It’s been a few weeks since I started my day with a single, delicious cup of coffee. It has been too hot and I’ve just not had the taste for it. Today, I felt a tug toward my tea kettle to boil up some water for a cup of coffee – I’m a fan of the pour-over method. I woke up at 4 AM in a pensive, restless mood. So many thoughts in my head and a cup of coffee felt soothing to me. Here I am, sipping and typing.
Life has felt so strange lately hasn’t it? Oh, you know, life is always kind of strange. I’ve always found that real life is indeed stranger than fiction. This year though! I go to bed every night and wake up every morning feeling that I’m walking through something that I need to get through, that I stepped through one more day, but what will today bring? I miss waking up energetic and ready to conquer tasks, accomplish some things toward my ever growing list of things to do, and to perhaps in some small way make a difference in the world, in someone’s life. But lately … I don’t seem to be able to get anything done except the very basic tasks to get through the day, the week. The world seems bleak, unstable, without much joy to be glimpsed or even hold out hope for. Each day has more bad news and more uncertainty. Things that you had trust in, things you thought “it can’t happen here”, are happening and you feel powerless to stop it. It messes with a person’s OOMPH. And yet, you do hold on to hope that love will prevail over hate and that there are more good people than bad and if we all pull together we can indeed change the world. At least I do. It’s the faith I hold on to in the midst of the sometimes overwhelming feelings of anger, resentment, despair and impatience that boil up within me.
Something that I’ve found that helps my mental health and my physical energy is exercise. I’ve always known that to be true, but this year, I’ve really come to understand how true it is. I get it. In fact, I got it too much. There is a balance. There is always a balance, there must always be balance, we need balance. How do we find balance in an unsteady world? Oh … I wish I had THE answer, but I think the best we can do is find the answer that fits for us. The answer that fits for us without judgment. Who is judging you ask? We judge ourselves. I know I do. I’m guilty of telling myself: It’s not good enough! You should be doing more! Can you relate?
Kindness. It has to start at home, with yourself. If we can find our way to being kind to ourselves, we can be in a better place to spread kindness to others. We cannot control the behavior or the attitude of others, but we can control ours – can’t we? How can we show kindness to ourselves?
Give ourselves permission to just “Be”. To be enough, to be OK with just sitting with our thoughts, our cup of tea, our book, or to take a nap with our dogs without “accomplishing” anything today.
- Take some time for yourself. Do something that gives you joy each day. Read a book, lie in a hammock and watch the birds or look at the stars, draw, knit, listen to an audiobook, take a bath with rose petals. Whatever! Be kind to yourself by giving yourself some “me” time each day. It’s OK to give yourself some time just to “Be”.
- Acknowledge your achievements. Give yourself recognition for what you bring to the table and what you have accomplished. We are not perfect and if you are a perfectionist like I am, I’m betting you don’t give yourself the credit and acknowledgement that you may grant to others.
- Forgive yourself. Have you messed up? Have you done something that you are not proud of? Have you not done something that you think you should have? Quit beating yourself up about it. Forgive yourself. ONWARD!
- Take care of yourself. We cannot begin to take care of others if we don’t take care of ourselves. Don’t just survive, thrive! Prioritize getting good sleep, eating nutritious foods, exercising every day. Exercise is truly medicine for the body, mind & spirit. Put on your favorite lipstick and fix your hair if those things make you feel good – just for you! Find a way to alleviate the stress in your life. If something or someone is bringing you a load of anxiety and negativity – take a hard look at kicking that to the curb. You are totally worth it!
- Be compassionate. Show yourself compassion. We are often more critical of ourselves than we are of others and we beat ourselves up. Compassion is a sympathetic awareness of distress combined with a desire to alleviate it. How can we show ourselves more compassion? How about starting here? https://positivepsychology.com/self-compassion-5-steps/
STAY Healthy. Be STRONG. Get AFTER It!