Notice: This post was written last year at around the same time. It really hit home again, and though some things have changed (mainly, my work location and the camping destination, this year we are heading to Montana), the contents are still so valid. I hope you enjoy
This week was one of THOSE weeks, a week where if the button was going to get pushed it did this week. It is quite easy to let negative thoughts go hog wild when things around you seem so hectic. Studies have shown that even one negative thought can change the chemical balance in your brain. One negative thought tends to lead to another and then eating habits change, attitudes for the day turn snarky and people start to realize that if they don’t get out of your way they might get run over by a runaway train. I swore by Monday night if I was rushed to get one more animal taken care of before the last one I brought to the doctor was done I might crack (our hospital practices with “car side service” we go out to the clients and bring the animals to the doctors). I knew I was tired, and hungry and I had been going at a rushed speed all day long. My state of mind was just not right. Sadly even one of the receptionists asked the question of how long we could all go at this pace before we broke down from the stress and pressure to keep up?
She hit the nail right on, if we feel this pressure in a smaller sized city what must it be like for those in larger cities who have more people and even pets to care for? We all then have to take it upon ourselves to get into the right state of mind. For some it may mean talking to someone maybe even a professional, for others journaling helps them find peace. Going to church or doing a Bible study definitely will help you to get into a more selfless mindset rather than selfish state of mind. If like me you are just struggling to get through a week or a day because there is just too much to do, focus on the task in front of you and eventually you will get through your list of “must do’s”
What if you are doing ok in general but you just need to take a break to “reset” your thoughts. This is where I found myself. I actually brought it up to my sister the other day and she pointed out that our dad used to literally wait all year to finally get a week off in which he would pack us all into the Grand Torino and drive 8 hours to to his favorite place in the whole world: Yosemite. As we talked about it a bit more I started to remember how the stress just seemed to melt off of his shoulders right as the car exited the tunnel that came before the panoramic view of the valley and all the famous mountains Yosemite is known for. It is crazy to think that I am exactly the same way. In order to fully reset my state of mind and get back to myself I need to get into nature. Sadly it is not always Yosemite that I get to escape to but I still have absolutely no problem packing my kids and the dog (my hubby usually rides his motorcycle to our destination) into the Expedition to head to where my heart soars and finds peace both at the same time.
A friend of mine once told me that for her to change her thought patterns she needed to get out with her dogs and walk. Another friend of mine has this thing about cards, she can make a card for any occasion and spends hours online looking for the right kind of paper or sticker for that next card. She is in her happy place when she is creating something that is meant to bring joy to someone else. There is a doctor that I once knew that would have so much fun planning and organizing trips for her and her husband to do. She always did it in a way that would be a surprise to her husband, she would tell him the type of clothes he should pack and for how long but then the rest would be a secret until they arrived. They actually both used to do this to each other and if you were around him or her while they were planning you could just feel that excitement radiating from them.
In order to really get into the right state of mind you have to care enough about yourself to see that you need a break, you need to find your happy, you need to realize that if the world around you is too overwhelming right now that talking with someone might be exactly what you need. I talk about my sister a lot only because next to my husband she is my best friend. So when we discovered the “Marco Polo” app it was a way for us to see each other (she lives in Alaska and I am in Oregon), which in turn helped us to be able to open up more about what is going on around us. The app is like a video walkie talkie in the sense you record what you have to say, facial expressions and all and then send it. Once the other person receives it they then in turn watch the video and then return one of their own. We noticed that once we started using the app more it helped us talk out what we needed to talk out in it’s entirety because we didn’t have the other person jumping in to say what they wanted to say. We actually found out in a weeks span we both had to deal with a bear along our walking paths, hers of course was not a small little brown bear like mine was. In all of the apps glory it helps us weekly get back into our right state of mind.
So now the question is this: Are you able to notice within yourself that you are or are not in the right state of mind? If you needed to change you thought patterns to more positive ones could you? A helpful guide from Jennie Allen called Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts could be a great starting point for you. Getting out into nature is a great way to enjoy the beauty that seems to get forgotten in the lightening speed way of life we lead. If you are saying to yourself: my life is more sedentary but I still need a change in mindset it really could be as simple as a walk around the block with your favorite music playing in the earbuds. When my kids were little I would turn the music up loud and dance around the house with them, now it’s fun to still turn it up loud and dance but the goal has changed to embarrass them as much as “momly” possible. So find ways to have fun, to laugh, to dance, to ultimately get your mindset where you need it to be. Until next time:
Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain