It’s easy to let the bad stuff in.
- It’s a pandemic
- The economy is falling apart
- It’s a housing bubble
- Debt is at its highest levels yet
- “Insert your crisis here”
Years ago, I was coaching a woman who was having a difficult time creating sales for her business. Every question I asked her, she focused on the negativity. “I used to love this business. Now, people don’t want to pay me what I’m worth. The economy is horrid. Nobody can make a good living in this industry anymore.”
After several minutes, I cut in. I told her to sell the business. Shut it down. Move on.
It stopped her for a moment. “I can’t. I’ve always done this. What would I do?”
And there was her problem.
We thrive on two things:
- Creating an identity for ourselves
- Avoiding change at all costs
And in order to do something else, this woman would have had to push way outside of her comfort zone.
But I kept pushing. “Surely there is something else you’ve always wanted to do?”
Quietly, she started in. “Yes. But I wouldn’t know where to start. What if people laughed? What if I failed?”
Fast-forward to 2020, in the middle of a pandemic, I find myself thinking back to that conversation.
Here’s the thing I know for sure. There are always bad times. Just like there are always good times.
It depends on how you look at it.
You might be facing a personal crisis at the moment. But there are lots of other people that are in the best shape of their lives. They got a new job. They got an “all clear” after chemo. They started a new business when we went into lockdown, and have made enough money to leave their jobs behind forever.
It depends on the circumstances in your life.
How do you thrive?
Everyone has a moment in their life that changes everything. A warning. A diagnosis. A massive change. For me, that moment came in 1994 when my fifty-four year old father died of a massive heart attack. My life would never be the same.
When you think about it, life is filled with these unpredictable moments in time. Some good. Some bad. It’s what we call life.
Would I change some of the bad? Of course. As humans, we want to avoid the bad whenever possible.
But looking back, it’s always the bad that shaped my life in big ways. The bad pushed me to reach out and find the good.
Being scared of the bad, avoiding it, that only makes you live a “so-so” life. You exist in the middle, avoiding the bad, but truly never experiencing the good.
Sometimes you’re thrown into the fire to see what you’ll do. How you handle it. What changes it makes you implement in your own life.
That’s where we are right now.
Chaos is happening all around us. But it hasn’t held us back.
It’s made us look at everything a bit differently.
Jobs will never be the same. Many are disappearing right before our eyes. Many more will never enter a commercial office again – work from home is the new norm.
Education was broken a long time ago. This just showed us the gaping holes, and left the door wide open for forward-thinkers to fix it.
Lifestyles are changing too.
I broke free of my traditional lifestyle several years ago. I sold my forever home for a chance to slow travel the world. And I’ve done a ton of traveling, finding myself in amazing ways. Like trips to Italy and Spain, Mexico, Canada, New Zealand. I’ve set goals to help me discover who I truly am in this world.
Nourishing Myself With Self-Care
Today, I sat down to meditate. I have a variety of programs and apps I use. This morning was one from Deepak and Oprah.
And even though this program was from a few years ago, it still rings true today. Nourishing your soul builds up resilience. If you focus on you, taking care of what you really need, you have more to give the world.
Look, every day can’t be perfect. Some days you just have to sit and deal with the emotions that set in. But I have found that good self-care habits have the ability to change everything. Self-care is my one focus for this difficult year. It’s all about nourishing my own soul, so I have more to give the world. That includes:
Eating right – only plant-based nutrition works for me. Because there is so much wrong with eating meat. It’s bad for you. It causes all kinds of chronic diseases. It’s unsuitable for the environment, and it’s wrong for the animals. To be my best requires high-quality fuel. That means high-quality food, food that nourishes my body.
Exercise – I use my Fitbit to track at least 10,000 steps per day. It keeps me on track to ensure I’m walking at various times per day. I can honestly say my walks by the river I live by are the one thing that keeps me sane each day. I combine that with an online yoga, core, or tai chi class five days a week.
Mindset – there are always good and bad days. I give myself permission to sit and think about the rough patches that pop up in my life. Sometimes you just need to think things through. That’s okay. But I never dwell on the negative, ever. I like to dust things away – goodbye. I turn off the news, avoid online chatter, and never, ever watch television that doesn’t support making me better. Those catty shows that cut people down. No Way! If I watch anything, read anything, do anything, it’s to support my desire for keeping a positive attitude. (Okay, I’ll admit it. I recently watched the newest Mad Max at the end of a particularly rough day, because it felt good to see the underdog win.) And that’s okay too. 😉
Peace – I am so tired of fighting. Of this or that, my way or your way, I’m right and you’re wrong. Peace comes from knowing my own truth. It comes from listening, forming my own opinions, and doing what I am capable of doing.
Loving what I do – I don’t use an alarm clock, I wake up every morning at five o’clock. I look forward to each day, doing what I love to do. This didn’t come easy. It takes a lot of refinement. A constant conversation with myself of what I truly want. If you don’t like what you do, make one tiny change. Just one. It brings you one step closer to doing what you love. And keep making those tiny changes every single day.
Sharing my word – I’ve been blogging since the early 2000s. I’ve created over two dozen books. I wrote dozens of articles for news publications and magazines. That’s what I do. Because I believe at some point in life, we’re all meant to give back to the world. I choose to do that through words.
Doing what’s right – this isn’t just about me and my time on earth. It’s about creating the best environment, the best for everything around me, and what comes after me.
Being the best me – I can only share if I pay attention to me. I have to be at one-hundred percent in order to give back the world. That’s where self-care comes into play. (Are you seeing a pattern here? Once I learned this, it all seems so easy how it works.)
Moving forward with grace – I love the idea of moving forward with elegance and refinement. Because that’s what self-care is – refining the picture of you every single day. What do I need today? How many times do I ask that? A cup of tea. A walk. A chat with my sister. This isn’t just about me, but also my place in the giant picture we call life.
This is what works for me. I invite you to define your own self-care routine, and let it nourish you. Self-care is how we’ll all survive – and thrive! – in the coming weeks and months.
Accept fear – it’s okay to be overwhelmed at times. Just fall back to the concept of self-care whenever you find yourself completely out of sorts.
Set Routines – I function well because of my morning routines. Meditation. Journaling. Writing. Walking. Do what works for you, schedule it if you need to. And no matter what, stick to your schedule.
Set boundaries – while it is okay for everyone to have their own opinions and beliefs, it isn’t okay for people to try to convince you their way is the only way. Stop giving in to negativity. Turn the dial. Walk away.
Self reflect – Why am I here? What am I supposed to be learning? How can I be gentle with myself?
Every single person, every single moment, is here for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.
I love Marie Kondo’s advice of thanking each item you’re ready to give away, and then send it on its way.
“Thank you for your service.”
“I appreciate what you’ve done for my life.”
And now it’s time to thrive, doing what I’m truly meant to do.