to loose ends. If you’re a writer, you have to write daily to feel full, even if it’s only six sentences a day as a friend of mine did until she had the first draft of a short story or 15 minutes a day as another friend did while juggling professional and family commitments.
7. Drink water. It’s energy and renewal in a bottle. I carry a bottle of water in my purse and in the car. When I’m at the computer, I have a bottle of water nearby, sitting on a black marble coaster. Engraved on the coaster is “Women Running Wild, 5K Run and Walk.” Yeah.
8. Exercise. A quick 15 or 30 minutes on a treadmill feels good. A stretch can remove kinks, physical and mental. I do a stretch routine I learned at “Curves.” The stretch doesn’t take long and no equipment is needed.
9. Give a hug. To a spouse, a partner, a child. Or yourself.
10. Lastly and often, I give myself a pep talk. “Girlfriend – just put on your big girl panties and get on with it.”
All of the above give me a pick-me-up or create a breather. They can take me “out of myself,” jolt my creative me, and fill up the fortitude. And you? Love to know what you’ve found works for you.