What do you do on those “blah” days to turn your attitude around? Because let’s face it, we all have days where we feel less than stellar. We may have good reason for feeling down or maybe we just feel “off”. Sometimes the blues seem to pop up for no reason.
On days like that, there are probably things you planned to get done but now you have no ambition, no energy. Maybe a friend, loved one, or co-worker can’t seem to say anything right and they are irritating the heck out of you. Often it isn’t anything they are doing wrong. We are just having a tough day.
I agree with the concept that we will be as happy as we chose to be. We can choose joy instead of focusing on the negative. Sounds easy, right?
Of course, it’s anything but easy. But I truly feel that the more you “practice” choosing to feel positive the more it becomes a habit. There are people out there facing incredible challenges that have “decided” to approach things with a positive attitude. If they can do it, so can I. And so can you.
I thought it would be fun to share some of the things I do to lift my own spirits and energy level when I’m slogging my way through one of those days. I’m sure you do many of these yourself:
1) Help someone! Giving the gift of assistance is like a miracle drug to turn around a crappy day. It could be something as simple as offering a word of encouragement. Give someone a legitimate compliment. If they are working on something and they’re stuck, help ‘em out. Share your hard-earned expertise. Lift a burden from someone else’s shoulders.
2) Change your environment. Get outside and enjoy nature. A quick walk around the block can rejuvenate your soul. Fill your lungs with fresh oxygen. Truly look at the beauty all around you. Listen. I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve pushed away from my desk when I could barely keep my eyes opened and took ten minutes to walk outside.
3) Call a friend. Ask them how their day is going. Celebrate any small successes they may share or help them out with an issue they may be having. Avoid the temptation to tell them about your sucky day. Let the joy of your friendship buoy you up. Don’t pull them down.
4) Turn up your favorite song, belt out the lyrics and dance. This is even better if you can do it in front of your kids. For some reason, showing them how weird I can be makes me happy!
5) Play with a pet. No one can give unconditional love like they can. Sometimes a quick snuggle or a puppy kiss can put a smile back on your face.
6) Pay it forward. If you are treating yourself to a cup of coffee, pick up the tab for the car behind you
in the drive-through, too. Then quietly drive off without a word about it to anyone. You just gave yourself and at least two others a quick reminder that there is good in the world.
7) Smile at people! Isn’t it amazing how something as simple as a smile can change the very atmosphere around you? Sure, some people will miss it because they are inwardly focused and avoiding eye contact. But most will automatically smile back. You may even strike up a fun little conversation.
8) Count your blessings, not your irritations. Take a few minutes to remind yourself of all the special people in your life and how they give light to your days.
9) Click on the photo icon on your phone and scroll through the many happy occasions you’ve captured. A trip down memory lane, whether it is just a quick stroll back to the fun night out with friends last week or last year’s summer vacation, is sure to put a smile back on your face. Now plan another fun outing to give yourself something to look forward to.
10) Soak up the wisdom of others. Replace your negative thoughts. For me, this might mean taking five minutes to go back and look at my favorite quote boards on Pinterest. Or pulling out one of my favorite self-help books, preferably one I scribbled in and highlighted back when I first read it so I can quickly find the nuggets of wisdom that inspire me.
So did anything jump out at you when you reviewed this quick list? How about the fact that all ten of these items involve getting out of your own head? It is incredible how shifting the focus away from yourself can reinvigorate you.
What are some of your favorite go-to things to pull yourself out of a slump? I would love to hear your ideas. We can all use more tools in our “toolbox” for living a great life.
Remember… it is within your power to choose joy! Kim
You know it’s spring in North Dakota when you have to use both the air conditioner and the furnace in the same week! The weather around here can be extreme. Today the wind howled but dazzling sunshine and a brilliant blue sky helped temper the bite of the gusts.
Bright green grass and fresh new leaves bring vivid color to the landscape. This was the week the crab apple trees blossomed, adding blushes of pinks and purples to the green. My kids know there will be pictures in front of that glorious tree every year. Is it possible we have twenty- four annual photos with that tree already? Where do the years go?
My favorite part of spring is the flowers. I love going from nursery to nursery, seeing what’s new this year and deciding what I want to plant where. I welcome the chance to create with gifts from nature. Part of my Sunday plans include my first round of flower shopping this year. Around here, if you plant before Memorial weekend, you run the risk of frost hurting your new babies.
For some reason, memories of a springtime walk to school when I was in first grade hold tight in my mind. We lived in Wisconsin so Dad could complete his schooling for his master’s degree. We lived in ramshackle family housing. My walk to school took me by a beautiful spring garden and the morning I recall so vividly was grey and drizzly. Perhaps that is why the colors were so vibrant. The rain brought the scent of all those blossoms to life. The only smudge on that perfect memory was the guilt I felt for plucking one of those pretty flowers. I knew immediately I shouldn’t have done it.
Spring is all about fresh starts. For us, it’s time to open our cabin in preparation for summer weekends to be spent at the lake. There will be campfires, fishing and barbecues with family and friends. But before all that, there is work to be done. For me, that work began today. For my husband, he’s already put in some time out there this year.
Next weekend will be Memorial Day. The unofficial kickoff to summer. I’ll pick up more flowers and go out and freshen the grave sites of family and a few close friends. My mom started me on the tradition. Spending a few hours showing respect and remembering those that have gone before us leaves me with a sense of peace.
Springtime is a season of anticipation for what is to come. Maybe if we lived somewhere that didn’t have four distinct seasons the glory of spring might be dampened. But here spring means the days of ice and snow are behind us and warm weather is coming. We have teaser-days where temperatures can reach into the 80’s but then fall back again to close to freezing. Sitting on the deck is such a treat right now, before the mosquitoes start buzzing. The sunsets stretch far into the evening. My first cup of early morning coffee now includes a serenade by noisy song birds.
I find comfort in the rhythm of the changing of the seasons.
There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter. Rachel Carson
So if you have been weighted down by life’s troubles and the past season has felt cold and dark, my hope for you is that your spirit is buoyed by the promise of all the changes that spring can initiate. Sit in the sunshine, feel the warmth on your shoulders, smell the fresh green grass, and gaze upon the fresh colors of new blooms. Welcome the season and enjoy. Kim
As a mother, I know one of my main responsibilities in life is to help instill wisdom in my own kids. Life is complicated but learning healthy ways to handle the unexpected curves inevitably thrown our way can make all the difference. Who better than moms to teach children what is truly important in life? Don’t misunderstand me. Fathers play a very important role as well, but today is Mother’s Day so it’s all about the ladies!
My mom taught me immeasurable lessons throughout my lifetime. This year, instead of searching for a gift for her for Mother’s Day, I’m searching my heart and bringing to mind all of the precious guidance she gave me and passing some of it on to you. A gift of a Mother’s Day message, you might say, from my mother… to me… and on to you.
Some of the many lessons I learned from Mom:
Mom taught us that life starts at home. Home is wherever your family is. Nothing is more important than family. Not money… not prestige… nothing.
Family is based on strong relationships that grow and evolve over time. There will be bumps and setbacks. There will be fights and disappointments. If you can weather the storms all relationships face, you may find yourself blessed to have someone by your side, loving you and caring for you all the way through to the very end. Walking away is sometimes the easy, short term fix but be sure you know what you are walking away from before you give up too quickly.
Family extends beyond blood relations to include those special friends that touch your heart and whose lives become forever entwined with yours. Those special friends may have entered your life in grade school, high school, at your first job, at your last job or anywhere else in your life’s journey. What makes them special is that inexplicable bond that never fades, no matter how much time passes. When you have friends like this, hold them tight in your heart. They too will be there in times of need…as you will be for them. Mom was blessed with many of these very special friends.
Work needs to provide more than just money to pay the bills. It should be a way to make this world a better place. Throughout much of my life, I shared my mom with countless others. As a social worker, mainly working with high school kids, my mom touched so many lives. I was lucky enough to call her “Mom” but they were fortunate to also hold a special place in her heart. She saved lives. She turned lives around. The love she had for her job and the kids she served was incredible. Years after she retired, people would still come up to her and thank her for being the turning point they needed in their lives. I would listen in awe.
Keep fun in your life. Go watch kids play high school basketball and cheer your heart out. Mom was often the loudest fan in the stands, much to my dismay when I was still in school. Play cards with your friends, go dancing with your husband, enjoy the great outdoors playing golf or walking with your girlfriends. Put some fun into every single day.
Pass on family traditions. Decorate your home to celebrate the seasons and spoil your kids and grandkids at Christmas. Don’t buy them things anytime they want something. It isn’t about spoiling them or “buying” their love. But make the holidays truly special.
Be responsible. Work hard and provide for your family. Know that there are so many people in this world with far less than you are blessed with. Never look down on people. Mom used to say some of her favorite people were the kids in school that others had given up on. She always saw the good in people. Help others when you can. Remember… everyone has a story.
Take care of your health. Get some kind of physical exercise most every day and watch what you eat. One evening cocktail before dinner each night won’t kill you. Don’t get drunk and act like an idiot.
Take some chances in life. Support your kids. When they are grown and on their own, never laugh at their ideas as they search for new ways to earn a living or find more joy in life. Be that sounding board, that voice of wisdom and that cheerleader. Don’t be a naysayer.
Live life by example. Show, don’t tell. Earn the respect of people through the way you live your own life and then set high expectations of them as well. No one will want to disappoint you. You can’t demand respect, you have to earn it.
Take care of your parents as they age. Mom did this for her own parents. Her sisters lived far away so care taking mainly fell to her. It was hard but she seldom complained.
And finally, if you are ever faced with the heartbreak of a debilitating illness, fight the good fight. Try conventional medicine. Try unconventional approaches. Dig deep for your faith in things beyond this world, even if that faith might have gotten a little rusty over the years. Accept the fact that none of us live forever, even when those around you can’t.
Life is so much better when you spend it helping others, having fun, giving grace,and nurturing younger generations.
I could fill pages with all the things I learned from Mom. I will continue to share her wisdom because my thoughts and outlook on life were shaped in large part by her. She lives on in me. In all of us that were blessed to know her.
So on this very first Mother’s Day without my own mom, I vow to focus on the many gifts she gave me instead of wallowing in the heartache I feel over her absence. I will hug my own children tight, thank God for my many blessings, and enjoy this special day dedicated to celebrating those that gave us life. Thank you, Mom. I love you.
I encourage you to take some of Mom's teachings to heart. If you are lucky enough to spend time with your own mother today, enjoy! If you are a mother, or if you play the role of a strong female presence in someone else's life, know how special that is and that you are loved. Blessings to you all, Kim
Does the arrival of spring have you itching to clear out the clutter and clean things up? I know the change in season has that effect on me. But then the big question is “What do I do with all this stuff?”
Spring cleaning is the perfect time to weed out those items we no longer want. A strange phenomenon happens in my closet over the long winter months where some of my clothes inexplicably seem to shrink. Must be something in the air. Can you relate? Oh wait….maybe it isn’t the clothes that have changed shape. I could hang onto those items until I lose the extra weight that snuck up on me but, if I’m being totally honest, having to look at those clothes hanging in my closet every day that no longer fit is downright depressing. My vote is to donate the items. I’ll appreciate a less stuffed closet and someone else will certainly appreciate having “new” clothes to wear.
That’s just one small example of a way we can be generous with others. There are so many people out there, doing amazing things to help others, day after day. They are shining a light on a need and providing a platform to help meet those needs.
I have a friend getting married this summer and we gathered to celebrate her upcoming marriage. She requested that guests consider donating to our local YWCA if they wanted to bring a gift to the party. It was fun to see all of the supplies the guests carefully selected for donation to the worthy organization. Many of those everyday items are things most of us take for granted but are sorely needed by others.
I also heard an inspiring story on the local news this week. A man named Paul works at a home improvement store and he needed a new bicycle. Paul is a stellar employee and well loved by customers. Todd is one of those customers that appreciates Paul. When Todd found out Paul needed a bike, he wanted to help. Even though Todd doesn’t do much on social media, he set up a GoFundMe page, hoping to raise $500 for Paul. You see, Paul was born in Liberia and was adopted by missionaries. Traumatic events in his childhood left him with disabilities. He isn’t able to drive a car. Many people, including other customers as well as people from around the world stepped up. At the time of the news broadcast, more than $16,000 in donations had already been raised and the number was still climbing. Paul expressed how blessed he feels and he hopes to use the extra money to outfit the home he shares with his wife who also has disabilities.
I was blown away by how one person made such a difference in Paul’s life simply by recognizing the need and figuring out how he might be able to help meet that need. Todd provided the platform and the world responded.
It’s also rewarding to give unanimously. I was recently scrolling through a list of the top 25 TED talks of all times. When I saw one on the list by Tony Robbins, one of the most influential life and business coaches in the United States today, I knew it would be worth watching. I love his energy and enthusiasm. In this TED talk, Tony gave a personal account of how someone else’s generosity when he was a child forever changed the trajectory of his life. He began to replicate that act of kindness himself, quietly donating holiday meals to other needy families. It started him on the path where he still finds himself today. Just take a minute to think about the millions of people he has helped encourage and inspire over the years. The world is a better place because of that single act of kindness to his family during a difficult time.
There are as many ways to be generous as there are people in need. Mother Theresa said it well:
Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are.
Try to find ways to be generous every day. A kind smile, a “new” jacket, or $1 donated to a needy cause all help to make this world a better place. You will feel great! Kim
Kimberly Diede Author
Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! My name is Kimberly Diede and I'm a fiction author and family girl. When time permits, I am happiest with a great cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other. I love to alternate between reading and writing. Winters here can be long, dark and cold. Summers are unpredictable, lovely and always too short. Every season of the year, as in every season of life, is a gift. Let's celebrate it together!