1- Get comfy. Put on your favorite soft sweatshirt or comfortable jeans. Pay attention to how your mood shifts. Changing something tangible – like your clothes – can be the first step in changing your mood. I put on my soft slippers and instantly feel less weight on my shoulders.
2 – Get out of your head and into your body. Move! Particularly outdoors. Go for a walk after it rains or jog around the neighborhood while the sun is setting and enjoy the fresh air. So many of my Life Coaching clients say, “I think too much.” Thinking is important, but sometimes movement is needed to boost us out of a rut to see life from a more positive perspective.
3 – Claim a life experience. Do something that matters to you or to someone else. Learn something. Care for something – or someone. Spend an hour at the humane society, or just visit the puppies at a pet store. Volunteer. Enroll in a yoga class or an art class and try something entirely new. Treat yourself to a simple picnic at a forest preserve. Watch a documentary about an issue that intrigues you. Get passionate about your life experiences.
Get comfy, get out of your head, get involved and get your Mojo back! Do you want more insights about getting to a better place in your own life? Contact Life Coach Diane Overgard or browse the 45 Degrees Coaching website at www.45degrees.org.]]>
Those were years when I didn’t put up a full Christmas tree, with all the family ornaments, because I couldn’t stand to open that box. I didn’t want to see the ornaments that said, “Our First Christmas Together” or “Baby’s First Christmas” or the one with the family photo – the whole family together – taken at Disney World. I didn’t bake the traditional cookies because they brought back memories of happy times, and the realization that I was living times that were a far cry from happy. My family gathered – my children and me – and we all loved and supported one another, but a cloud of sadness and anger hovered over our house. We never got out a camera. I don’t have a single photo of several Christmases because nobody wanted to remember those times.
I recall a time, years ago, when I invited a friend to a Christmas celebration at my church. This friend’s husband had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and I thought it would be good for her to get out of the house and be around nice people. She cried through the whole program, as she was flooded with memories of how things used to be, and fears about the future.
The year my father died was a painful Christmas. That holiday was my mom’s first Christmas in 66 years without my dad. There was such a hole without Dad at the Christmas dinner table, and we realized that our family life would never be the same.
Ah – the holidays. The most wonderful time of the year! Holidays can also be the most agonizing time of the year if we’re living in a space of sadness, or resentment, or regret, or loneliness. If this is a hard year for you, I’d like to share a few things that helped me survive holidays when they were the very last thing I wanted to celebrate.
1- Do something totally different! Cook something you’ve never eaten. Or, spend Christmas Eve visiting at a nursing home or hospital. If you can, go out of town to a place you’ve never been – for a new adventure.
2- Be with different people! Invite a neighbor who doesn’t have family nearby to join you. Drop in on Aunt Helen or your third-cousin, Pete, whom you rarely see. Let your kids invite a few of their friends over for cookie baking.
3- Cherish something! Take a moment to remember what YOU love about the holidays. What is it that you will always enjoy even if you are all alone? I love simmering orange peel and cinnamon sticks on the stove to make the kitchen smell great. It doesn’t matter if I’m the only person in the house – I still love that smell.
4- Reach out to someone else in need, if you can. I know there were years this would have been impossible for me because my pain was too raw. But later on, as I was beginning to heal, I found joy by looking outside of my own mess, into the lives of those around me. Adopt a family who has been struck with poverty, or bake an extra batch of cookies for an elderly neighbor, and watch your Holiday get happier!
We have high expectations for holidays to be merry and fulfilling. However, when the face of a family changes, so do the holidays. A part of transition is letting go of the old, but another exciting part is creating something new. Start this year by taking one small step in the direction of a joyful new way to celebrate!]]>
• Your neighbor’s teenager who can’t listen to her mom.
• Your nephew who can’t figure out his role between two discouraged divorcing parents.
• A timid child on your block who demands no attention, and gets just that.
Where’s the solution for lonely kids? It’s tucked neatly inside someone who has experienced loneliness, and has gained insight, compassion and skills for choosing a great life. Have you ever been lonely? Then you’re the solution for loneliness. Whether you’re a parent, an uncle, or a neighbor down the street, you can make a difference in a child’s life.
Combat loneliness when you decide to:
• Be a bit of delight! Every child – every human being – needs a spark of surprise now and then. Silly string or an ice cream sundae bar is fun! Deep relationships often start with a delightful connection.
• Appreciate youth. I have a mentor who is 30 years my senior. She believes it’s important to have friends who are younger than us because – as she says with a smirk – “the old friends die.” When you’re with children don’t wish for things, like patience or tact, that kids will be better at when they get older. Honestly appreciate candidness, spontaneity, and high energy.
• Be influential. Who comes to mind when you think of an adult who was influential in your childhood? Generally it’s someone who noticed you and listened to you. Let kids know what you see in them that is already great.
Most of us have more people in our lives than we have time for, but close relationships are rare. Invest in a child who needs you and cure your own loneliness.
“Loneliness is not the absence of faces. It is the absence of intimacy.” – Max Lucado]]>
My thoughts and emotions soared with the hope and promise of longer days coming. I remembered early morning sunrises to sit on my porch and journal in the stillness before most people are up and about. I reflected on late evening sunsets to relax by the firepit with my husband or friends.
Just as a beautifully wrapped gift stirs anticipation of something wonderful inside, this February morning is my hope for spring just around the corner. What are you eagerly looking forward to today? Hope keeps us alive.]]>
Have you ever tried whistling when you feel grumpy? I can’t do it.
Do you feel grumpy while you’re whistling? See my point?
When I whistle, my mood lightens and I feel better. The same thing happens when I say something genuinely complimentary to a person I’m angry with. Or, when I offer a prayer of gratitude for a challenge I’m facing.
Doing the OPPOSITE causes a shift within me, and OPENS me up to think outside my own little box. My feelings often follow my actions.
Think out of your rut into a new positive place – Whistle While You Work!]]>
I’ve been thinking about my BARE NECESSITIES for living a joy filled life.
You know that Chicago has been hit with a big snowstorm. I’m stranded – with only enough food to last about a month, and the temperature in my house hovering right around 73 degrees. My only contact with the outside world is television, telephone, email and lots of Facebook. Are these my bare necessities for joy?
Seriously, today’s snow and this little song helped me think about how to be really joyful – even when an annoyance or FULL BLOWN TROUBLE – comes my way. Do you have anything in your life today that could be categorized as a problem – even bigger trouble than a snowstorm? Test that problem with this coaching exercise:
When I took time to write about a problem I’m living with right now, I saw that I am thinking and saying some stuff that’s really not true. It’s easy to over-generalize, and to imagine the worst. I’m going to stop thinking and saying those things!
In addition, this exercise made me very clear about FACTS related to my problem. 1)My problem is not bigger than the good parts of my life. 2)Some decisions become easy when I remember my values. 3)Solutions can generally be found, especially with the help of a new perspective. Confidence in those facts helps me redefine my BARE NECESSITIES.
I feel good knowing that my bare necessities are in place. That awareness – and singing along with Baloo – increases my joy!
It’s new Year’s Eve! Thank you for walking with me every day this week in my quest to Feel Better Before 2011. It worked for me!
Today’s final tip is the core that makes me feel better in my life, and truly gives me JOY!
Happy New Year!
DAY 5 – GO BIGGER
Look at the Big Picture of your life. Your life is more than the clutter in the kitchen, or a few extra pounds gained, or the stack of work on your desk, or the job you’ve lost, or the fight you had with your kid, or the marriage that seems to be headed for divorce.
GO BIGGER and know that you were created by God with a personality unlike anyone else. The greatest praise we give God is to be fully, exuberantly who He made us to be! How will you do that? Get to know yourself. See clearly the wonderful aspects of you, and make them HUGE! Be honest with yourself about tendencies that aren’t helpful – We all have a few, Plan to change them.
Lots of people will cross your path in 2011 and, if you’re open, they will stretch you. Choose to meet creative people with ideas for you to ponder, energetic people with contagious enthusiasm, and kind people who care deeply about others. You are going to have a great year!
Did we succeed? Do you Feel Better Before 2011? The QUICK CONCRETE THINKING below will help you start being “fully, exuberantly who God made you to be!” And then, if you’re really serious about this, I would love to talk with you in a 50 minute INDIVIDUAL COACHING SESSION. With just one short phone call, you will take the next step to gain clarity about yourself, your life situation, and your New Year. Click here to read the details of this limited coaching offer.
Watch for a new coaching program, “Feel Better about My Life” coming in February, 2011.]]>
Did that get your attention? Did you expect something different?
Pondering what to write about this morning I started with “gratitude” because I feel better when I remember the cool blessings in my life. Then I considered “help someone” since getting out of myself always makes me feel better. But I settled on “SURPRISE!” because it’s the quickest shot-in-the-arm I know of to boost my mood. And it’s FUN!
DAY 4 – SURPRISE!
What do you never expect to see yourself doing, wearing, or eating? Go to an animated movie all alone, right now. Wear a hat to the grocery store, right now. Eat tapioca pudding. (OK, I’m not so sure about the tapioca.) Feel alive. Recognize that you can make an “out-of-the-box” decision for yourself – RIGHT NOW! Crack yourself up a little bit – SURPRISE!
Sometimes we bemoan the fact that “Nobody ever surprises me with anything nice.” Get out of that victim mode and be joyful! Do something unusual and spontaneous right now! You will Feel Better Before 2011. In fact, with a great surprise, you may find yourself chuckling in the next few minutes!]]>
Ocean waves crashing onto the shore are powerful, quick, strong energy! Yet, at the same time, my image of waves is refreshing and light. I love waves!
Yesterday I ate my way through those cookies that were cluttering up my kitchen countertop. Now the counter is clean but extra cookies, in addition to those four feasts in three days, have left me feeling anything BUT light, quick, and energetic.
What will help me Feel Better Before 2011?
DAY 3 – THINK WATER
Focus today on drinking water. When you feel like grabbing a cookie or a bag of chips choose a tall glass of water. When you’re bored at your desk, have some water. Begin a meal with water, and then enjoy the flavors of your food. Instead of ordering a Coke, ask for water with lemon. You don’t have to do this forever, but try it for one day – TODAY.
Eating too much makes me sluggish, heavy, and low on energy. I want to feel light, quick, and energetic. I’m not going to think of this as a “diet” and feel deprived. I just want to be more like those ocean waves. One day of focus will help. I will Feel Better Before 2011!
The problem with being wired this way comes at clean up time. I see half-full ribbon rolls, stacks of Christmas plates, three patterns of napkins, and dozens of extra cookies in Tupperware boxes. On December 28th my abundance tendency has caused clutter that paralyzes me. Where shall I begin?
DAY 2 – CLEAN UP
Clear off ONE kitchen countertop, or ONE table, or shovel presents and toys out of ONE corner of your family room. When the whole house has been a celebration, the clutter can be overwhelming. Today is the day to make JUST ONE area in your home clear and clean. Then step back, admire your accomplishment, and feel ORGANIZED, CALM and SETTLED. Celebrate those feelings – but celebrate without making another mess!
I am wishing you a burst of energy today to clean up one area of your home. Perhaps that one area will provide a sanctuary of peace for you. We need that! Please post your comments, and share this with your messy friends!
Two days down – Three more to go. We will Feel Better Before 2011!
Now you can READ the clever sign! “Make JOY in your life rouTEAn” is from Helga and Co. Click to check it out!]]>