1. Change out a routine — just try it — once. It will open up the pathways for more variety. Take a different route home from work or the gym or your mother’s house. Shop at a different grocery store. Read a different newspaper. Anything that feels a tad uncomfortable and out of your regular life routine.
2. Read out of your usual genre — Shake up your world by reading something completely different than what you usually gravitate towards. My library has displays of different book and author themes all over the place. I had never even considered reading a graphic novel. Could that really qualify as reading?! But when I saw The Impostor’s Daughter on display, something about the cover and title grabbed me. And that’s how I discovered the hilarious and thought-nudging Laurie Sandell. Now I read her blog every day.
3. Shock your body — That’s right. If you’re a cerebral person, always in your head, give the limbs and core a good shake-up. Maybe there’s a dance-type class offered at your gym but you never gave it a thought because you think you don’t have rhythm and are blessed with two left feet. Maybe it’s yoga that’s held a bit of intrigue. Roller-blading? Ice skating? A friend of mine celebrated her 45th birthday by learning how to surf. In a bikini. Now that‘s courage!
4. Invest in the arts — My writing group celebrated with an annual/holiday lunch out this week. Because we enjoy each other’s company so much, we’re always looking for excuses that will legitimize more time together, so we added an “artist date” field trip to our lunch date. We were on our way to a local museum when we spotted a sign in a mill building window that said “Open Studios“. The next hour and a half was spent oohing and ahhing and comparing thoughts over watercolors, pastels, monoprints, handwovens, beaded jewelry and the unique workspace of each creater. I think it’s important to ‘pay it forward’ for other artists and made a modest purchase that included greeting cards offered by three of the artists. Not big bucks but a show of support.
5. Deflect toxic criticism — This is a tough one. The people closest to us are invested in things staying the same. I recently met a woman who had survived brain surgery. The impact on her life went beyond restoring her health — she wants to help others. She’s just not sure how. The people in her immediate “circle of influence” are not particularly supportive of this career shift and are trying to get her to settle down and opt for the most conventional route: nursing. Her heart is telling her that this is not the right fit for her, but until we’d talked, she hadn’t given herself permission to armorize herself against these well-meaning friends and relatives. I encouraged her to start surrounding herself with people who are knowledgeable in these new areas of interest of hers. She can learn from them and eventually make a more educated decision about her next career move.
So what’s the meaning of a photograph of my bed to illustrate this post? When I’m feeling overwhelmed with too many deadlines and my house has gone to ruin, the first thing I do to reclaim my sanity is make the bed. … You?