Tag Archives: Everyday

Self Care In A Pandemic (73): Little things To Look Forward To…

We’re all dealing with different and unique circumstances in this pandemic, yet we all need little things to look forward to. It helps us to keep going.

You might be thinking, well what on earth can I look forward to when I’m ‘stuck inside’ day after day, or if I’m working on the front line day after day, night after night?!

If that’s how you’re feeling, it’s understandable, but it’s not unchangeable. Try to take a deep breath, take a step back from your circumstances and reframe your thoughts.

We can all plan little things to look forward to that will help to give us a bit of mental and emotional ‘space’ and relaxation. We can try to make the small things more special as we learn to savour our experience of them. Yes, it’s hard to live like that all the time, we all get stressed and anxious and wound up, but we can begin to build things into our day to day lives that can help to ease the emotional and mental pressure we might be feeling.

What little things can you and I look forward to? They can be simple and even seemingly mundane to other people, but they can be special moments in our day depending on how we look at things.

  • You could look forward to a freshly made bed, and tidying up your room a bit.
  • You could look forward to planning a new art or craft project.
  • You could look forward to a virtual summer holiday or spring break when you choose a place in the world that you are interested in and find out some facts about that place, read books, watch films and eat food or do activities at home that are linked to that country if you can.
  • You can plan a catch up with a friend online or on the phone.
  • You can look forward to making a nice meal.
  • You can look forward to a film night at home.
  • You can look forward to quiet times in which you can pray, meditate and read.
  • You can look forward to slowing down and making a cup of tea or coffee and finding a quiet spot in your home to enjoy it.
  • You can look forward to setting time aside to journal, or to talk to your loved ones.
  • You can look forward to finishing up work at the end of the day and planning something nice to do for yourself such as some self care activities, a nice warm bath, listening to relaxing music.
  • You can look forward to doing something for someone else whether that be giving to charity, making a gift for a loved one, or reaching out to a friend in need.
  • You can look forward to picking your outfit for the day and making an effort to get ready.
  • You can look forward to taking a shower, or going for a walk or doing something that will help you appreciate the moment.
  • You can look forward to curling up with a good book.
  • You can look forward to rearranging your room or some of your home decor.
  • You can look forward to times spent with a new (or old) hobby.
  • You can look forward to times when you are able to get fresh air.
  • You can look forward to writing down your thoughts, creative journaling, perhaps to going to online church on a Sunday if you are inclined to do so.
  • You can look forward to hugs if you have people around you, or to connecting virtually with someone if you don’t.
  • You can look forward to getting a grocery order and making a delicious meal or even enjoying something quick and easy that you can put in the microwave.

There are so many things that we can factor into our day to day lives that will lift our focus to help us to appreciate all of the little things that we tend to take for granted. We can also choose to make our living spaces more cosy if that is possible. Even some inexpensive ‘fairy lights’ / LED lights can make our atmosphere at home seem that little bit more cosy and special, despite whatever else might be going on. We don’t need to travel far and distant places or have a lot of people in our life, or spend a lot of money to have things to look forward to. We can take the time and make the effort to appreciate what we already have, to choose to look forward to these special things, and to enjoy them along the way, despite whatever other difficult circumstances we may be facing in this pandemic. And all the while we can choose to be grateful for the health and wellbeing and life that we do have today. x

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Learning to be in tune with ourselves…

It’s a challenging one, isn’t it? At least it can be. We have ideas of how we’d like our lives to be, we see images of that ideal we think we should be working toward. And yet…sometimes we really are just muddling through and trying to deal with each daily challenge as it comes to us. Maybe you’ve experienced burn out. And if you have, maybe you’re more conscious of the need for self care and learning to look after yourself and being attentive not only to the needs of others but also to your own, even if this way of thinking takes some getting used to.

But even if you’re someone who never has and maybe fortunately you never will experience burnout as such, you are still faced with that ‘low level’ just beneath the surface feeling that things are running away from you, getting out of order, are not quite right. And in this case I’m not talking about when something major is happening in your life, but when things are mostly fine, ‘normal’, moving along as they should in the ordinary ways of life. 

But maybe you notice that you’re not feeling just ‘quite right’. It’s not that you feel bad, it’s just that you don’t feel so good. Tiredness creeps up, you’re managing the expectations of others, your boss rewards your efforts for a job well done by piling up even more work on your desk because afterall, you’re the one who will do it well and without much fuss. You offered to do a favour for someone in need, but they maybe seem to take it for granted, and while you would normally love to be a ‘cheerful giver’ with the expectations of nothing in return, you notice that you begin to get frustrated, your attitude isn’t quite what it should be, and your energy levels are low. There are demands on your time, you seem to be saying yes to everyone else which means saying no to yourself as you just don’t have the time, energy or emotional capacity to manage everything. 

Most of us just push on through. But if we’re not careful, things begin to build up within us, and we know we’re not quite ok, but we don’t know how to ‘shake off’ those feelings. Sometimes just stopping and acknowledging that we need to check in with ourselves as we would with a friend, or even a child, to make sure they’re ok, is the best place to start even if we don’t actually know ‘what’s wrong’ or how to resolve things. 

Slowing down, learning to tune in to our own hearts and minds, and committing to strengthening and encouraging ourselves before we take on the next commitment that is about to be given to us whether we are ready for it or not, is so important. 

Maybe we don’t know what the next step to feeling more like our best self should be but stopping for a moment to be still awhile, is a good place to start…

person holding head facing body of water
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woman sitting by lake
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Living your best life this year.

Another year rolls by (happy new year friends, btw). We each face this demarcation of time on our calendars and in our lives with a different point of view. For some among us, the year gone by has been a blessed one, and despite life’s daily and inevitable challenges, ups and downs, overall the happiness has been greater than the sadness, it has been a ‘good year’, and the future feels ripe with possibilities.

For others, the year may have been one with sorrows, loss, disappointment, from a variety of life’s hard challenges. you have made it through ….barely…and are not altogether certain just how to take that next step in life.

For many, perhaps, you feel the year has been pretty average, uneventful, nothing out of the ordinary, and that you have just drifted along, or just got on with what you had to do. Maybe your new year hasn’t been sorrowful, but rather stressful, busy, even chaotic, with barely a moment to yourself to think. Maybe it has just been ordinary, or a bit lacklustre.

I’m sure there are a myriad of ways in which we each reflect back upon the year gone by.

Regardless of how you feel about it, something that is certain is that going forwards, each of us have to make our way through this new year one day at a time, one step at a time, one breath at a time.

So, no matter what your circumstances are, or what you feel inside, there are ways in which you can improve your day to day experience of your journey and find your ‘sweet spot’ in the day to day of living your life.

Apart from the big life decisions, changes or challenges you may be facing, what in the ordinary day to day can you approach differently, to make your life better?

In the next few posts I will be exploring some of the little ways I am making changes in my daily life, to make the ‘ordinary’ a little more inviting and special, and to bring more pockets of joy and feelings of connectedness in my every day living. I’d be delighted if you join me and even more so if you want to share your own insights too. Here’s to a blessed 2019 to us all. xx

art background beverage break
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Enjoy your mess…enjoy your tidy…

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“Enjoy your mess, enjoy your tidy”, that’s a little childlike phrase I made up for myself to help me to keep perspective, keep calm and resist the temptation to be overwhelmed.

If you think about it, as perhaps silly and simplistic as it at first seems, it is quite a loaded little phrase. For I’m sure that I’m not alone in the temptation to feel overwhelmed when outer clutter begins to encroach upon my inner calm, that as it is, is quite a delicate thing to try to maintain.

In seeking to encourage myself, I also encourage you to put your housekeeping ‘to-do’ list down for a moment, regardless of what is going on around you. Have a cuppa, take a deep breath, and enjoy a moment of a recalibrated perspective.

Instead of feeling overwhelmed or annoyed at yourself for the mess you’ve managed so far not to properly attend to, “enjoy your mess”. Look around you at all of the stuff that you are privileged to have to mess up your home in the first place. Take a moment to be truly grateful that you have a home to get messy, when so many people go without. Be thankful that you have more than enough, and perhaps more than you need, and instead of feeling guilty about this, and planning how to give more to other people, first just STOP. Be. Enjoy the mess.

And enjoy the process of tidying. Of being able to move and have the ability to do things, be grateful if you have been so blessed that you have limbs and movement, and perhaps even freedom from pain. And if you do not enjoy these things, consider what you *are* able to do, and enjoy and be thankful for those things.

Slow down, take your time, rushing through each task doesn’t necessarily make you more effective, but it probably does make you more overwhelmed.

And when you do reach that place of being able to ‘enjoy your tidy’….truly enjoy it. Even if you are on your own, or if you have kids rushing about, or if things seem to be descending into chaos again. Just take that moment. Enjoy. And keep this in mind as the days go on and the cycle repeats. And don’t forget to take care of yourself as you take care of your home and those you love.