For reasons that cannot be explained in this post, we have had a few very hard days at our home. In fact, they’ve really sucked and probably won’t improve much in the near future.
I’ve had to reflect a bit on how I can find a little joy when all the joy I had has been knocked right out of me? I’m not totally sure I have the definitive answer but here are nine things I have done (or have thought about doing) over the last 72 hours to try to brighten our days.
- Eat. When life really sucks, we usually don’t eat well. Maybe I should say I don’t eat well when I’m down in the dumps. Anyway…make yourself eat something healthy at regular points in the day. Stay away from the processed foods as much as you can. Eat proteins, vegetables and fruits. If your sugar levels are relatively stable then your mental state will be, too.
- Exercise. I’m lousy at exercising during the best of times but during a crisis I seem to perform/think better if I engage in some kind of exercise. We are more than fortunate in that walking in our neighborhood is like walking in a park so it helps me and my state of mind to get out into nature. If I am really upset I actually intersperse some short sprints while on my walk.
- Cry. Sometimes a good, long, hard cry just cleanses all the crap out of your system. Once I’ve had a good cry I tend to pull up my boot straps and get busy solving problems and getting things done!
- Deliberately look for things to make you smile. A cardinal flying across the field, a deer stepping out of the trees, a colorful leaf, a child’s smile, a musical note from a set of hidden chimes… Look/listen for things that make your heart go pitter-pat and your mouth turn up at the ends. There are hundreds of these little moments each day. Some days we just have to look a little harder and listen a little closer.
- Make a To-Do List. Just making a list of tasks that must be accomplished and putting them on a time line helps to refocus our lives. We are in the process of making this list now as time is critical. Once the To-Do List is finished we can move forward calmly and purposefully.
- Clean house. A clean house is a calming house. I didn’t always understand that but over the past couple of years I have come to realize that, for me, clean equals peace (at least to some extent…it helps).
- De-clutter. Go through and throw out old papers, clothing that is no longer used or fits, clean the fridge… The more clutter I get rid of the better I feel. Today we went through three boxes and two drawers of old paperwork. We didn’t get it all done but we put a definite dent in it!
- Talk. Communicate your thoughts, feelings, worries, anger, etc. to the one you love and, most importantly, listen to what they are thinking and feeling, too. There is nothing worse than silence when the family is in crisis. Silence can equal loneliness and there is no room for that!
- Pray. Talk to God about your thoughts, feelings, worries and anger. He understands each of those emotions, after all, He is the one who instilled them in us to begin with. Pray. Read your Bible. Talk with your pastor.
Have I gone through each of these ideas in the past 72 hours? Welllllll, we have done all to some extent with the exception of number 2. Exercise…shudder. Can I tell you that accomplishing the tasks above make me feel better about what is going on in our lives? Not at all because the situation is untenable…it will not get better, but I have been able to eek out some moments of joy and that is enough at the moment. It has to be!
I may have to get out and walk the dog tomorrow.