On the days when the alarm didn't go off, you skipped your shower and were still late to work. On the days that feel completely out of control and you just want to go back to bed and start over, but you've got that big meeting at 3 PM. When there's no time to get your groove back, but something has got to give, or you're going to crash and burn.
Before you send a snarky response to your boss's latest email (I'm not the only one who has done that, right?), PAUSE. This is when you need balance most. While running away and getting a massage isn't an option, you can find balance in 5 minutes or less, so the rest of your day is back in control.
- 1 minute of deep breathing Lock yourself in a bathroom stall if you have to. Sit for 1 minute with your eyes closed and breathe DEEPLY, from your stomach, like you mean it. In through the nose for a count of 5, and out through the mouth for a count of 5. Set a timer on your phone or just repeat the 10 second sequence 6 times. 1 minute of deep breaths will release enough of the built up emotional and physical pressure, that you don't explode when someone forgets the files you needed.
- 2 minute Power Pose Dr. Amy Cuddy's famous TED talk on power poses takes 20 minutes to watch, so let me help you out. Find a conference room that no one's using or lock yourself in that bathroom stall again, and strike a pose. Stand with your feet hip's width apart, shoulders back, hands on hips, back & neck straight. Set your phone timer for 2 minutes and stand like the powerful person you need to be. When you've got time, check out the science, but for now, trust me. It works, and it takes 2 minutes. You'll be able to run your meeting like a boss, instead of a frazzled mess.
- 3 minutes of laughter Those cat videos on the internet finally serve a purpose! Pull up that YouTube video that always makes you laugh or your favorite comedian's stand-up routine, and watch it for 3 minutes. Laughter really is the best medicine and it'll shift your perspective enough that you can focus for the rest of the day.
- 4 minute dance/stretch break Dance it out! Grab a private space and your smart phone, and pull up your favorite dance song, and go! Not the dancing type? Set that timer again for 4 minutes and stretch your body. Touch your toes, twist at the waist, stretch your arms over your head. Physical movement releases feel good chemicals in your brain that will make the rest of the day's challenges much easier to handle.
- 5 minutes outside Never underestimate the power fresh air and sunshine. Step outside for 5 minutes and get yourself some Vitamin D and fresh air. Walk around or just sit on a bench, but leave the phone at your desk for this one so you can truly be in the moment. When you walk back in feeling refreshed, you'll be able to deliver your message with clarity and confidence.
These tips saved me more times than I can count. Not only when those awful, terrible, feel bad days happen, but in the job that sucks the life out of you and makes you forget who you are, these will help you remember. On the days when you're emotional balloon is about to burst and you're either going to scream, cry, quit or all of the above, give yourself 1 minute to breathe or 3 minutes to laugh. Those are the minutes that will fuel you.