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“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
Despite escalating COVID-19 numbers, and all the other major troubles in our world, every blessed day is a fresh, new slate—a unique opportunity for us to feel good, grow, become “one with the universe,” think about life from a whole new perspective, and glean the insight and enlightenment we so often seek.
We really can hit the reset button each morning. It costs nothing except being consciously invested in our own happiness and well-being sans material things and congregational activities. It requires very little. No goals on the horizon, or future plans, just clear and present awareness.
If we incorporate the following 10 ideas into our lives as often as possible, we’ll find ourselves trotting down a path toward better connection with our fellow travelers, and in good spirits despite our shared, current reality. We can become people who rationally deal with hardship via acceptance and perseverance, because we’ve got some foolproof tools to ease our journey.
Here we go!
1. Do one or two unplanned things every day.
Stop at a farmer’s market, go for a bike ride. Pop in on a neighbor or an old friend (wearing a mask, of course). Do something not on the agenda. It could be pulling over to stare at the sunset or saying hello to a big ole farm animal butting up against a fence. One or two “unplanned” things a day (big or small) promotes mental wellness and sparks joy.
2. Give something to someone.
It could be our time or a small little precious something we found or made. It could be that we lend a helping hand. Maybe it’s a “throwback photo” post on social media, something that nostalgically transports us back to a time we did something cool or fun together. In doing so, we are filling another person’s soul with a positive, valued memory.
3. Have a conversation with a stranger.
There is always an opportunity to do this. It could be someone we “know” from our job who we never really speak with (for whatever reason). It could the guy in front of us in the grocery store, waiting in line to check out. The connection we seek comes from the act and art of verbal connection—always.
4. Whisper three nice things to ourselves about our physical appearance every day.
So often we sabotage our self-esteem by putting ourselves down quietly, under our breath, or out loud, in jest. Self-esteem certainly isn’t all about how we feel about ourselves physically, but all too often our features and attributes are what we take aim for when we want to hurt ourselves. I have nice eyes, strong legs, and pretty fingernails. My hair smells good, I like how tall I am, and my skin is smooth. I am worthy. Repeat!
5. Eat two or three vegan or vegetarian meals a day.
‘Mo meat ‘mo problems. Conscious, clean, pro-plant meals (no plastic, no slaughter) are terrific for the environment, not to mention our precious, living, breathing bodies. Go for it. It’s easier than you think.
6. Find a way to meditate for five minutes or longer.
Meditation is anything that brings peace of mind. Sitting on a park bench quietly, or turning on some soft music and laying down on the couch for a bit works beautifully. A short series of sun salutations can take the edge off. Maybe a quick lap around the neighborhood.
Meditation is a solo activity. It’s about resting our eyes and heads and centering ourselves for a better perspective. Our eyes are the windows to our soul, and when we rest our eyes, we are resting our souls.
7. One way or another, get outside.
Sometimes I stop all my “doing” at 4 p.m. only to realize I’ve been cooped up inside, sitting in front of a screen all day long! Sometimes my last opportunity to get outside is at 10 p.m. I go outside to stare at the night sky before bed. Too much time indoors kills the human spirit slowly.
8. Eat a cookie…or a little something that’s sweet and yummy.
Just one. It won’t “ruin our diet,” or our lean muscle mass. It won’t sabotage any big body health transformation plans we currently hold for ourselves. Tasty treats are wonderful and everyone should enjoy a little (just a little!) sugar once a day.
When that cool jam comes on, let it rip. Singing at the top of our lungs to a song we love is often the best kind of mood-enhancing recharge therapy there is. Bad voice? Who cares. Sing it, Beyoncé!
10. Organizer a drawer.
Sounds crazy, and maybe a bit simple, but putting something in order where there was once chaos helps put other parts of our lives in order too. Another thing that can be rewarding is emptying our e-mail trash bin! A clean space of any kind is a healthy comfortable space, which clears the way for some good vibes.
Reset is only difficult if we make it that way. It doesn’t require an entire life overhaul, money, or a two-week yoga retreat. If we keep it simple by incorporating the 10 ideas listed here, we can change our perspectives and refresh our depleted energy for happier, healthier, human well-being.