Mindful Sodexo

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  1. Buy a bouquet of flowers. It’s a thoughtful gesture, and you don’t have to wait for someone else to do it for you. Along with brightening your surroundings, it can also boost your mood, reduce stress and increase productivity.
  2. Soak up some sun. Feeling the warmth of sunshine on your skin can lift your spirits, increase alertness and improve school or job performance.
  3. Play a favorite childhood game. Gather around a table for a game of Yahtzee, Monopoly, Scrabble and others favorites with family or friends. It’s a great way to enjoy each other’s company and indulge in a bit of nostalgia.
  4. Do some interior decorating. Buy a new painting or other décor item that makes you happy.
  5. Listen to an uplifting podcast. Try “Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations” or “Good Life Project” just to name a few; there are hundreds.
  6. Go for a bike ride. Re-experience the joy of speeding down the road with the wind blowing through your hair like you did when you were a kid. You don’t have to go fast.
  7. Savor a mindless activity. Ever feel guilty about vegging out to reality TV, watching cute animal videos on YouTube or scrolling through FaceBook or Instagram? Today, give yourself permission to do it and enjoy it.
  8. Head to bed earlier. It’s a luxury that isn’t often enjoyed, but when it is, the benefits are great.
  9. Change your ringtone. Pick a song that makes you smile or an oldie that brings back fond memories. Choose from hundreds of sounds, from holiday and comedy to animal and nature ones. Or, create your own.
  10. Have your car detailed inside and out. A clean car will make commuting or running errands more enjoyable, healthier (no more dust and bacteria) and safer (clear windows and mirrors for better visibility).
  11. Take a guilt-free nap. It’s not a waste of time. A 10- to 20-minute midday snooze can give you more energy.
  12. Lose yourself in a favorite activity. Painting. Playing an instrument. Cooking. Gardening. Cycling. Playing chess. Knitting. When you become so absorbed and engaged in something that you lose track of time, it’s called a state of flow. The more flow you have in your life the happier you are likely to be.
  13. Recall three positives from your day. It’s too easy to get caught up in negative stuff, which brings you down. Instead, reward yourself by focusing on three good things about your day to lift you up.
  14. Volunteer at a school, nursing home, or animal shelter. It may sound more like work than a reward but helping others can help you. Research shows that people who volunteer feel happier with their lives and live longer.
  15. Enjoy your favorite tunes. Whether high-energy dance music or chill-out classical melodies are your jam, take 15 minutes or more and enjoy.
  16. Start your day with wonder. Wake up early and head outside as the sun is beginning to rise. Watch as dark, grey skies transform to blue and violet hues, and then to brighter pinks and yellows as the world awakens.
  17. Test drive your dream car. When you do, take in the full experience. Feel the soft leather as you slide in. Inhale the new car aroma. Experience the control as the car hugs the road around turns. And daydream about owning the car.
  18. Reconnect with a positive person. Call or make a date with someone who always makes you smile and feel good about yourself.
  19. Take a mental health day. Sleep in or get up early. Stay home or go out on an adventure. Spend the day doing only things you truly enjoy.
  20. Walk in nature. It can be in a city or neighborhood park, along a lake or river, or on a hiking trail. Strolling outdoors amongst the greenery for just 20 minutes has been shown to increase vitality and energy levels.
  21. Build a fire. Then sit back and bask in its warmth, glow and crackle. Watching the colorful, dancing flames can be meditative.
  22. Hire a cleaning person. Families with clean, organized homes had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol than those who described their homes as cluttered.
  23. Indulge in a favorite treat. Maybe it’s a night out eating at a nice restaurant, or staying at home with a decadent dessert and gourmet cheese. Whatever you choose, savor it by eating or drinking it slowly, without distractions.
  24. Laugh it up. Whether it’s watching a favorite comedy or YouTube videos of your favorite comedian, spend a half an hour or more cracking up.
  25. Be a tourist. Visit a museum, go to an amusement park, see a play or take in a concert. The memories and social interactions of an experience will last longer than giving yourself material things.
  26. Read a good book. Curl up in a comfy chair with a cup of tea, glass of wine or a beer. Then lose yourself in tale of forbidden love or a murder mystery, whatever genre you prefer.
  27. Star gaze. Head outside tonight and take in the brilliant moon and stars.
  28. Get a personal review. Ask three friends or family members to share with you what they value most about you.
  29. Delegate a task. Pick a chore that you really don’t like doing—washing dishes, making lunches, cleaning the litter box or cutting the grass—and put it on someone else’s to-do list today.
  30. Get a massage. Whether you pay a professional or sweet talk your significant other, skin-to-skin contact causes more of the feel-good hormone oxytocin to be released.

The challenge may be over, but that doesn’t mean you should stop rewarding yourself. Pick your favorite types of rewards, or come up with some news, and practice them regularly for a healthier, happier, more balanced life.

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