Can we agree that these have been a pretty harrowing few months? Quarantine was certainly never on anyone’s bucket list, and social change, while pushing us towards a non-negotiable, more inclusive reality, brings with it growing pains. We have had concerns about health, education, family, finances, mental well-being, and we may have been dealing with loss of employment or even loved ones. We’ve been living in a crappy little bubble, and basically, it’s kind of sucked.
At the same time, though, there have been cracks in the bubble where bright light has filtered through. That light might be the promise of what could be or making the most out of our situation. Maybe, it’s even bold and wonderful new discoveries that we’d love to hold on to as real life once again becomes go, go, go. So, when you think about new habits, hobbies, or healthy choices that you have made, what were the conditions that allowed that to happen? What allowed you to notice the cracks in the bubble? How could you replicate that when you are no longer spending most of your time standing still?
I can already see the beginnings of “busy” encroaching. I am in Pennsylvania where we have almost moved from yellow to green. I just made my first haircut appointment, and somehow have slipped back to shopping once a week instead of every other. I have gathered with friends (physically distant!) a couple of times and we are dreaming about when we can get back to at least an alfresco dinner at a restaurant.
While we may have been incredibly busy with work, cooking, and cleaning at home, I know that once we begin to do more on the outside, our time will be even less flexible. And, we will still have the same demands. When you can barely get it all done in a day, how can you take the time to worry about where you can find sunshine in your life? When things just really suck, if you are depressed, truly worried, or even grief stricken, how do you even begin to take notice of the possibility of light?
Life’s demands put us under “the tyranny of the urgent.” The truth, however, is that we have time for anything that we make a priority. Can I convince you that YOU are the priority? That showing up strong for yourself will allow you to show up as your best self everywhere else?
These are the habits that I plan to continue so that I can still let that light shine through:
1) Walk: Literally, chase the sunshine. What I love about walking is that it can almost become meditative; a chance to clear my head and help my heart all at the same time. And, if weather permits, walking in nature gives me the added benefit of feeling connected to something larger than myself. A reminder that no matter what happens, even if it’s the most challenging, it’s all part of the natural order of the universe.
Here are just some of the benefits of walking:
Improve your health and happiness including increasing happy brain chemicals and decreasing body harming/fat inducing cortisol.
Promotes weight loss, improved sleep and better digestion.
Sparks creativity and introspection.
Daily walking provides a routine which facilitates creating other habits and getting more done.
For more benefits of walking check out: https://www.prevention.com/fitness/a20485587/benefits-from-walking-every-day/
2) Wait: This is about taking time to pause and reflect. Creating space daily to either meditate, invite gratitude, or even just to think allows me to deepen my connection with myself – making me stronger, more accepting, and more loving.
There is no one with whom you will spend more time or take care of then yourself. It is the absolute most important relationship that any of us will ever have, yet it is the one that we often consider last. Recently, every woman in one of my Healthy Habits groups admitted that she is not even sure what movies she enjoys watching or what kinds of food she prefers to order out. In thinking that she is being care-taking of her family, by deferring her desires she has forgotten to take care of herself.
3) Wonder: It has been brought to my attention recently that one cannot be curious and anxious at the same time. As a psychologist, I would posit, that curiosity is also a powerful tool for anyone feeling down, lost, or sad. Curiosity can be a fun, idle, entertainment, but can also be a powerful, purposeful tool. For example, recently I noticed a hawk flying higher than I would have thought possible. It led me to wonder: “Do birds ever fly just for the fun of it? Can that hawk be able to spot a tiny mouse from that great distance?” and other such questions. Entertaining, yes. Will the answers, or even the questions, move me forward in my life, no.
Getting curious about your emotions, your automatic self-talk, your habits, your desires, your life journey – all of that and more – has the potential to help us learn about ourselves, correct behaviors that are not working, or take decisive action to make our lives better. Like any other tool we use to keep ourselves healthy, curiosity is skill that can be cultivated. It is like trying a new exercise and finding a new muscle we didn’t realize we had – and building that muscle over time.
How can you find that curiosity muscle?
Start asking yourself challenging questions and muster all your courage to listen for the answers. Questions like, “If I wasn’t worried about pleasing others, how would I really like to spend my time?” or “If my goal is to live a beautiful and exciting life, what is the one thing I can do today to get me a step closer to that goal?” If even the worst has happened to you, you can use a powerful questions to help move you forward such as: “How can I support myself in this moment to help me just get through this day?”
Some tools that can help: Read A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger, and reach out to jump on my email list and grab my free e-pamphlet: 3-2-1 Go! Powerful Questions to Make the Most of Every Day by texting LASTINGCHANGE to 22828. If you would like to learn how I can help you design your life to Walk – Wait - & Wonder – then please reach out. I would love to jump on a complimentary call with you and help you generate some ideas. Until then, enjoy chasing the sunshine.