Quiet the Crowd in Your Mind
Imagine that you are sitting in the center of a football stadium that is packed with people. You’re down on the field, at your desk, minding your own business, with the crowd of people at a dull roar, and it’s fine.
Now imagine that the voice of one of the people in the crowd catches your attention. Your ear tunes into the conversation, and you’re distracted for a moment while you listen. You can hear them discussing what to have for lunch, and even though it has nothing to do with you, you think, “ew, I don’t like that.”
Then you start thinking about all of the places you like to eat lunch and when you might go there and what you like to order. Before you know it, you’re texting a friend to make a date.
Turning back to your work, you hear another conversation in the back of the stadium. Someone is talking about something that someone else did. You listen, and then even though it has nothing to do with you, you think, “that’s messed up. I wouldn’t do it that way. I would be mad if that happened to me.”
Then you hear another. And another. You get up and start offering advice to the people. You try to solve their problems. They begin to line up, and before you know it everyone in the stadium is crowding around you, asking what they should do and what you think about their situation, and you become absorbed in the melee.
By the end of the day you’re exhausted, but confused. You’ve been working really, really hard, but somehow none of your work got done. How could that be when you are so busy, and so tired?
Now let’s imagine a different scenario. You’re back at your desk in the football stadium, surrounded by the chattering crowd, but this time when a voice creeps into your awareness, you don’t listen. You notice it, say, “that happened,” and go back to your work without stopping to make an opinion about what you heard or investigate it further. You just notice that you heard it, acknowledge that it happened, and MYOB.
Now here is part of the story I did not reveal at the start. All of those chattering people in the stands? They are your thoughts. Hundreds of thousands of thoughts that come through your mind throughout the day, asking your opinion. But the reality is that only a fraction of them need any attention at all. In fact, you can allow the majority of them to pass by you without even a glance.
You can sit in the center of the stadium, with the hum of thoughts buzzing around you, knowing that they are chattering, and not stop to decide what you think. You may discover that by releasing yourself from the job of being the Decider of All Things actually frees up your mind and energy for the things that actually matter.
Give it a try this week! Sit in the stadium, wave to the crowd once in a while, and let them have conversations with each other without your input. When your important work is done, go mingle with them. You may find that they’ve solved all of their problems without you, and things are actually nice and quiet in there.
Your thoughts want your attention, but they don’t need it. Give them a nod and MYOB!
A recent conversation with a client was the most fun I’ve had at work in quite a while. She had set a goal of exercising three to four times a week, which had been a challenge because she had a busy job and was exhausted at the end of the day, when she had chosen to workout. But, she had lost 60 pounds with nutrition changes, and wanted to add in exercise so she could continue to lose weight and tone and strengthen her muscles.
I was a little nervous about her goal because I thought maybe she had bitten off more than she could chew. But, a couple of weeks later, she checked in with great success! I asked her what the trigger was that got her from the couch and up working out. Her answer was so simple and so awesome: I just love how I feel when I do.
She went on to tell me that even when she had a long day at work and was really tired, she exercised because she knew she would feel better right away.
I wanted to clarify this point and make sure I understood exactly what she was saying, so I asked her to confirm what I heard: the results from exercising were immediate, positive, and attainable. Yes, she said. They were.
I was floored. This was fantastic news! Just a few weeks prior, she had been frustrated that her progress had stalled, and she was at a crossroads for what to do. She was confused, because she was still working hard but her body wasn’t changing as much as it was before. She sighed and confessed, “I know, I want instant results. I need to give it time.”
But now she was positively giddy, telling me that exercising made her feel so good right away that she was looking forward to her workouts after a long day at work. It was not possible for her to have a bigger smile on her face.
We are at the half-way point of this crazy year, and a lot feels uncertain and scary. But, we have more control over how we feel than we think. We have access to tools that can help us feel better right away.
Chief among those is the immediate benefit of feeling great through exercise, which my client was enjoying every single day. When the world’s problems seem like more than we can handle, sometimes the best thing we can do is feel better, because feeling better is not overrated. In fact, feeling better makes it easier for us to be part of the solution!
Worried about diabetes? Exercise reduces insulin levels in your blood and improves your insulin sensitivity. That means you and your brain are better able to partner up to notice when you are full and don’t need to keep eating.
Feeling stuck on a project at work? Exercise helps with neurogenesis, which is the creation of new brain cells. A walk and some fresh air can lead to more clarity of thought, productivity, and energy to work.
Exercise is proven to boost our mood to the point where we can alleviate symptoms of clinical depression. Just thirty minutes a few times a week can make a difference. But don’t just stroll around. Work up a good sweat and get your heart and lungs pumping! Get your money’s worth!
Feeling a little low on self-confidence? Battling anxiety? Go and do a strength-training workout or join an exercise class. Exercise can boost self-esteem and improve body image, making you feel like a million bucks. And when you feel good, you look good. More instant benefits! Could this get any better? You betcha.
Not only does exercise immediately make you feel amazing, raise your intellect, and make it easier to eat healthy, it burns calories, which leads to weight loss. Yes! You can even lose weight, on top of feeling great whenever you want to. Oh, and exercise also lowers your blood pressure, enhances sleep quality, reduces cholesterol…should I go on?
My client and I were laughing and cheering over the phone as we marveled in her discovery. Happiness, relaxation, lower stress…it was all attainable within minutes and completely in her control. In fact, the two things that were guaranteed to bring her a lifetime of happiness were two things she had complete control over: what she ate and whether or not she exercised. Instant gratification was sitting right next to her this whole time.
It’s sitting next to you, too. You can join her and feel amazing today. Right now! I hope you will, and that your smile will not be able to get bigger. You deserve to feel great. What are you waiting for?
P.S. If you're looking for daily motivation, I go LIVE in my private, members-only Facebook group every morning at 8:30am to help YOU get each day started on the right foot. Join us in The Good Life!
Find Beauty in a Smaller Life
On Friday I put a message on all of my social media that I’m out for a bit. Then I turned off notifications, closed Facebook, and checked out. I almost uninstalled the app, but I am still running The Good Life, so I need that! But for all other intents and purposes, I’m out for now.
Then I got out a notepad and a pen and wrote at the top of a new, clean sheet of paper: “The Whole Point of This.” I didn’t plan to write those words, they just came out. So I went with it.
I sat there for a second or two, and then my pen wrote, “to help people live healthy, balanced lives.” I loved that my mission statement is so much a part of me that it came out like that.
I listened for more, but there wasn’t more. There was nothing more for me to do. I help people live healthy, balanced lives. Period. The world keeps shouting that in order to do that, I need followers and likes, and Tik Tok videos and a YouTube channel, and that I need to do Instagram stories with links in the bio, and I don’t even know what it means to have a link in the bio.
And I don’t care, because trying to get people to like me is 100% exhausting. It’s not that I don’t want them to, because of course I want people to like me. I just don’t want it to be my job. I just want to help people live healthy, balanced lives.
It made me think about my friend who recently received a beautiful bouquet of flowers. You know the kind, like out of a magazine. And like any flower arrangement, it was gorgeous for a day or two, and then it began to wilt and fade. That’s the point when I usually toss them out, thanking the universe for the beautiful flowers as I push them into the trash can, letting them fade into what was, moving on to what’s next.
Of course, my beautiful friend didn’t do that. She pulled out the dead and dying parts, transferred them to a new vase, and made a new arrangement. She showed them off in a Zoom call, sharing that she likes to re-purpose arrangements into smaller pieces that continue to bring her joy. I’ve included pictures here so you can see the original arrangement and the new one.
I immediately asked if I could share this with you, because it was such a relief for me. (Thank you, Sheree!)
The world is really noisy and confusing right now. It has been for a while, but particularly now, it is getting to me. I personally have gotten to a level where I wonder, is this it? Is this what we have created? Is this really the time in which I am living? The negativity, sadness, vitriol, confusion, contradictions, spite, and hopelessness that I see in my newsfeed is overwhelming to the point where I wanted to toss the whole thing out.
Then I remember my notebook paper, and its silence. I remember how there were no words to write after my personal statement of purpose. And I realize that I was so wrong, and that I had confused social media with the world, and that the actual world is pretty quiet.
And then I thought about the flowers, and how when some of them began to wither and die, my friend had taken them out and rearranged what was left into something new. So I did that, too.
I help people live healthy, balanced lives. Period. I do it in The Good Life, in my podcast, and as a health advisor for Wellview Health. Those are all of the flowers I need.
Do you need to weed out some wilted areas of your life? Are there any dead pieces that need to go? You may want to pull them out, too, and create something fresher, smaller, and new. I’ll help if you need it, because that is what I do.
Take the First Step Towards Change
During my quarantine house-organizing, I found a vision board that I made a couple of years ago. I enjoy creating vision boards because the process allows me to think through my aspirations, really process what they will require of me, and get inspired by the pictures and words I choose to represent them.
In this case, finding the vision board was extra fun because, as I looked at it, I realized that I’ve actually achieved a good bit of what’s on it, even if not in the way that I expected. Pretty cool!
One of the defining elements of my vision board was this quote by Oprah Winfrey: “The real point of being alive is to evolve into the whole person you were intended to be.” I liked it, so I tacked it up. I remember that a few days later, I walked past my vision board, propped up on the mirror above my dresser, and the word, “evolve” jumped out at me. Hmph, I thought. Who has time to evolve? I want things to be the way I want them now! But I knew that word was important, so I got a pen and I circled it.
When I sat at my computer, I looked up the definition of the word evolve, and smirked when I saw that the Latin root is evolvere, which means, “to unroll.” Of course. Yes, it was starting to make sense now.
In a world that promises results in 90 days and praises overnight success stories, waiting around to evolve into the person you were intended to be seems like sitting on the sidelines. We’re supposed to make it happen! Just do it! Be the change you want to see in the word! Carpe diem…and hurry! We want to force change to happen in our lives, so we keep shoving it into place, as if we are trimming the ends of the puzzle pieces of life so they fit together into something that kind of feels like it might stay that way, as long as no one touches it. But then it buckles and warps, and the pieces come apart, and we know we should have slowed down and done things correctly. We should have let it unroll.
When something evolves, it changes. It grows, morphs, adapts, streamlines…it becomes something new by nature of what it has experienced. We can’t rush evolution; it has to happen on its own. Creating change in our lives, especially in how we manage our health and well-being, is the same way. Although it can seem overwhelming to think about changing the course of our lives and everything that entails, it can really be as calm and steady as allowing ourselves to unroll.
So, that’s my big health advice for this week. Just sit there and allow yourself to evolve into the person you were meant to be. Pretty easy, right? No, we are called to find the balance between forcing change and surrendering to it. I’ve begun referring to this as my proactive, responsive steps.
Be Proactive About Change. I believe that evolution favors the proactive: those who are willing participants in the process of being changed, and open to the possibility that rolling with change could very well send you in a direction that was better than what you planned for yourself. Create a vision for how you want to live your life and manage your health, set your course for that destination, and launch that ship, friend. Go for it. But don’t forget the next step.
Respond. This is the key element of evolving into the person you were intended to be: notice when you have to keep shoving those pieces back in place, and respond to that. If sticking to your charted course requires a rigid lifestyle that can’t be maintained without constant attention, there’s a good chance that you’re headed in the wrong direction. Healthy changes aren’t always easy, but they are absolutely attainable and shouldn’t require much forcing. Pay attention, and respond.
Take the Steps. The balance between being proactive and responsive is in partnership. It may not be realistic or practical to change all of your habits at once in pursuit of a healthier life, but taking the first step is. Relax. Don’t rush this. Just make the next step. Allow yourself to unroll, and evolve, into the person you are intended to be by taking the next positive step towards your goal.
Honestly, I don’t know if evolving into the person you were intended to be really is the point of being alive. I think the point of life may be a little bit bigger than that. But in a world that rushes and pushes and forces change, perhaps those who take those quiet, proactive, responsive steps will be the ones who survive to find out.
Be NICE to Yourself
My 8 year old has been pretty bossy lately.
He’s been making a lot of rules for how we should interact with him. He wants me to be quieter in the mornings, and not open the curtains in his bedroom without his permission. He’s dictated what kind of ice cream should be on the grocery list (mint chocolate chip) and let us know that he is out of yogurt. But only the very specific brand of strawberry that he likes. Don’t get that other kind. It is NOT good.
My husband and I roll our eyes and smile when he issues his orders like a prince. In a world where pretty much everything changed for him overnight, I figure he’s looking for anything he can control at this point. Aren’t we all? And, I admire him. After all, others might say that he’s really just setting some boundaries for himself.
Setting - and verbalizing - boundaries is a lesson we learn early in life, even if we have a clunky way of doing it. Have you ever heard a preschooler say, “get out of my bubble?” They’ve learned that they have the right to a certain amount of space around them, and they’ll speak up when it’s being invaded.
It’s pretty easy to name the kinds of boundaries we need to protect ourselves and our interests from potential threats: we will not allow others to abuse us, put us in danger, violate our privacy, or insult us for long before we stand up and defend ourselves (or at least vent to someone else about it).
And, we have internal boundaries, too. Our bodies have a threshold of need for movement, sleep, nourishment, connection, and love, and the only person who can violate them is us.
We do that when we consistently over-obligate ourselves to others, speak negatively to ourselves, and put what others want ahead of what we need.
If you consistently find yourself wondering why you can’t seem to make the time for exercise, get enough sleep, or motivate yourself to follow through on pursuing greater health, it may be because you are not being N.I.C.E. to yourself.
Use each letter in the word “NICE” to remember the steps for respecting your own boundaries:
N = Notice. Notice when you are approaching an internal boundary that needs to be respected. You would not tell someone else that what they need is selfish and unimportant, so why is it okay to tell yourself that? Hearing negative self-talk is one way to notice that a boundary is in jeopardy. Feeling anxious, guilty, or otherwise overwhelmed are other signs that there is a personal boundary that you are not respecting for yourself.
I = Identify. It may seem silly at first, but verbalizing to yourself what you have noticed really helps clear the mental clutter. It can be so powerful to say something like, “I just accepted a piece of cake that I do not want to eat because it was offered to me. I am pushing my boundary of eating within my calorie needs because I feel obligated to eat food that is given to me.” In doing so, you’ve noticed how you feel and why you feel that way, without judgement or evaluation of yourself as a person. Wow! You are so evolved! Go you!
C – Commit. Once you notice how you feel and identify why, it’s time to commit to respecting that boundary. “I am committed to making choices that will support my health and vitality.” Sometimes that means saying no to people who made cake. Sometimes it means saying no to another part of yourself, like the part that wants to stay up late watching TV instead of getting enough sleep to be energized for a morning workout. Committing to respecting your own boundaries doesn’t mean putting yourself first at the expense of others, it means taking care of yourself so you can take care of others.
E – Engage! Act! Do the thing! Put your metaphorical foot down, steel your resolve, take a deep breath, and say, “thanks, but I’m good.” Turn off the TV and get in bed so you can wake up energized for exercise. Get off the couch and prepare a healthy lunch and snacks for the next day so you don’t end up in the drive-through. Do the thing. Nothing changes if you don’t engage with your own commitment.
As empathetic, mature, and responsible people, it is completely expected and appropriate that we will put the needs of others ahead of our own at times. Selfless acts of kindness and compassion are part of what connects us as people and makes the world a better place. But when we take it to an extreme and allow our own emotional and physical health to deteriorate as a result, no one wins.
My little prince will get his requested ice cream, and I’ll let him decide when his bedroom curtains are opened. I can’t guarantee a quiet morning, but I appreciate his desire for one! As we navigate this new world, take time to be nice to yourself this week. See if the world suffers. I expect it will actually be very, very nice.
Sometimes I just sit in front of my computer, staring at the screen, knowing I am supposed to be working, coming up with new ideas, creating amazing things, and sending people the documents they are waiting for. Then I look through the window at the trees in my yard. I work at a little table in the front window of my living room now. The trees are bright green. There is a slight breeze. Sun shines through the leaves and I wonder what the temperature is like.
And then I remember that there is a class zoom meeting. Where is the meeting ID number? Shoot.
Did I sign him up for the science group? When is that?
Ping. Text message. Did I do the thing? Not yet. I’ve been... busy? I feel busy, but not like I’m really accomplishing anything.
Ding. Email. Here’s another update about what we’re allowed or not allowed to do, but so-and-so says that is stupid and what’s-her-face says it’s a conspiracy. So, maybe we don’t have to do it?
It’s all urgent, but it also feels artificial. It’s important, but kind of optional.
Snap out of it! This is a great opportunity! And look how lucky you are. You should be thankful. Other people don’t have what you have. Stop complaining.
But is this complaining? Does feeling antsy mean that I am ungrateful? Is it complaining to feel like this abundance of something that we are all feeling is somehow not enough? Oh! Zoom class meeting starts in 10 minutes! Do you have the login? It’s the same as last time, right?
It’s been six weeks now that we have been in...whatever this is. It’s not a quarantine, because we can kind of go anywhere. People are dying by the dozens, but hey - you can get wine delivered to your door and look, those people are taking their boat somewhere. They look okay. Is this even a real thing?
I get up and wander to my husband’s office. Our house is quiet. The kids are…doing schoolwork? Sure. We stare at each other as I lean against the door frame. He’s in a zoom call. We have it good. We have jobs, a house, food, and all the time in the world now. Opportunity!
“Mom, I did my spelling. Now what?”
I turn around. “Let’s go for a walk outside.”
We walk, and he talks. I listen, but only halfway because another voice is talking just a little louder. “Do you get it yet? Zoom out, not in. Look at the big picture - there is good stuff here, and it is enough.”
Zoom! This is the real zoom: the zoom out. We were supposed to make it simpler and we made it more complicated. We were supposed to slow down and we sped up even more. We added meetings to our lives that we literally refer to as “zooms.” But we zoomed the wrong way.
My pace quickens as we turn the corner and I feel energy come back into my body. I smile down at the boy next to me, chattering as he wheels around on his scooter. The meeting ID numbers are lost and we don’t care. The passwords are forgotten and it doesn’t matter. We’re going to be okay. We’ll adapt and we’re going to see the world change before our eyes, if we remember to zoom out.
Stay in Pilot Mode
It has officially been one month since my 8-year-old has left our property. He came home from school on Friday, March 13 to begin spring break, and he has stayed home ever since. My teenager has left twice - once to pick up a pizza and once for a doctor’s appointment. I hope that things are going well for you and your family in this strange time we are living in.
One thing that I have enjoyed is more time for family walks. I’ve incorporated a couch to 5k program as part of our “home school,” and every morning at 9:00 am we head out for 30 minutes of exercise. Enthusiasm is mixed but we’re doing it anyway!
This morning, my little one raced ahead and I was left with my teenager. I asked him how school was going in his new online classroom. In typical teenage fashion, he provided pretty limited feedback, but in between grumblings and wry observations, I heard him say something that caught my attention.
“What was that?” I asked.
“What,” he replied.
“What you just said. You said you try to get back into something-mode. But I missed the first part.”
“Oh. Pilot mode. When I get off track or I get frustrated, I try to get back into pilot mode.”
I couldn’t suppress my smile, partly because I loved the idea of pilot mode and because I was so proud of him for being self-aware and pro-active. He went on to explain that he tries to remember that he is the pilot and that he needs to not get distracted from that. I asked where he learned such a cool idea and he said, “nowhere, I just made it up!”
We are surrounded by distractions, frustrations, and unknown elements that provide plenty of just cause for getting out of the pilot seat and wandering around the aircraft looking for answers, explanations, or signs that life will return to normal soon. We could turn on auto-pilot for a few minutes and indulge ourselves in that distraction, but before long we need to get back into pilot mode and take the controls again.
I asked him how he does it. “How do you get back into pilot mode?”
“I just notice that I am out of it, and I remind myself to get back in it.” That kind of non-judgemental self-awareness is a gentle and compassionate way to care for yourself. In the process of kindly redirecting yourself, you build the confidence you need to tackle difficult emotions, circumstances, and feelings.
When we got back home from our walk, I watched him run ahead of me and into the house so he could do whatever he had on his mind before signing in to school on zoom. Over the past month that we have been living in this strange time of history, I have definitely felt like we are flying our family to an unknown destination. But we have a good flight crew, and together we will land this plane safely! And so will you. Stay in pilot mode!
P.S. If you need a little help getting back into pilot mode and staying there, consider joining The Good Life! As a member, you'll get group accountability AND one-on-one coaching to help you live the way YOU desire each & every day.
A New Normal
It’s April 2020, and things aren’t going the way we expected. Remember January, when we were super excited about the new year and everything it held for us? We didn’t know.
Now as we sit quarantined in our homes - you’re not going anywhere, are you? - I feel a little guilty because I am not completely hating this. That’s a complicated way to feel because people are suffering, people are working really hard to keep us alive, and all I have to do is sit here at home, and I don’t hate it.
My family goes for two walks a day right now, once in the morning and then in the evening. As we left our driveway last week I noticed myself feeling wistful for the time we have together right now, and knew that I would miss it when things go back to “normal.”
I thought about the amount of time I used to spend in my car, driving Mom’s Taxi back and forth, back and forth, not accomplishing anything other than getting people to places, and getting them there late even for all of my hustle, and feeling lame for being late all the time.
I thought about how I used to feel overwhelmed by the number of things we had to do, and obligations we had or expectations we had to be places and do things. That’s gone now. No one expects us to be anywhere, we don’t have to come up with reasons why we can’t do things, and the expectation is that we are going to hole up in our nests and live our lives and tend to ourselves. And I like it.
Normal wasn’t working. Normal American life had resulted in a stressed-out, overweight, overworked, exhausted group of people who desperately needed a break, looking to other cultures for cues about how to live more simply. Now that we are being forced to live more simply, we want things to be “normal.”
I’m spending time considering how much of this new, slow, simple life I can keep, and what my new normal will be. We can create it, you know. We can say no to the old way, and stay in the new way.
What do you like about life now?
What do you not miss?
What do you not want to go back to?
What do you want to keep about this?
I’m not getting everything right in this experience. There are new frustrations and worries, and every week reveals a new wrinkle. But sometimes, I think about what parts I will keep, and what will become my new normal. A new normal. Are you brave enough to live it?
In this strange, new world, there are things I hear myself thinking that I never have before.
Who else touched this?
There’s a lot of people in that car.
Am I going to die of the Coronavirus?
That one comes up kind of a lot because I have a lung thing. I’m healthy and I take good care of myself, but sometimes even healthy people get infections, and this virus doesn’t seem to discriminate. I take comfort in hearing that most of the people who die from it have other health issues, and I don’t have other issues. I just have a lung thing.
I was born with my esophagus attached to my windpipe. No one could really explain to my parents how that happened, but luckily they were able to notice it right away and within five hours of being born, I was in surgery. One of the long-term side effects of the procedure that fixed me is a condition called bronchiectasis, which is the result of airways being damaged, putting you at higher risk of infection. Mine were damaged by having surgery on them. So, growing up I got pneumonia quite a lot, and even now when the pollen falls I get out the Mucinex. If I get sinus congestion, it invariably moves to my chest, and then if not treated turns into bronchitis, and then pneumonia.
Funny thing is, the doctors told my parents that I would never be very active. So, I really take delight in being a marathon runner, reaching the summit of a 14,000-foot mountain, and stuff like that. But, when I read about people dying from COVID-19, I wonder if I could fight it. I honestly don’t know.
But what I DO know is that for the time being, this is our life now, and I still have jobs and clients and deadlines and all of that. So, as is my way, I got out a notebook and a pen and began making lists.
I made lists of what opportunities I saw in this new lifestyle.
I made lists of my deadlines and work projects that needed to be completed and by when.
I made lists of the projects around the house that needed doing.
I made lists of what things I needed to think about.
Then, I made a schedule. Well, I made about four schedules! I made one that was all work, broken down by hour and task. Then I crumpled that up and tossed it out. Too rigid, not realistic. My next schedule was too unstructured. Finally made a schedule that I thought I would use, which included time for exercise in the morning, then set times to be at my desk working, and time to wrap it up and make dinner.
And then, that evening, I corralled my boys out for a walk around the circle that we live on. The weather was nice and breezy, and there was a calmness in the air, as if the earth was at peace. It was quiet. Really, really quiet. And as I watched my boys walking ahead of me and thought about what to make for dinner, the right schedule came to my mind.
This is an opportunity to completely change the way we live. I’ve craved a simpler life for a long time, and I have it now. It’s more complicated in some ways, but soon we will get work figured out and fall into new patterns. But I am curious to see what we don’t spend money on anymore, and how we benefit from more sleep. Our mornings can be slower, since we don’t have to rush out of the door to get to school by 8:30 am. I can do the things that usually get put off for the weekends, because I’m not driving all over creation every day. So I made a new schedule.
Personal exercise just for me.
Breakfast on the porch and checking in with my online group.
Morning couch to 5k workout with my boys.
Work projects and clients, prioritized for the day.
Lunch followed by yoga or guitar practice.
Second half of work projects.
House projects, one each day, indoors and out.
Evening walk with my boys.
TV time and in bed by 9.
Now THAT is a day I feel at peace with. Just having it on paper makes me feel more calm, organized, and energized. I encourage you to do the same - what opportunities do you see? What can you delete and bring in? What would be your ideal day, and what is stopping you from living it?
If you need a little motivation and accountability to make this happen for you, join us in The Good Life.
A Little Bit of Normal
I know I am not the only one hammering out a blog post about COVID-19. So, I won’t pretend like I have brilliant advice that you or someone else haven’t already thought about. Many of us are in similar circumstances: suddenly housebound, contemplating homeschooling, overwhelmed with suggestions and resources, wavering between staying away from others and rushing out to help, and wondering how long it will go on. Oh, and there’s that thing about needing a paycheck!
Yesterday was pretty chaotic at my house. I had interviews to conduct, requiring active listening followed by creative writing on a deadline. I had administrative work to complete and send to others so they could do their jobs. In the midst of various closures, I needed to make phone calls and coordinate new schedules. My 8-year-old didn’t understand why we were not going on play-dates during spring break, and I felt guilty about my teenager sitting in front of video games all day. By the end of the day, I was emotionally and physically spent. Then, our pet fish died. I mean, come on!
We don’t know how long this virus is going to last or when things will get back to “normal.” But, like in my post last week about the three columns - what we can control, what we can’t, and where we are still okay - that doesn’t mean we are without any structure at all.
I laughed along with everyone else at the meme of the color-coded schedule. Mostly because I was absolutely the mom thinking that I’d make a schedule for my kids. Then I realized how completely naive that was but, today I made one. Although, it’s more of a loose framework; a to-do list that makes sure we check off the boxes of Life As We Knew It.
On my list: go running, email my best friend, meet my deadlines, and practice guitar.
For my kids: music practice, reading, a walk and some time outside doing I don’t care what until I can think again.
It’s Day 1, and it’s only 10:30, but so far it feels like a regular day off of school and I am a lot more calm. And when I am calm, everything is better. What brings you calm? What do you need to do each day to feel grounded and “normal”? Make yourself a list, and do them.
I’m an optimist, and I do believe that there will be a day relatively soon when we turn the corner and are able to loosen the restrictions that we have placed on ourselves in order to contain this virus and make it easier for medical professionals to do their work. Between now and then, there will be days when we do a great job and days when we aren’t at our best, just like before. If you're in need of an online community, join us in The Good Life! We set goals together, offer group accountability and I share ideas of how you can stay level and ride the wave. We are going to be okay!
About This Blog
Each week, I write the "Healthy Heather Blog" in the Tallahassee Democrat. It is republished here in case you are not a subscriber (what???). Sometimes it is really good and other times it is just okay. Thanks for reading it regardless of your opinion!