How to Reboot During Trying Times

The struggles we face during challenging times can wreak havoc on our psychological and physical well-being. We often become engulfed in a myriad of negative emotions, ranging from fear, anxiety, and irritability to hopelessness, helplessness, and depression. No matter the origin or time span of our crises, we may need to take a step back from the negativity to gain a more results-oriented perspective. Much like a computer, sometimes we need to reboot to get back on track.

What are quick and easy ways to reboot your outlook?

(1)  Get fresh air and sunshine.  There is nothing like spending time outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine to rejuvenate your energy. A healthy dose of both can improve your immune system, relieve stress and anxiety, and give you a greater sense of vitality.

(2)  Center your mind with meditation and prayer.  To clear your mind of information overload and reduce negative emotions, practice meditation. While meditation and prayer have a lot in common, embrace prayer to work through your thoughts with spiritual intent, faith, and hope.

(3)  Spend time with someone who matters.  Seek the companionship of a friend or family member who has a positive influence over you. Choose to be with a person who can boost your happiness, improve your self-worth, and provide a haven to regroup.

(4)  Relax by taking deep breaths.  Whenever you feel overwhelmed, use deep breaths to restore oxygen to your brain and refocus your mind. Not only will simple, deep breathing techniques improve your mood and performance, it will release tension and toxins from your body.

(5)  Listen to uplifting music.  When you listen to music, your brain releases a chemical called dopamine that can alter your mindset.  To keep yourself balanced and in a more positive frame of mind, turn on your favorite uplifting music and enjoy the difference.

(6)  Take 10-minutes for physical activity. To calm your nerves and revitalize your sense of self, take a quick break from the madness to exercise. Do something like go on a short walk around the block, run up and down the stairs, or jog in place to get your juices going and to let go of some of your stress.

(7)  Make room to pamper yourself. Make it a point to pamper or spoil yourself during difficult times.  Find the perfect indulgences such as taking a bubble bath, getting a massage, eating your favorite dessert, watching a good movie…whatever works best for you. Pampering yourself is a guaranteed way to reduce your level of stress and restore your inner strength.

(8)  Visualize something better. For quick relief, take a moment to imagine yourself in a better space and time. Close your eyes and focus on a person, place, or thing that brings you peace and happiness. Soothe your mind and reduce your tension with such images as the sun coming up, the smell of freshy baked cookies, or the sound of rain falling against your window.

(9)  Be creative. Put your talents to the test.  A project involving arts and crafts is a good distraction to the mundane hassles of everyday living. Building a model airplane, knitting a scarf, quilting, making a holiday decoration and more can give you a sense of completion, achievement, and satisfaction that may be lacking in other parts of your life.

(10) Get a snack.  Eat a healthy snack to perk up your mood and give yourself energy. Select a food that will satisfy your hunger between meals without adding on the extra weight. Apples, bananas, raisins, granola bars, and nuts will do the trick to lift your spirits when times get tough.

(11) Unplug from technology. To fully benefit from a well-deserved timeout, set aside your computer, cellphone, and other electronic devices for at least 20 minutes. Learning how to live in the moment is an important coping strategy in today’s world. Disconnect from technology and use this brief period for self-reflection.

(12) Give and get a hug.  Affectionately referred to as the “cuddle hormone”, the levels of Oxytocin in our bodies rise when we hug, touch, or sit close to someone else. Oxytocin is associated with happiness and less stress, so why not give and get hugs from people you love to brighten up your day?

Written by: Patricia K. Flanigan, Smart Strategies for Successful Living

Patricia K. Flanigan has worked in higher education for over 28 years. She holds a doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne as well as a M.A.  in Latin American Studies and B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Before retiring and moving to Idaho in 2015, she served as the dean of online education and learning resources at Saddleback College in Southern California.

She currently consults in higher education, volunteers for AARP, writes for a local magazine, and serves as an Affiliate Faculty member for BSU.  Since February 2017, she has been the founding director for Smart Strategies for Successful Living, a community-based website designed to promote quality aging.  As an educator, her focus is to inspire others to live and age well.