An instruction manual for the hardest days

Finding edelweiss on a hike in the Swiss Alps

Breathe in, then out – five big breaths into your belly. Slowly get up, stretching your arms above your head.

Put your phone somewhere out of your sight for a while. A drawer works well for this. I’m convinced that ignoring my phone is both a cause and a result of feeling well.

Drink a full glass of water. Then another if you can. It can seem like nothing, but hydration has a knack for helping everything. It’s the same with most of the smallest, most fundamental things that are the first to drop when we are struggling.

Shower and imagine the tiredness and stagnant energy washing off you and down the drain. Put on clean clothes that help you feel awake and part of the world, but still comfy.

Be proud of yourself for doing all of this. Keep going if you can, at your pace and with no rush.

Tidy up your living space for just five minutes. Open the windows, no matter the weather outside. Put plates in the dishwasher. Put laundry in the machine. Take out the trash.

Get outside for any reason. Walk around the block and then come back. Even if it’s only a few minutes, that’s fine. Keep going if you can manage it.

Eat something nourishing, sitting at a table and without scrolling through the curated allure of other people’s lives. Avoiding social media really will make you feel better, even if today you’re on Netflix instead. But books can be priceless companions on days like these.

Find nature around you and spend a minute just looking at it – an old gnarled oak tree, a daisy growing between the slabs in the pavement, a blackbird building its nest above your doorstep. Watch nature continuing around you and remember that you belong here too, quietly caring for yourself and moving towards the sun.

On the hardest days, forget about productivity. Ignore thoughts of what you would be doing if you were feeling balanced, healthy, and like your usual self.

Your job today is different. The smallest things are the big things and taking care of yourself is the best use of your attention. If obligations are getting in the way of this, try to drop what’s unnecessary.

Care for and freshen up your body and environment. Escape the digital pollution on your devices and treat your mind to something more grounding and balancing.

Anything else is a bonus today.

2 Enjoy this article?
Lucy Fuggle
I'm Lucy – an adventurer, writer, author of Mountain Song: A Journey to Finding Quiet in the Swiss Alps, and creator of Live Wildly.

Share This

Copy Link to Clipboard

Copy