Today is March 2nd…may you approach this spring season with gratitude. Gratitude that winter is almost over. Gratitude that Easter Lillies and Pink Dogwoods are blooming. Gratitude that the tiny steps you are taking are going to get you there.
The truth is sometimes we simply have to encourage ourselves. This is an integral part of self care. Even on the days no one is in your corner cheering you on (especially on those days), it is important that you continue to uplift yourself. Here are some ways you can do so:
1. Remember Who You Are
Go back to your roots. The ones you developed before the world got in, before life made you sad. Visit an old spot; have coffee with an encouraging family member or a childhood friend. Make the decision to let bitterness and anger go. Make the choice to be better.
2. Encourage Someone Else
When the climb becomes steep, the best thing you can do is take your eyes off the road. That’s right – stop looking at the difficult journey. Reach out to the mother trying to manage with three young children; lend a hand to the elderly man unsteady on his cane. You will lighten your own load by being a help and a blessing to others.
3. Focus on What You Love
Coffee, books, and puppies, anyone? You can replace that with tea or cats or Netflix originals. The point is to focus on the things that bring you joy. Have a hot bath or a nap. Whatever makes you happy, please invest your free time there. Health benefits: 10/10.
4. Go Seasonal
My Mom was an avid seasonal decorator. We can encourage ourselves by being mindful of the seasons. I ordered some spring dish towels and they arrived today…the yellow and gray striped lemon pattern made me happy. Seasonal items, decor, and traditions are uplifting.
5. Do a New Activity
Back in the fall, my sister, daughter, and I visited a day spa. Before our visit, I was never willing to invest the money in this sort of venture, but it was so much fun! We did the Salt Room (a few weeks of beach therapy, anyone?) We have a date to go again this spring…I can’t wait. Having something to look forward to is so encouraging.
6. Engage in Movement
Whether it’s a walk at the lake or a trip to the gym, nothing will help your mental health more than exercise. The endorphins from meeting that exercise goal 4-5 times a week aide you in ways you can’t imagine. The endorphins act to reduce pain and trigger a positive feeling in your body similar to morphine. Movement is magic!
7. Make a To Do List
Part of good mental health is doing the things. It helps me IMMENSELY to make a list and highlight/check off items. There is something satisfying in completing important tasks and in having that good tired feeling at the end of the day. Once the work of the day is finished, encourage yourself to kick back and relax.
8. Book that Trip
Book that trip, buy the shoes, use the good dishes, plan the staycation. Do. Not. Wait. If there is something you really want to do – live now. Take your family and spend time with them. Long after those times and moments have passed, you will still be drawing on the reserve of joy and encouragement derived from the memories you made.
9. Engage with Positivity
This is important for all of us, with so much fear and negativity invading our spaces via newscasts and social media. Find a series, book, or Podcast that uplifts you. Find and spend time with people who encourage you. We all need positive messages in perilous times. You can’t encourage yourself or anyone else if your own well is dry.
10. Take Devotional Time
I know not everyone who reads this blog is a spiritual person. It is precisely because of that I’m including number 10. Starting your day with a prayerful devotion and a word from the scripture is something you will never regret. If not for my faith, my own well would be dry and these words would not be possible. Hope and faith and encouragement go hand in hand. These truths were the foundation of my Mom’s life and they saw her through her battle with cancer and on to the other side. I know she arrived with a shout and received her crown.
Take time to encourage others today. Trust that though everything is not perfect, you are wrapped in perfect grace. Have a blessed March, friend.