Dr. Laurie shares how to kick-start our happiness this time of year.
It's a rainy, ugly day here in January. There's nothing new happening, and my mood has slowed to a gray haze.
The combination of the weather and the season invite me to think about a kick-start.
I wonder if you are running on fumes and need one, too? When we're living with chronic pain -- and unpredictable physical and emotional challenges -- our reserves get low. Something as ordinary as bad weather or a demand from our boss or family can send us into a funk.
I've had fun imagining some quick pick-me-ups that we could use -- ideas that can propel us into a little better space and give us some happy energy.
I'm planning on doing one a day for the next week! Let me know how it works for you.
Shake Up That Routine
Usually I do the same things in the same order every day. Yes, this saves time. But the rut I get into has a limited view. These ideas are small, and may seem silly, but even a little tweak can release a little energy that can build.
- Go a different way to work or school, or on your carpool today. It takes a little thinking, but that's the idea! New sights! Different vantage point!
- Eat something different for breakfast. I get stuck on my usual -- what if I made a poached egg? Or had a new kind of fruit?
- Take a class you've never tried. On my list is tai chi and pilates. Yours might include bridge, or Spanish dancing, or Thai cooking. A short-term commitment to an innovative experience can stimulate your creativity.
- Say no to something. Give yourself some free space.
- Take 15 minutes to daydream. Most of us push and rush and tick off to do's with no time to let our minds relax and expand.
- Bring some fresh flowers into your home. A flowering plant. Start some seeds. Living green presences can lift our hearts.
- Take a dip into a bath (investing in some good smelling oils or bubbles) or go to a sauna.
- New sheets? A snuggly comforter? A better reading light?
- Something to look at from your desk or kitchen table that makes you feel happy.
- If you sometimes get a massage, try a different kind. If you never get a massage or body treatment, this is a great time of year to try something! Get a referral from a friend. Some of my clients like the hot wax treatment on their feet. Reflexology is an easy way to start.
- Getting yourself in gear to allow something fun. That can be a challenge when most of life feels like a long slog up hill.
- What unused gift cards do you have lying around? A restaurant you haven't gone to, some shopping? You may have a treat waiting for you that you have put off.
- A board game you haven't pulled out in a while, coffee with a friend, going to a movie, allowing yourself to get and read that fun looking best seller -- you have some ideas of your own that you haven't accessed, and this is a chance to let it happen.
- Some of you are creative -- you write or sew or paint or make jewelry -- but your projects are in a closet or heaped up in a corner of the room. This is the season to bring them out and make some space and time. Creative pursuits are the elixir of happiness. Enjoy.
OK, those are my quick start ideas. It can be hard to move yourself from slug pace towards something that will give you a mental and physical lift, but it's worth it!
Let me know how it goes.
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