Gift of Assistance
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
Gift of Spring
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
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!