Accomplishments, not magical motivation, are what can drive positive moods and action is what drives the accomplishments. Small wins boost feeling good. Small successes drive motivation. There’s actually science behind this. It’s all about the dopamine!
With that in mind, I’m trying to create opportunities for small wins wherever and whenever I can.
That said, this isn’t to dismiss in any way the days when we feel bad, can’t get it together, or think we just can’t take much more of this.
A long road can still be beautiful
I’m having a lot of those days, too. And I recognize that I’m writing this from circumstances of privilege in that I’m not having to work right now, I’m not broke, I’m healthy and I’m safe. I’m only writing this because I hope it might help, wherever you’re at. I’d also be very much interested in what you’re doing to cope. Please feel free to comment below if you want to share.
Small wins, as mentioned, are what this first idea of mine is based on. For example:
1→ Create a challenge – weekly, or monthly. What challenge can you make for yourself? They can be small or huge. They can be to create a fun thing or goal you’ve wanted to do for a while, or to stop doing something that you don’t want to do anymore. Either way, there are a few things to do to ensure success:
Write it down / plan a time for it each day or week/ and track it. Create a reward at the end.
The one good thing I’ll say about sheltering in place (I hate the term lockdown. It’s disrespectful to people who are incarcerated and know what that really means) is that I’ve actually developed habits from these small challenges that are good for me and are staying for the long run. Challenges I’ve done that have since become actual habits:
The before bed sweep:
The daily walk: self-explanatory but I’ve recently added writing a bit about each one to my challenge: recording weather, time, distance, who I walked with and, if alone, what podcast/audiobook or music I listened to.
Routines. My simple 3-step morning routine: * Get coffee and go back to bed to read/plan day for half an hour. * Make bed * Eat breakfast: the same thing each morning works for me. Currently an orange and homemade bran muffin (interested in the recipe? let me know) but I think I’m going to change it up soon. The important thing for me is not to have to decide what to have. I look forward to eating then. I don’t’ have to think about it and it’s something I look forward to.
2 →Plan a trip, and make it something you might never have done before this pandemic. All this walking and discovering new trails and such near home is spurring my want to make my next travel a walking vacation.
3→ Do something for yourself you always thought was maybe silly or self-indulgent. Challenge your previous assumptions. I’ve always liked decorating and design, but for some reason – I’m sure a therapist could enlighten me here – I’ve felt this was somehow a self indulgent, frivolous thing because there are so many pressing social problems and other things on which I should be focussed.
4→ Pick a person. Do a thing. Getting out of my own head and thinking of someone I know, maybe someone I only know a bit, and doing something for them that is unexpected is a mood lifter.
5→ Rearrange rooms and/ or furniture in your house.
6→ Do something that is maybe silly and out of character.
At the last snowfall, I wanted to go out and build a snowgal but decided that was too much work and too cold. So I made little ones. I can see these from my window and the squirrels playing around them were fun to watch. And, it’s been so grey here lately that when I saw the sunshine and noticed shadows (I’ve become a lot more observant and mindful during this time – anyone else find that?); I decided to play with it. Why not?
Sure it’s weird, but fun. Oddly, watching a movie in the middle of the day is also strange but fun. For some reason, before being stuck at home, I never watched anything in the daytime. Now, movies in the afternoon are like a decadent treat. Recommendations: Lupin and Summerland, both on Netflix.
That’s it for this week. I hope you have a great weekend and please consider following the blog if you enjoy it. And share it with friends if you think they might, too. I really appreciate the support.
Stay well, Christine