2020 hasn't been all bad, it's given us time and the opportunity to slow down. For me, it helped me see what was in my life that I could let go of or stop doing, whether that was a sport my kids were into that took up hours of our lives each week or a habit that I picked up over the years that was no longer serving its purpose for me anymore; I was able to get deeper into the things I wanted or needed to be doing more of. It gave us the time to slow down and just be, to stop and think. What 2020 did not give us is security or the ability to feel safe. It has created fear, depression, loneliness, and anxiety for so many of us. Stripped away our routines that we were used to and forced us to find new ones, for better or for worse. Either way, change is hard for a lot of people.
This Holiday season will also bring a lot of change, and more loneliness. We aren't able to attend the parties we normally do or see family members that we look forward to seeing each year. Even just everyday life is spent in more solitude than it was before. So, as depressing as that all sounds, I wanted to just share a few ideas that could make you feel happier. More Cheer in a World Full of Fear.
The first one, "connect to the ones you miss" is more entailed then it sounds, it takes effort. It is not a physical connection but an emotional one. Take the time to sit and have a conversation, whether that be in person, on the phone, or even a zoom. Ask questions you never asked before, listen to a story about them that you've never heard before, or even maybe share a recipe, but also learn the back story of how they know the recipe. Ask them to tell you an embarrassing story about themselves, this will create some smiles for sure! Dig deep, and listen. Share your stories too. This will help you create a fond new memory of this person that you will be able to hold in your heart forever. Side note, texting doesn't count. ;)
If you're like me, you are always doing something or thinking about what you need to be doing next. The list just doesn't end. That's ok, it's good to stay busy, but give yourself the gift of doing nothing, guilt-free! We all need breaks, especially during this time of the year, as much as things slowed down it's almost as if the Holiday Season is harder to deal with. It's not as easy to just go to the store or to order online. The stores have risks and online ordering has shipping delays. A lot of us feel stuck. For some, that's literal, between working from home and/or homeschooling it feels impossible to leave the house. Just take a break, 10 minutes, 1 hour, 5 hours, whatever you can afford, but take the time to silence your mind, hide your to-do list and read a book, watch a movie, take a bath, or maybe you just want to sit and literally do nothing, whatever it is that's going to make you feel like you took that mental break. And when the dishes aren't done or the emails rolled in by the thousands after your break, that's ok too. You're more equipped to deal with all that now than you were before your break of nothingness. Enjoy!
It's a tale as old as time... or as old as electricity anyway. When was the last time you drove around, with no agenda or no plan, and just admired the lights? Personally, I haven't done this in a really long time. Sure, there's always that house or two that is a set destination but to drive around and look for the hidden gems, that's special. This can inspire creativity and in turn will make you feel energized and well, excited!
A gratitude bucket is not the same as a gratitude list. Similar concept, but done a little differently. Grab a bowl or a jar and take 5 minutes to write down reasons you are grateful on a piece of paper, fold it up, and place it in the jar. You can even write down a date, an inside joke, a photo, a person's name...whatever will bring a smile to your face and make you feel grateful. Shake the papers up in the jar and put it in a spot that is easily accessible. Now, when you are feeling sad, angry, or down, go to your jar and grab a paper. Boom, instant smile! Feel free to add happy thoughts to your jar whenever you think of them. The jar is always open! ;)
This is a tricky one, depending on your past sometimes looking at photos may not bring up happy memories, it can also bring up pain or sadness, so before you do this one you have to mentally prepare for it. What I mean by this is to promise yourself to only think of the good. It's a hard thing to do, so if you don't feel up to the mental challenge, please move on to the next paragraph. If you do, well this is a great opportunity for growth. For example, if you are looking through old photos and come across a loved one who has passed, you can't ignore the pang of grief it will automatically make you feel, so feel that and allow that to be ok. From here, deep breath and control the spiral of thoughts that come next. Remember happy memories, happy conversations, vacations, things like this. I understand sometimes giving in to the grief and allowing the sadness to take over is a healthy part of the grieving process, but today that's not our goal. So, imagine your loved one next to you and reminisce on the happy times, and if that brings a tear or two as well, that's ok because sometimes sadness and happiness go hand in hand and we just have to learn how to accept that and find comfort in the now, but ignoring a feeling or discrediting one will never bring you ease in the present, so heal your heart with this one and feel all the feelings. Another example is if photos of your past remind you of a you that is no longer you. You still with me? Maybe you were in an abusive relationship, stuck in addiction, physically sick, or just not as mentally strong as you are now. Take in these photos, remember who you were and be so thankful you aren't that person now. Remembering where we don't want to be will bring us farther away from it, so allow yourself to feel those feelings of who you were in the past and think of how proud of yourself you are now. This is a good thing! Growth is a good thing, and taking a minute to pat yourself on the back is also a good thing. Now, you may not have any of these hardships in your life, and looking at old photos is just fun and it makes you laugh, well that is a beautiful thing and the entire purpose of this exercise, so I hope you laugh!
Do something for yourself, what I mean by this is exactly that. This could be taking the time to do your hair nicer than you normally would or dressing in jeans instead of yoga pants, come on I know I'm not the only one there! Paint your nails, guys, comb your hair, shave (or tame) your face, make your favorite meal for dinner, buy yourself something. I'm a spiritual person, and I know first hand that true happiness is not found through materialistic things, BUT if you are really in a funk and feeling low, getting yourself a gift could help. Nothing wrong with a quick fix once in a while, as long as you understand that's all it is. It could be as simple as a bouquet of flowers or as elaborate as a new car. Whatever it is, be true to yourself and your budget because if you don't then this will not make you feel better after the excitement is gone, you will feel guilty and regretful and that is not our goal.
Have you ever baked your own bread or made your own pasta? Maybe you've always wanted to be one of those DIY people and build something from wood. Maybe you've always wanted to throw different color paints at a blank canvas? Whatever it is, do it! Have fun with it and just relax in the process of learning. Who knows, maybe you'll develop a new hobby!
I know this next one seems really basic and not nearly as deep as some of the previous ideas but in actuality, it is! You see we grow up and we stop being children, but the child in us actually never leaves, we just shut her (or him) out. Push her really far down and now our adult world runs off of structure and obedience. Think of how often we discipline our own kids, trying to get them to do things a certain way and molding them to be mini versions of us. Let it all go. If you have kids, enjoy this cup of Hot Chocolate with them and just eat all the marshmallows! Allowing yourself to enjoy a nice cup of hot cocoa will free your inner child and lighten your mood. No tea or coffee here friends enjoy the innocence of the cocoa...plus, it's cold outside! (At least it is here)
Some other ways to channel or heal your inner child is to allow your bare feet to touch the grass, color and don't worry about staying in the lines, rediscover a passion from your childhood, be kind to yourself, and maybe go explore a park or new town nearby.
You don't have to be a musician in order for music to heal your soul. Jam out to some feel good music, dance, and be free! 'Tis the season, maybe you're jammin' out to some Christmas music. Whatever your tune is, allow it to wash over you with happiness and light. Dancing and physically moving your body around helps to cleanse your Aura from unwanted or lower energies.
I can't make a list like this and not include these next few things, they should be at the top, but I don't want to sound like a broken record. I have recently seen a meme on Instagram that says, we can buy the mat, the oils, the crystals, and all the spiritual books, but none of it matters unless we have a spiritual practice. Meditation goes into the category of one of those things that are so easy to do, but it's so hard. I struggle with it as well, but I do it. I found that once you can let go of "Am I doing it right?" and just let it be what it is, results start to happen. I always suggest doing 10 minutes 3 times a week. Even this little bit of time can make a significant impact on your stress level, your happiness, and your ability to deal with all life throws at you. If you want to know more about meditation and the benefits it has, I suggest following Jimmy, @that_meditation_guy on Instagram. His work and words really resonate with me hopefully, they will with you too!
Speaking of meditation, the next thing on our list is yoga. Did you know yoga is a moving meditation? It could be if you allow yourself to be present. We can go to yoga class and do the moves while thinking about what we need to do when we leave, what chores we left undone at home, or the pile of emails you need to reply to OR you can go to yoga and just be there. Silence your mind and focus on your breathing. Allowing ourselves to be uncomfortable in the poses, knowing we're not stuck in them forever. The mental benefits of this will be monumental. With a regular practice, you will find you can deal with stress better actually, you'll realize things that used to put you on edge really isn't that big of a deal anymore. You'll feel calmer, lighter...happier. Plus, the benefits of the physical practice as well. Yoga makes you stronger, both physically and mentally. I think it's easy to take for granted that we are able to move, our bodies crave it, allow ourselves to play and have fun. Your body and mind will thank you.
Ok, last one! I mean, would I even be me if I didn't add this to the list? Reiki helps us to remove all that stagnant energy we hold onto. Our emotions from days, weeks, years, even generations ago are stored in our Aura. These emotions can wear us down and make us sick without even knowing it. Having an emotional balancing session done will help to remove this. Reiki can even help us to change our thinking patterns, sometimes our thoughts are what brings us down into that spiral of misery. For example, if you have things going on in your life that isn't your fault but for some reason, you tell yourself it is; this is a thought pattern that is no longer serving you. We can release this with a mental balancing session. In general, Reiki is healing, so whatever it is you need to let go of or heal from, this beautiful spiritually guided healing energy will wake your innate healing ability up from its slumber and allow you to heal.
We have to remember we can't always control what our environment or situation looks like, but we can control how we react to it. Acceptance does not mean you are choosing or that you prefer the situation you are in, but accepting your situation will allow you to find peace with whatever changes you have to deal with this year. There is good in every situation, focus on finding what you can be grateful for rather than focusing on what you wish was different. So, whatever your Holidays are going to look like, I wish you happiness, love, and health.
Thank you for choosing to spend this time with me and my thoughts! If you are interested in learning more about how Reiki can help, or you want to book a session you can do that here!