So, what is a ‘reset button?’
Think of the reset button on your phone or computer. What does it do?
It stops all processes (usually required as a result of malfunction) and returns the device to it’s original functioning state.
It’s a reboot, a fresh start.
Can you think of how useful that could be if applied to your everyday life? Having a bad day? Reboot it. Fell off your diet wagon? Start over.
Why do you need a ‘reset button?’
Because of those times when everything seems to be going wrong and it is steadily getting worse.
Because of ruts, bad starts, and what can go wrong will go wrong.
Sometimes simply knowing that we need to shift directions and trying to force ourselves to behave can actually make the situation worse, or continue the same downward spiral.
When do you need a reset?
This is totally personal. Here are some of the times when a reboot is essential for me:
When I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, a.k.a. cranky, and I’m having a difficult time getting out of my funk.
When I’m overly frustrated with a project, or with everything.
When I’m feeling so overwhelmed, I don’t know where to start.
Right after an argument with my spouse or one of the kids. (Hello emotional hangover)
When I feel like I’m falling short, running late and behind on everything.
When I’m groggy or my head is just not clear.
When it seems that I’m heading in the wrong direction with my day, nothing seems to work, or I’m floundering.
When I’m angry and all I want to do is yell, yell, yell.
When the kids are getting on my nerves over every little thing, and I don’t feel like being nice.
When I’m repeatedly making the wrong decisions whether it’s checking Facebook instead of working or eating sugary foods instead of sticking to my commitment to eat healthy.
How can you reset?
I have some definite go-to’s for this. Since I don’t have a magical ‘easy’ button, I have come to rely on these strategies for resetting my day:
Take a shower (um, yes, even if this means taking a second shower) – taking a shower is so relaxing for me. I have time to think. I come out fresh and clean and recharged, ready to tackle whatever was stopping me before. It is also great for idea generation and clarity.
Take a drive – similar to the above. My mind gets clearer when I go out for a drive. My ideas become a lot more organized when my mind is simultaneously focused on the task/rhythm of driving.
Take a walk/yoga/exercise – This is especially helpful if you can go outside. Get moving. Go outside. The light and movement activates your senses, allowing you to get past sticking points.
Run an errand – This ones a twofer – it combines taking a drive with getting something done. When I can’t focus well at home, just changing my environment and accomplishing something I’ve needed to do really helps me make a clean break.
Finish one small task – This is especially helpful when I’m floundering and don’t know where to start. Is there one itsy bitsy tiny thing I can do in 10 minutes or less? Just to get the ball rolling, just to get the sense of accomplishment. It totally works.
Switch tasks (gears) – one of the best things about staying home with the kids or working from home is the flexibility in prioritizing tasks. If I just can’t work, and I’m sitting here banging my head on a figurative wall, I have the flexibility to get up and clean something, fold laundry (usually something physical because my roadblocks are typically of the mental kind). Which has the added benefit of getting some nagging chore off my to do list.
Take a nap – this depends on how much time you have and how tired you are. If I’m really tired and that is the reason for my crankiness or lack of patience, then a good hour long nap is perfect. If I’m just looking for a reboot due to brain fog or an emotional hangover (see arguments above), then a 20 or 30 minute power nap is fantastic. That release into sleep usually clears out the negative stuff and allows almost a perfect restart.
Read a book – Books with short chapters are great for this. I can read one or two chapters, engross myself in someone else’s words and ideas, therefore detaching myself from my stuck ones.
Can you start to see what kinds of tasks are good for a reset? Anything that you can do that helps you break from your current mode. Think fresh, refresh, clean, shake things up, move, take a break, start over, begin again.
Employing a strategy to catch yourself heading off track and get things turned around is so helpful. It prevents you from wasting time in a bad mood or floundering and being ineffective.
And the bonus for parents?
A) Your children see you model this kind of behavior.
B) You can help your children reset when they get stuck. Seeing this in yourself helps you see it in your children, who do this quite often as part of their growing emotional control capabilities.
I’m embarrassed to say I need to do this quite often, at least several times a week. I’ve even had to do it multiple times in the same day. But you know what, that’s my rhythm, and the more I accept myself, the easier it is to employ solutions.
Do you employ any of these strategies? I’d love to hear what activities work best as a ‘reset button’ in your life.