Let’s face it: when you’re snowed in by eight foot foot “drifts” that look more like mountains, and/or below zero temperatures, it can be hard to remember to focus on practicing the sort of life-enhancing practices I teach here in my blog. The stress of a months-long disruption of normal activities has been like one long, unending pop quiz – on top of the numerous smaller ones it helped create, like dealing with the impact on work, school, shopping, etc. But this winter, too, shall pass!
As nearly all of us eagerly await warmer weather (believe it or not, there are some places that are way too warm for this time of year!), it’s the perfect time to start thinking about renewal and rebirth. Taking advantage of the emotional and energetic boost we get from the earth’s reawakening after winter provides a great physiological way to reconnect with your commitment to make changes.
So why not make a specific plan now, so you can hit the ground running once life gets back to normal?
So what’s the first step in making a fresh start?
Look at what’s going well and what’s not. Feel in your body the impact of each area you focus on. Realize that every success lifts and energizes you, and the areas that could still use some attention literally depress your energy. Resolve to increase your overall sense of aliveness, happiness and self-esteem by turning more of the challenging areas into victories you can celebrate. Choose and prioritize your three top desired outcomes to focus on this spring.
Also extremely helpful is to look at which practices have helped you the most to make meaningful changes. Resolve to add those practices to more moments in your day, and to continually try other approaches on problem areas that haven’t been improving. Sometimes a practice that doesn’t come naturally at first turns out to be a powerful resource once you get past your initial resistance or awkwardness using it.
As you become more consciously aware of your needs and feelings, you’ll notice yourself thinking things like: “that breathing exercise just helped me relax, and as soon as I did that, the idea for how to solve this seemingly insurmountable problem came to me – just like that!”
When you make those conscious connections, it is much easier to remember to use those same tools the next time a similarly stressful situation arises. Then it begins to be second nature, and you find yourself accomplishing more and getting discouraged less.
Remember, there’s no judgment in this process!
Having a success or being in the struggle is neither “good” nor “bad” – no matter how much it may feel that way sometimes! This is just an opportunity for you to evaluate and assess the various challenges that derail you and the tools that give you back your power. When you can see clearly the direction you are going in, what your “Achilles Heels” are and the best ways to overcome them quickly, you get to be truly in charge of handling your life and racking up victories to celebrate.
Also important to remember is that every time you give yourself praise and recognition for taking decisive and consistent action in the direction of your desired outcomes, you are also doing the important work of “healing from your source” – because your source is the essence of who you are, and who you are is enough!
Life will never be perfect and free of pop quizzes, but having the perfect tool ready to apply to the problem smooths out an amazing number of bumps in the road that used to be major roadblocks. Honoring your needs, concerns and feelings while taking charge of the situation is the ultimate in effective self-care.
Why not vow right here and now to make awesome self-care decisions, and ongoing celebrations of how well you take care of yourself first, part of your daily habits. You can even schedule it in by literally putting in on your calendar!
Living life is about growing, evolving and learning, and in order to do so, we need to be willing to make changes and cope with what those changes bring. Here is one opportunity that is both safe and life-enhancing, if you allow it! Are you ready? Are you willing? Take a chance on yourself, because no one deserves it more than you do!
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NOTE: I’d love to hear from you what you have been able to incorporate into your life and what has been more difficult to embrace. Many times I can tweak something in a particular practice that can more useful to you.
If you’re interested in providing feedback about your experiences, here’s how to do it:
Take your time, and let your imagination go on an excursion for a moment into the recent past. Visualize situations you’ve been in. Which ones caused you to feel upset or stressed? Which made you feel happy and at peace with yourself? What did you do in each situation that helped or hindered getting to your desired outcome? How much of the time did you even remember to choose a desired outcome? It’s easy to forget that “little” step in the midst of a pop quiz!
Make note of what has worked well for you among the exercises you have used from my weekly articles. Let me know which ones worked in what situations, and which ones weren’t as effective, even though you tried them several times. Everything you tell me will be held in strict confidence! If you want me to share any of your examples, or if there is one that is so inspiring that I want to share it with the community, it will be completely anonymous, and only be with your permission.
PLUS – Get at-home instant guidance, support and encouragement! Order your copy now of the book that teaches you to erase the detrimental effects of stress in your life: Being Well Within: From Distressed to De-Stressed. Order here and I’ll personalize the book for you and/or someone you love! …And we BREATHE!