Many people feel the anguish of being stuck. I was stuck. I lost my husband (of 32 wonderful years) very unexpectedly to a sudden death. Shortly thereafter I experienced my brother’s passing, also unexpectedly. Reality struck at 2 am, firemen knocking at my door. I was being evacuated from a Colorado fire that was devouring homes. Loading the car for evacuation, the reality of being in a rut since his death blindsided me. I had not one picture or made any changes (other than gain weight) since my husband’s death. That reality of stagnating rather than living my life struck me. I needed to make choices right at that moment. True as it can be, I needed to move forward. This was an unexpected kick from behind as I was loading the car. Life would not be the same. Bitter sweet now, here is a small step of how I began to overcome my being stuck in a rut, and transforming.
Often in this wonderful world, we find ourselves at major crossroads. These can be in either our personal or professional lives. These life challenges often paralyze us with worry that we could make the wrong decision. We often let the biggest challenge of all, our resistance to change stop us dead in our tracks. My crossroads decisions to change how I made my income; to go to Istanbul, Turkey when I felt that I had nothing left to lose were made as I was loading my car, with flames visibly shooting in the air close by. These were new challenges that I embraced and that enhanced the transformation of the next chapter of my life. This new story of me was positively committing to living as a healthier, happier, senior citizen! Listening to the chatter in my brain, which was sharing all the millions of reasons why I couldn’t change, stopped. It was time to change!
My first hurdle was evacuation and the packing of my car. As painful as it was, letting go of things I couldn’t control helped me in overcoming any stressful, painful, or overwhelming situations that might again confront me. Making that decision to fight the resistance to change is the first hurdle to releasing the anger, sorrow, grief, guilt or any of the multitudes of reasons why moving forward is difficult or seemingly impossible.
My transformation of weight loss, healthy attitude, and positive feelings about myself reflect in my choices of daily living. These choices reflect the new me and bring a smile to my friends and family.
When we find ourselves in a painful, stressful, or overwhelming situation, or if we just feel STUCK and in a rut, what should we do? Do we have somewhere to turn? Do we have support? Let’s start by being our own best friend. What would you tell your friend if they came to you with this dilemma? Can you treat yourself as if you are that friend and share what you would tell her? Start by being your very own best friend. Finding positive behavior substitutes, is a first step to eliminating the negative chatter and self-defeating messages we tell ourselves.
Begin by starting small. Here is a list of free things that will help you feel better! When you try these enjoyable self-care activities you will forget your problems while comforting and indulging in you. These are simple actions of positive celebrations of living! Embrace these “mental health improvers” with new positive thought. You might begin with “I deserve to practice self-care.” Here are some self-care behaviors that are free things to help build that resilience back into your daily step!
- Smell Flowers
- Take a walk where you can pay attention to the nature around you
- Appreciate natures beauty
- Take a long luxurious bath (bubble /candle lit/soft music)
- Read inspiring and motivational quotes
- Read poetry or a good novel
- Images of young animals you might like to see
- Go to a park. Get on a swing. Feel the rush of wind and freedom.
- Close your eye and imagine a relaxing peaceful place
- Pet a dog
- Listen to the sound of a baby laughing
- Find scents that make you smile
- Engage in meditation, yoga
- Deep breathe
- Exercise! (No gym or if its too cold, try the TV for guided exercise)
- Walk (Walking can help you with your weight, health, and spirit)
If you need a strategy for getting out of your funk, pick one or two from the free list of personal indulgence. You are your best friend with the power to create change. Take it one small step at a time. Be kind to yourself. You can try one small step of positive action at a time. Change is new. Start small don’t get discouraged. These are the first steps to getting unstuck, out of your rut, with a smile on your face!! It is the beginning of “Celebrating You”. Exploring these positive activities is quite simple, so start today.
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