Time outdoors

It’s been a bad day. You’re frustrated, tired, anxious, and/or upset. Or perhaps you can’t pour over those numbers or wring words from your brain onto the keyboard for one more moment. You need something to distract your mind, and hopefully help you feel a little better. You need some uplifting distractions.

What do you do in moments like that? Grab some chips or a bowl of ice cream? Flop down in front of the TV to veg? Surely there must be healthier or uplifting distractions that don’t leave you with a higher risk of dying! (Sitting too much can kill you, by the way.)

So here are a bunch of healthier alternatives.

These distractions only take a few moments:

  1. Put in a load of laundry.
  2. Walk outside – whatever the weather – and just stand there, taking deep breaths.
  3. Open your Bible app and read the verse for today.
  4. Take out the trash.
  5. Send a “Thank You” text message to a friend.
  6. Clean the coffee maker by running a “load” of vinegar through it. (And then run water through it twice.)
  7. Get a glass of water.
  8. Get the trash out of your car.
  9. Look out the window and watch the birds or the clouds for a few moments.
  10. Give your dog some loving attention.
  11. Put lotion on your hands or arms.
  12. Wash your glasses.
  13. Walk over and give your spouse a kiss (or send a text message, or call them)
  14. Stand up, shake out your arms, stretch, walk around the room for a few moments
  15. Remind yourself, “This too shall pass.”

Now, wasn’t that better than filling your belly with junk, or getting totally derailed by checking social media?

Here are some distractions that deserve a little more time:

  1. Clean the sinks in the bathroom.
  2. Write out a grocery list for this week.
  3. Change the sheets on your bed.
  4. Put your favorite tune on speaker and sing along, or dance.
  5. Close your eyes and take a 10-minute power nap.
  6. Take a hot shower (to calm down) or a cold shower (to get energized).
  7. Leave early, stop by the library or book store, and pick up something to read.
  8. Plan an evening or event that your spouse will find amazing. Make notes to yourself.
  9. Think of five things and five different people you can be thankful for. Tell them so.
  10. Take your dog for a walk, or engage him in a game of fetch.
  11. Walk outside, find a place to sit, and just watch. Listen.
  12. Read today’s devotional, or a Psalm in the Bible.
  13. Write a hand-written note to your spouse, your child, or a friend, about how much they mean to you.
  14. Make a list of the good things God has done for you.
  15. Give something to someone who needs it, such as a donation to a charity.

You’re really getting the hang of this! Even our little necessary distractions can be uplifting, and mentally, physically, and spiritually healthy.

Here are some to consider when you need a longer period of refreshment:

  1. Take an hour or an afternoon, visit a chapel or church, and pray.
  2. Take a long walk along the beach, creek, river, or lake.
  3. Spend an afternoon or evening playing with a child, focusing just on them.
  4. Explore someplace new with your spouse.
  5. Plan a meal you’ve never made, shop for ingredients, and make it – perhaps with your spouse or a good friend.
  6. Take a good book, find a park, and spend a couple hours reading.
  7. Donate a day to charity: clean the beach or a park, volunteer your accounting or technical skills, or chaperone a group of kids on a field trip.
  8. Join a creative writing class, community music or drama group, or cycling or jogging club.
  9. Go through a couple boxes from the garage.
  10. Go through your closet and drawers for unused items and take to charity.
  11. Spend a whole hour, or an evening, doing nothing but listening to your favorite music.
  12. Visit a day spa, or create a spa day for yourself at home.
  13. Make that amazing event with your spouse a reality. Just do it!
  14. Have an extended conversation with your spouse or a good friend.
  15. Create something: write a song, build something in your yard, paint a picture.

There are surely many more healthier, uplifting distractions. We all need them. If these don’t agree with your style find some that work for you.

Your Turn: What do you do when you need a mental distraction? Do you think it’s a healthy distraction? Leave a comment below.

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