5 Ways to Hit the Refresh Button on Your Life
by Annie Ellertsen
“Just hit refresh. See what happens.”
How many times have you pushed that little icon on your device of choice? Either one of two things happens, either everything is simpatico, and your page is ready to rock, or you get that blank thinking page for however long with the ‘spinning wheel of doom’ as I call it. Now, what about the refresh button on yourself, your day-to-day, your emotions? I don’t know about you, but as we creep towards those first days of spring, the stagnant energies of winter still seem to cling to me, and motivating myself to re- energize, and welcome new beginnings, whatever they may be, feel like a chore. Getting stuck while waiting for that spinning wheel to fade and get back on track is something we don’t always want to admit, but it’s time to make like a Taylor Swift song, shake it off, and hit our internal refresh button, with a good wifi signal. If these tips don’t resinate with you, my hope is that you get inspired to find your own unique way to restart.
1) Go Back to Basics
If you’re into group fitness, YouTube fitness, etcetera, you probably have that one class that fits right in the pocket. You show up, you got the rhythm down, the people know you...but sometimes, things go into verbatim mode, and if you want to spice it up, you start to think, “what if I leveled up?” If that idea absolutely terrifies you, tap it back, and head into an entry level class. Maybe you take it at the place you frequent, or maybe you go full-on incognito, and drop in somewhere in a different neighborhood, and you know nobody. Just once. Set up in the back of the room, or to the side, and as you go through the practice, enjoy how insanely far you have come. Celebrate how your are moving, how strong you are, your overall confidence. When you decide to level up, if that frustration kicks in, humble yourself. Remind yourself of where you started, and how you have dedicated time and love into your health and happiness. Quietly whisper it to yourself if you need to. And if you are currently in an entry level, you are my hero, keep moving, and totally dip into this tip by trying that teacher you’ve been curious about, or go the incognito way at a new place.
2) Leave Your Devices
As an 18 year old in the early 2000‘s heading off to college with my first cell phone, a silver Nokia brick, SWORE I’d never become one of those people who’s phone was an extension of my hands. I’d leave it in my dorm on purpose, I’d give friends my land line number instead of my cell, (I was one of the last schools to have a wall phone in the dorm rooms,) and I was APPALLED when I received my first text. I didn’t even know what it was. Why didn’t my friend just call me? I was having a hard enough time getting calls from 100 feet away asking, “I’m here, where are you?” It probably cost me five dollars too. Flash forward however many years later. I’m on my 4th make of the iPhone, keep everything essential and then some on it, and even when I don’t need to, I scroll. I play solitaire when I have no wifi. I have my earphones in...with nothing playing. Now, the way our lives are, we definitely rely on our devices for certain things, and that’s ok. However, trying digital detoxing was something I knew I had to do, but if I’m in my apartment...and my phone is too...my hand will most definitely find it. How could I actually make this change?
City life has me reliant on the laundromat. So one day, I grab my dirty clothes and my soap, and left my phone up in my apartment. It only took me about an hour, and yes, the first few times were a little jarring. I realized without it, just how many times I reach for it. After a few tries, surprisingly, it became freeing. I called my Nokia my leash, so my smartphone must be a full-out strait jacket. Just going through the process of a mundane task, I was becoming more present. I breathed a little deeper as I dropped in some essential oil, I felt the coolness of the quarters as I put them into the machine. It sounds small, and I’m not saying it was euphoric, but being fully present for a chore was oddly uplifting. And then I’d hear someone else’s phone vibrate, and would reach for my pocket on reflex. Oops. Now I often leave my phone when I’m in my neighborhood. Going to the farmers market with a handwritten list, getting lunch with my neighbor, picking up my prescription at the drugstore around the corner. Those bite sized times without any ready distraction is now one of my favorite ways to be fully present.
3) Get out. In the Other Direction.
I stomp the exact same paths almost every day. It’s like being a hamster running on a wheel. On an unseasonably warm winter day, the spring tease was calling me. I stepped outside for a break, and found myself tracing the familiar. Too familiar. So I turned the corner. I had walked down that block before, but it’s not an everyday occurrence, and even though I was in my own neighborhood, it felt refreshing to have a change of scene. Us New Yorkers are creatures of habit. I chuckled at the mint green limestone home that was almost done being built, found a new little coffee house that I made a note to try, and as tiny as those things were, I felt better. Bonus points if you leave your phone for this one too. This could also be something like leaving five minutes earlier to walk to the further subway station, taking the scenic route if you drive, or walking to your Chinese food place to pick up your order, instead of getting it delivered. When it’s park weather, (soon!) pick a spot 100 feet away from your usual place. The point is to give yourself a little space to explore, not even far, and to take in what you have around you, beyond your routine, and what’s expected of you on a day-to-day basis. Look up.
4) Do It Yourself, (for others too!)
Anyone else find themselves in the DIY Pinterest vortex? I’ve fallen victim too many times. Although I don’t aspire to completely switch over into that universe, nor do I want to repurpose and EOS lip balm into a minion, or have to purchase anything new ingredients in order to make a DIY, I love the idea of creating something simple with my hands that I can use to care for myself, and maybe find a new favorite, and therefore cross off one more thing on my list of things I have to buy, and therefore save some money, and the positive benefits keep rolling in. (Some of us Drunk Yoga employees took to our Instagram stories last Christmas, focusing on the topic of abundance. Using up my abundance for self care was something that kept turning up for me, so I’m continuing to run with it). There have been a ton of caffeinated self care products on the market, so when I decided to jump into the Pinterest black hole, I typed in Coffee Beauty DIY. Up popped a ton of recipes for scrubs that only required used coffee grounds, and one or two other ingredients that were already in my pantry. After trying coffee grounds and coconut oil for an all over face and body scrub, and absolutely loving the results, it made me think of my coffee connoisseur friend who used to be my roommate. When I went out to visit her in the suburbs, I whipped up some scrub and put it in an old Chinese food soup container. Giving always feels great, and random acts of kindness are just good to do, and often. It doesn’t have to be christmas or a birthday to share something simple, and pass a treat onto others. Yet, no matter how well I know this fact, I don’t often practice that motion. It cost me nothing to make, she loved it, and now we like to let each other know about our new coffee grounds beauty concoctions. It’s a simple way to stay connected, especially since she moved out.
5) Flip your Routine
If I’m in a routine, I’m IN IT. I am a sleepy robot. Hit snooze, get up, haphazardly pull my blankets over my crumpled sheets, and beeline to the kitchen for coffee, and everything else. I finished Whole 30 about a week ago, and while I was on it, found myself in my kitchen all the time, especially in the morning. All the food prep, cooking, blending, eating, I absolutely loved the process, the complete care I was taking of myself...but it was a long time in there every morning, and as a result, everything else got cut short. My shower, dressing, my makeup, which would sometimes be...just enough time for deodorant. I’d leave for the day well fed, but feel a little discombobulated. Why do I let myself hit the snooze? So today, I hit up my bathroom first. I let myself indulge in my habits that I let go some. Longer shower, pore strip, lavender moisturizer with just a squirt of self tanner, even in the winter. Surprisingly, by the time it was time to feed my face, there was no hanger. And because I’m no longer on such a strict regimen, my prep time was a heck of a lot shorter. Granted, there is always that five minutes before leaving where there is much rushed hustling. However, that small, conscious change made me feel more pulled together, and yes, refreshed, than I have in a while.
May this list leave you inspired. While there’s no magic in any of these tips, nor will everything work for everyone, (number two definitely can stir some surprise anxiety,) I hope this creates space in your life to make a few alterations, and yes, hit refresh on your life, routine, and well-being.