Change can be so difficult. Anything that uproots us from our normal routine and makes us feel uncomfortable can leave us physically tired, mentally drained, and emotionally unstable. Since the beginning of the year, my entire path has been all about change - I did name 2017 the year of "fearless courage" so perhaps I accidentally set myself up for it to be that way. There has been good change and there has been bad change, and through the up's and the down's, I've watched myself start to form some bad patterns & habits. It took about 6 months into this year for me to finally realize that I actually have the power to control how I want feel emotionally & physically despite my circumstances. Although it is not easy to pull yourself up and out of depression, stress, or exhaustion, I have found that having a consistent positive attitude depends much more on our habits than how we actually "think" we should "feel." Having this attitude has personally worked for me very well and I have been able to "trick" myself into being happy even through the most difficult changes by forming good happy habits. These are the top 5 things I started doing, despite anything happening to me or around me, that has allowed me to stay in a more consistent positive frame of mind.
1. Every day do something that makes you happy: There are two times each day where you can get the best read on how you're feeling emotionally - as soon as you wake up and as soon as you've finished work & all other tasks for the day. I have found that these two moments, when we've come down from distractions, are crucial in how we will view our day and forming habits around how we feel can be very beneficial. If either first thing in the morning or when I am off work (or both) I have a feeling of dissatisfaction I make myself do one thing (minimum) that I know will make me happy. My list is simple and ranges from reading a book at a coffee shop, to going for a run, to writing, to cooking a great dinner, to opening a bottle of wine. I know what make me feels happy & relaxed, so every time I feel that unsatisfied or sad feeling I follow it up with an action of doing something that will combat it, that'll make me feel just the opposite. And guess what? It totally works.
2. Reward yourself in your morning routine: Personally, when I am going through hard changes I want to sleep in and I could careless if I have any time in the morning to set up my day before it starts. I have gone through weeks and weeks of that this year so I started rewarding myself for getting out of bed early and taking "me" time. My reward? My favorite latte from my favorite coffee shop. You might be thinking wtf, thats silly! But because I am including something that I know will make me happy, even just for a few minutes, it really motivates me. There are so many different things that can work for different people, but for me personally, it's a coffee and knowing I get 1 hour at the coffee shop to read my favorite book before I head to work. I set myself up with a peaceful morning reward which helps so much in having a peaceful mind for the day.
3. Be social: When I have a lot going on in my head I become an introvert, mainly because I don't feel like I can hang out with anyone without looking distressed, I wear everything on my face. But I've come to find that fighting that is the healthiest thing I can do. When my weeks have been crazy and unbalanced I try to, at the very minimum, make sure I am social (even if I have to force myself to be) once or twice a week. Why is this so important? Because you never know how someone might encourage or inspire you, and it just might make you day, week, or month.
4. Make Lists: There has been many points this year where the first few things on my daily list have been as simple as "make bed", "make breakfast", "shower", "return emails." Why do these small normal things need to even go on a list?? Because even the small normal things can seem like extremely hard tasks sometimes. Lists have become my way of survival. The first reason is because even if there are 3 things on my list for the day, checking those 3 things off makes me feel accomplished which, in turn, makes me feel satisfied with myself = happy. The second reason is because having something to keep my mind on track is extremely helpful. When change is going on and I am overloaded with stress my brain doesn't work nearly as well. List are life.
5. Stay healthy: The more I emotionally eat, the worse I feel. I don't beat myself up about it though because who doesn't need to eat an entire medium Domino's pizza and a pint of Ben & Jerry's on a bad day once in awhile? But personally, if I am eating things every day that make my body perform poorly, on top of not getting any exercise, I feel 300x worse. And at that point I'm only causing my self to add unnecessary stress onto the pile. So even if I only have time for a 20 minute run, I just put it on the list and I just do it. How our body feels has so much to do with how our mind feels and if there's always junk getting put into one the other tends to feel pretty bad and suffer from it, too.
I'm going to sign off with a quote from one of my favorite speakers / authors.
Find your anchors and don't let your emotions tell your mind that you don't need them, because you do.