Let’s start here…
Think about the things that make you grin and bring you joy.
Is it sitting on your deck, distraction free, watching the sun come up? Is it savoring a piece of chocolate in the afternoon? Painting? Running? Baking biscuits? Using cloth napkins instead of paper? Making iced coffee at home? Spending time with your family or friends? Digging in the dirt [aka gardening]? Reading?
Incorporate what ever fills your heart with hope into your days and you’ll begin to feel a deeper sense of peace. You might not have unlimited time for your favorites but make an effort to sneak small doses in.
After a long day, my husband and I had sweet and sour meat balls, rice, and asparagus for dinner last night. But we also had popcorn. Talk about a silly side dish for dinner. It was unconventional, made us smile, and just what we needed to foster joy.
1) Quit one thing today. Chances are, your life is overpacked. For more peace, let’s eliminate non-essentials. My friend Trina is a pro at quitting things. She’s narrowed her focus in life and found deep contentment. [She’s even made a Simple Road Map to help you narrow your focus too.]
2) Say no. While invitations to events, parties, and concerts are wonderful — if you find yourself without down time, say no. You don’t have to decline every invitation you receive but bowing out of a few might help.
3) Break from routine. Always eat out? Make a home cooked meal tonight. Always eat in? Go out to your favorite restaurant or meet some friends in the park for a potluck picnic.
4) Make a surprising breakfast. Have you eaten cold cereal every morning, forever? Wake up a little bit early and whip up something different. Muffins. Pancakes and bacon. Coffee cake. Toast buffet [you know…toast with unlimited choices for delicious toppings].
5) Spread delight. Is your husband a fan of a certain treat? Peanut butter cookies? Make some and drop them off at his place of work. Delight yourself and those around you, with simple gestures, on a regular basis.
6) Ask for help. A lot of stress wells up when we try and do everything on our own. Reach out and ask for help in the areas that are weighing you down. Maybe the yard work is a hassle. Have a friend that would spruce up the yard with you? Invite them over and then offer to help out around their house too. Doing unpleasant but necessary tasks with friends or family increases the fun factor.
7) Grant requests. Maybe your kids have been asking to play catch, bike to the park, or go out for ice cream. If your usual response is, “Not tonight,” [because you’re so worn down or there’s too much to do] flip the script and indulge a simple request today.
8) Be random and unexpected. Spread a blanket in the living room and eat finger foods for dinner while you watch a movie. Set up a tent in the font yard and camp out for a night. Have a bonfire – on a weeknight [scandalous, I know] and roast marshmallows or make s’mores on your stovetop. Pick fresh flowers and place a few vases of blooms around the house. Have a water balloon fight. Con your family or friends into doing karaoke with you in the living room. Find simple or silly “just because” gestures to infuse in daily life.
9) Have something to look forward to. Have an especially rough day coming up? Make sure you also have something to look forward to that day. Plan lunch out of the office with a friend. Stick your favorite granola bar in your purse. Set out supplies for a relaxing foot bath that evening. Although some ‘daily grind-ness’ is inevitable, we can plan some ‘high points’ for ourselves.
10) No screen time. When was the last time you ignored every screen in your house? Phone, computer, tv, etc. Fast from them for a few hours or days. Your heart and mood will sense the difference.
11) “Skip school”. No, not actual school. What activities could you simply take a day or night off from? Do you mow the lawn every Thursday? Have to spend extra time working on a fundraising campaign for a non-profit in the evenings? Do your kids have a million practices, lessons, get togethers? Do you have one too many committee meetings? Hit the pause button, skip it once, and spend some quality alone time or time with friends/family.
Image via D Sharon Pruitt