We've been thinking about mental wellbeing and how daily life can change the state of your mind. A focus on work and schedules can have you rushing madly from school drop off to work to meetings to collect the kids and haul them through the supermarket before rushing home to get dinner on and sort bedtime and .... that's a day of your life gone.
How many special moments did you find? How many reasons to be grateful? How much stillness and peace? How many times did your mind stop racing through the to-do list and contemplate the absolute wonder of being alive?
We know the feeling.
Slow down to rediscover the magic
There are always numerous things that need to be done in a day, but sometimes the way you approach them can make all the difference. Are you going to 'rush the kids off to school' or 'start the day with your children'? Shifting your focus from hurrying the family out the door to building shared routines and teamwork can turn the morning rush from harassment to happiness. You may need to set the alarm 30 minutes earlier and make sure the TV and smartphones stay off, but you will find moments of connection and reward that were missing before.
Sitting in rush hour traffic worrying that you may be late today? Nothing can be done about that so why stress? Take time to look around you at the yawning people, the sun rise, the sea. Put on great music and sing along. Remind yourself how grateful you are to have a job, a car, a warm place to wait.
Rushing through the supermarket yelling at your kids to keep up and leave that alone? Turn it into a treasure hunt, giving each child a mission to find the best priced rice, the freshest broccoli head, the favourite brand of bread. Let them stack the counter at checkout and tell them what a great help they are.
Make time for self care
Know what you love - the gym, running, hot baths, a wine with friends, reading a book - and make sure that you have treats for you booked in your calendar at least once a week. Like, block them IN and don't let them slip by.
Get outdoors and run, walk, explore with the kids - but whatever you do make sure you pause, breathe and look around you. Humans are designed to be in nature and getting outside is critical for your mental wellbeing and emotional balance. If you incorporate fitness and exercise, extra points to you!
Experiment with waking up to a grateful thought. Each morning think first of one thing you are really glad of. Go ahead and think of twenty if you want to!
Be grateful for your body and your life. Think consciously of the things you appreciate - if you are healthy, breathe in the wonder of that gift. If you have a great smile, use it. If you can walk, skip now and then. If you love your hips, wear a dress that shows them off. Feed your body on love in place of criticism and you will blossom.
Remember how fortunate we are. We live in this time, when there is less poverty and less war, more food and healthcare and equality than ever before. We live in this beautiful country, and we have the freedom to speak out for what we believe in and contribute to change for good. Just pause now and then to appreciate the enormity of that gift.
The smallest gestures can change someone's day from grey to bright. Tell that woman she looks amazing in that dress. Smile at the grumpy child you pass by. Say hello to the elderly guy waiting at the bus stop. Give the stranger the $2 they need for the parking meter. Laugh with people waiting in line, and thank the checkout operator. Compliment the barrista. Be there for friends. Listen to your children. (Like Catherine Wallace said, listen earnestly when they tell you the small things or they will never tell you the big things - and to them, they were all big things.)
Kindness is good for your heart, your mind, and everyone around you. It doesn't cost a cent, and it comes right back at you most of the time.
Make a list of what REALLY matters to you, and what you want to achieve. What are your top five priorities in life? What are the top five things on your bucket list?
Okay, so everything else is small stuff. Put your heart and your time into the things that make life truly wonderful. Put the first steps in place now, today, to ensure that you will tick those top five off your bucket list.
Start now. Change only happens if you begin with radical action. Someday becomes never and maybe becomes didn't.
It's your life, and no one else is responsible for making it exceptional. Aim to be an eighty year old who looks back with a grin and thinks; boy I LIVED that life!!