Meaningful Monday: Winter or SummerMay 4, 2020
People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy. (Anton Chekhov)
This, to me, speaks volumes about learning acceptance. When we are happy, we don’t notice a lot of other things. It can be hot or cold, rainy or sunny… we could be single or married, working or unemployed, we can still be happy. Happiness is a state of mind as much as it is an emotion. As a sufferer of anxiety disorder, this has been a hard lesson for me to learn. Even so, it is so very true!
We are all in control of ourselves. We decide if we will succumb to road rage or drive on. We decide if we will react to ill-behaved idiots on the subway or ignore them and move along. We make many decisions throughout the day that impacts our mindset and emotions. While we are in lockdown, we also have the freedom to make decisions that will impact our mindsets and emotions. Consider thoughtful reactions instead of just mindlessly reacting. Think about what you say and do before it actually happens. Plan it out, especially with more important or stressful encounters. Think of the different ways your situation could go and what you will do or say in each scenario. Not only will you be well equipped to handle those situations, but you will also appear to be quicker-minded and more intelligent to those you interact with. By planning out scenarios, you’ll be less effected when a situation takes a negative turn because you are already prepared and less likely to reactive negatively or overreact.
Take time for yourself. It is even more important when we are cooped up with others during lockdown that we take some “me time” every day. It’s amazing what a little alone time can do for your mental and emotional well-being. Even if you just hide away in the bathroom for a half of an hour or have to let the kids sleep a little late so you can have some “me time” in the morning (which is what I usually do!), it will work wonders for your happiness!
Spend some time in the sun! Go outside in the yard, enjoy the weather. It doesn’t always have to be sunny and bright! Cloudy and rainy days can be as enjoyable as sunny days. When the sun is obstructed, the breeze feels even cooler and colors can really look more vibrant! Listen to the rain and even go out and feel it on your skin. Take a note from the kids and splash in a puddle. Who cares how old you are? It’s still fun! Even if you live in an apartment, you can open the windows and let some fresh air in, enjoy the fresh breeze and feel the sun. It works wonders!
Stop. Breathe. Repeat. Continue with life. Deep breathing exercises can be a lifesaver! Breathing slowly and deeply actually tricks your body into calming down, even if you are upset! Try it! I’m not talking about “breathe in… one, two, three, four, five… breathe out… one, two three, four, five…” even though there is something to be said for the “breathe and count” method. I’m talking about mindless, calming breathing. Just be mindful to go slow and breathe deeply. Even if you are sitting there reading this article, watching a youtube video or watching TV. Just controlling your breathing can train your body to remain calmer all of the time. It also helps to increase your lung capacity and increases your blood oxygen saturation level, which is very good for you!
Even though you may be tempted to let the housework go a bit while in lockdown, don’t give in to that temptation! As a matter of fact, this is a great time to do some major spring cleaning! De-clutter your house and you’ll be surprised how it impacts your mind and emotions! Maybe even take a few minutes to research Feng Shui and how you can apply those ancient concepts to your living area. Rearrange furniture. Plant some houseplants or start a kitchen herb garden. Keeping your space clean and green will help you to keep your mind and emotions in good shape, too!
By taking some time to analyze situations and your reactions, taking some “me time” every day, practicing deep breathing exercises a few times throughout the day, and making mindful decisions to do things that have positive impacts on your mindset and emotions, you are truly taking full control of your situation and limiting negative impacts on yourself. Focus on being happy!