Did you know that February 12th has officially been coined “Quitters Day?” By this time one out of three of us will have abandoned our new year’s resolutions. If that’s not depressing enough, it’s February… a time when we’re in flux between the hectic holiday season and the refreshing start of the spring season, which oftentimes leaves us feeling a little down.
Other than the nice mid-month break on Valentine’s Day, February is typically one of the least favored months of the year, which is why it’s the perfect time to add a refreshing splash of positivity in your life. If you’re feeling the winter blah’s and you’re in need of a healthy dose of optimism, do something wonderful for yourself today. Here are 12 simple ways to hit the reset button on life:
Add Color to Your Life
A beautiful blue sky, a grassy green meadow or sunny yellow tulips peeking through the dirt on a warm spring day, there’s no denying that color and our mood are inextricably linked. It can make us feel happy, relaxed, energized and even give us a warm feeling of optimism and vitality. To give you a feeling of regeneration, add a shot of fresh and uplifting color to your life. Whether you pick up a bouquet of flowers at the store, add a fresh color to your wardrobe or buy a few new pillows or accessories to spice up a room in your home, choose a color that brings you joy, makes you smile and brightens your outlook.
Embrace Your Imperfections
“There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
Such an insightful and inspiring quote that we need to remind ourselves of… it’s our little imperfections that give us our personality, distinctiveness and our radiance. Yet, we live in a non-stop comparison world that continually reminds us of how we’ve fallen short. Hit the reset button in your life and let the light shine in by stepping back from any old “perfectionistic” ways, adopt a healthier mindset and embrace the authenticity of who you are with all your wonderful, beautiful, perfect imperfections.
Get Rid of Excess Baggage
Literally and figuratively, excess baggage in our lives can be a real downer. A cluttered home, unfinished business in our lives or relationships that need work – all these things can trigger negative feelings and make us feel overwhelmed and stressed. Start small and slowly begin removing “stressors” from your life that are draining you of your energy and happiness. Even a few steps every day will make a difference. The important thing is to continually concentrate on the positive aspects of your life which will help you gain strength and allow you to become a stronger version of yourself – even if it takes awhile to get there.
“When you laugh, your mind, body and spirit change.” (Mark Twain).
Boy, was Mark right… laughter truly is the best medicine. It’s the celebration of all that is good and it’s our safety net when life gets hard. It cleanses our spirit, uplifts our heart and helps us keep life in perspective. Studies have also shown it can improve our relationships, boost our immune system, take the edge off of pain, help with depression and it can even help us live longer. It’s the cheapest medicine around! So, whether you watch a funny movie, share a funny joke or go to lunch with someone who always makes you laugh, seek the humor in life every single day.
Give Yourself Something to Look Forward To
Sometimes life has a way of robbing us of the little joys in life as we fight to keep up with our “to do” lists. In the haze of our endless errands, our lives can become dull and lifeless. Take a moment to think about what makes you happy. Sometimes it’s the simplest things in life that bring us the greatest joy and comfort – a warm cup of coffee on a cold morning, a brisk walk to take in the morning air, a sweet treat at a café’ around the corner or perhaps buying tickets to a play you’ve been wanting to see. Whether it’s something small like lunch with a friend or something big like a vacation to the beach, give yourself a much-needed lift by planning ahead and giving yourself something to look forward to every single day.
Nothing refreshes our energy and spirit more than a healthy dose of fresh air and exerting a little energy. And, during this time of year when the weather can be dreary and cold, it’s even more important to fend off the seasonal depression that can hit us due to lack of sunlight. Grab your Nike’s (or any comfy shoes for that matter) and start walking, take a hike with your kids, go on a bike ride or join your neighbor when they walk the dog. The fresh air in your lungs will do far more for your mindset and outlook on life than it will for your body – although you’ll be doing your body good too – so, do yourself a big favor and make a play date with the great outdoors.
Start a Project…Any Project
We all have them. A list of projects we want to accomplish. For some, it might be cleaning out the linen closet that hasn’t been touched since you gave birth to your oldest child 15 years ago. For others, it might be tackling the garage that’s so packed to the gills with stuff you barely have enough room for your car. Finishing projects, which are often so difficult to start, can actually make us feel better. In fact, neuroscience has found that when we finish tasks we actually get a dopamine rush. So, now’s a perfect time. Pick a project… any project, and get started. Set aside the constant barrage of interruptions and focus on how great you’ll feel when you can finally check it off your mental to-do list. Anyway, let’s face it, finishing feels good!
Bring in the Sunshine
Have you ever noticed how good you feel after having spent the day in the warmth of the sun? Even twenty minutes of sunshine can have a positive impact on our health. The sunlight improves our mood, relieves stress, helps us sleep better and can treat seasonal depression caused by lack of sunlight in the winter. So, go ahead, pull back the curtains, open the blinds, slide back the sunroof and enjoy all the benefits the sun has to offer.
Spend Time with Friends
“Good friends help you find things in life when you’ve lost them… your smile, your hope, your courage, your nerve.”
Our friends… the ones who love us just the way we are with all our faults and little idiosyncrasies are so important in our lives. Yet, so often, moms particularly, can be downright terrible at carving out “girl time.” We’re all busy. Life get’s hectic. However, no matter how cluttered our world is with piles of things we have to do, we need to take time to be with our friends, make new friends, socialize, laugh, share and vent. Being with friends we care about, even if it’s a quick cup of coffee once or twice a month, can motivate us, help re-energize our spirit, challenge us when we need it and help us cope when life gets tough. So, take a break from life, scratch solo and call a friend.
Buy Yourself A Pick-Me-Up Present
Perhaps women will relate to this mood enhancer more than men, although I know plenty of men who get a little “rush” when they buy themselves something new. “Retail therapy” is a powerful de-stressor and pick-me-up. On those days when you’re craving a selfish escape, nothing works better than a trip to Target, TJ Maxx or the mall. It’s not about how much we spend or even what we buy, it’s about spending relaxing time browsing, giving ourselves the freedom and time to think about what we want and the joy of picking out something we like. Life is stressful… in the midst of our busy lives, it feels really good to take the focus off of everyone and everything else and focus on ourselves – even if it is just for a little while.
Crank Up the Music
Everyone knows that music and our moods are intricately linked. But, did you know that music also has the ability change the way we perceive the world? When we’re listening to happy music, we tend to view people around us as happier. When we’re listening to sad music, the opposite occurs. Aside from making us feel good, there’s evidence that music is actually good for our health. It’s used in a variety of treatment scenarios from premature birth to Parkinson’s disease. And, brain functions such as learning, memory and even auditory processing have been known to show improvement when music is part of our daily life. So, the next time you’re feeling down or simply need a good reason to get your toes tappin’, crank up the tunes, close your eyes and sing those lyrics at the top of your lungs.
With social media infiltrating nearly every aspect of our lives, more parents are becoming just as hyper-connected to their phones as their kids are. In fact, research is suggesting that social media is the millennial generation’s “drug of choice” and parents are quickly jumping on that bandwagon. While it’s important for us to stay connected, it’s equally as important (if not more important), for us to step away from technology and take in the sights and sounds of our surroundings. Browsing through a thread of texts or viewing images of a Facebook friend’s recent trip to Jamaica might be fine on occasion, but if your downtime is spent keeping up with other people’s lives through social media, it might be time to put your phone down (far enough away so you can’t hear the “ding” of the texts coming in) and enjoy more human interaction. Consider it a healthy and refreshing “detox” to make yourself a better “you.”
Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world. Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture along with a little humor, and your picture will begin to lighten up. ~ Allen Klein
This post originally appeared on Raising Teens Today