15 ways to improve your day from start to finish

Jan. 30, 2019, 12:14 a.m.

My time thus far at Stanford has been tumultuous to say the very least. Meeting new people, searching for internships and trying to find my calling has been a lot to take on, even without the simple tasks of keeping my grades up and remembering to eat. Time seems to be passing by faster than I can process, and, for a while, I admittedly lost myself in the whirlwind of the clock.

For this reason, winter break was both a blessing and a curse. While being forced to reflect on the time I’ve already lost, I also had the opportunity to focus on how to make my future time here on The Farm better. Attempting to find a way to slow the clock down has, as can be expected, proven to be a difficult task. But as break drew to a close I wrote these tips with a refreshed mind and viewpoint on my future days at Stanford — days, hopefully, spent with more laughter and peace than stress and confusion.

Here are a few tips I’ve found that help brighten my day.

1. Make your bed.

For some reason, starting out my day with a refreshed bed has also aided my ability to start my day with a refreshed mind. Plus, with a cleaner room, you’ll definitely feel more comfortable with inviting that special someone over — it is cuffing season after all.

2. Drink a glass of cold water.

Not only does this boost your metabolism for the day and replenish fluids you lost in your sleep, but it’s also ten times more effective in waking you up than coffee (and everyone knows Winter Quarter is just about when coffee begins to take over).

3. Meditate for ten minutes.

Meditation wasn’t something I started until the end of last quarter. However, it has proven to be truly helpful in relaxing my body and relieving me of stress from the day prior.

4. Stretch or do some yoga for five minutes.

Stretching isn’t just a physical exercise — it’s also mental. Stretching in the morning can help get your mind going and blood pumping, plus you won’t injure yourself riding your bike anytime soon with your sexy upward dog.

5. Listen to music while working out.

I know, I know. Working out can be a drag, especially after a long night of studying for that CS midterm. However, its benefits are self explanatory and much-needed. Plus, I’ve found that the music I play sets the tone for my day. Play something positive. Get yourself going.

6. Wear something comfortable and confidence-inducing.

This doesn’t necessarily mean wear a business suit or dress everyday. Just wear what makes you feel empowered. You never know who you’ll run into or what will come up so it’s best to be prepared (I mean, JLo was just on campus last quarter).

7. Look in the mirror and smile.

Alright, it’s cheesy, I know. But the truth is, positivity is contagious. Just take a deep breath and smile.

8. Eat something refreshing and energizing.

What you put into your body affects your body. So, eat something good for your mind and your heart. Your body is a temple — treat it like one and keep that trash out.

9. Make a to-do list for the day.

This, personally, helps me stay organized mentally. Why stress myself out all day by struggling to remember when that essay is due and what meetings I have at what time and where, exactly, The Flipside is when it takes a single minute to write it down?

10. Bring a water bottle with you throughout the day. Drink from it consistently.

Water is life’s elixir. It helps keep your skin clear, your body awake and, well, you from passing out from dehydration. Just bring that eco-friendly, reusable bottle along with you to Math 51. There’s no reason not to.

11. Smile at strangers. Spread positivity.

Alright, I know, I know — tourists are constantly on campus and there are times when you’re running late and all you want to do is get to that Econ lecture. But, at one point, you were one of those starstruck people, too. Make them feel welcome; they might be your classmates one day (or your business partners), who knows?

12. Record things that make you smile throughout the day.

Jeez, wow, that lady in TAP said “have a great day!” before you left for yet another dreaded PWR class. But I’ve found that these small things can mean a lot when I add them up. So, just take a second, jot it down. If it made you smile, it was positive, and that’s worth remembering.

13. Call someone important to you.

Being away from home can be tough for a lot of people. That doesn’t mean it has to be, though. Take a walk, go outside for a little bit, and just call someone important to you. Chances are it’ll make you smile, too.

14. Turn off your phone for 30 minutes. Read, watch a movie, relax.

My phone played a a prominent role in my day-to-day life last quarter, from social media to constant email notifications, to texts checking with my friends about “what the moves are” for the tenth time it seems. We have them at our side all day, everyday. So, for just 30 minutes, turn that incredibly technologically-advanced brick off and take a breather.

15. Reread the positive things you recorded before going to bed.

That’s right, all of them! Like I said, the small things add up. What better way to end the day than to remember them? I mean, I’d definitely prefer dreaming about that than stressing over CS 106A and having nightmares about Karel.

More likely than not, these tips aren’t for everyone (I can barely wake up early enough to workout, meditate, do yoga and eat before my 9:30 Math 51 lecture). But if even incorporating a single aspect into your day-to-day life might change your entire mindset for the day, or the quarter, why not give it a shot?


Contact Damian Marlow at ddrue ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Login or create an account