Living on the East Coast, this is the time when I look for the beauty in winter and patiently await the time when I am back in the garden, back at the shore with my toes in the sand. In a new and improved life, I aim to see the bright sides and silver linings. Staying positive requires a certain energy level. That seems to be the key factor in sticking to any resolution or positive change- some people call it “good vibes” but to me it’s all about energy. And lots of it. Here’s a list of the ways I am increasing my energy and keeping a smile on my face through the days of gray skies as I combat those winter blues with remedies I know are good in any season…all in step with a NEW and IMPROVED LIFE! 😃
Pray With Love– To start my day right I meet with the Maker and give thanks, asking for love, guidance and protection. Prayer is a priority for me, connecting with God is connecting with Love. When I meditate on the Word, read the bible and spiritual books, journal or write poems or prayers, my life is brighter. My days start better when I give them to God first thing. But there is never a time in the day when it is too late to start the conversation. Prayer keeps me focused on what I want to thank God for, which keeps me in a spirit of gratitude and focused on love. Praying never fails in terms of energy management. Someone make your day? Give thanks for them. Someone on your last nerve? Pray for them. The New Life mentality I have is a gift from God. Without God, I wouldn’t have this life at all. There is no situation too great for God to handle. If you take the time to pray, trust that God is listening. And then return the favor and listen to Him. Do you want answers in life? Answered prayers? Miracles? Healing? Blessings? Increase? Guidance? Pray to God and answers will come. Drown out the noise of the world and pray. Pray for you, pray for me, pray for everyone and watch things change. Life and death lay in the power of the tongue. Prayer changes things, so let your words be blessings not curses. Wish the best for everyone. This type of unconditional love has its own energetic frequency. I’m not sure what is a higher frequency than love. Anger, grudges, bitterness…all of these things belong in your past. Open your heart to giving and receiving love and kindness, or at a minimum- respect for others.
Music, Music, Music– Next to prayer and love, music is the most transformative influence in my life. If you want to change your energy or improve your mood quickly, music is a key component in the equation. The songs we choose to listen to speak volumes about where we are, emotionally and energetically. Choose music that uplifts, encourages and energizes you. Avoid that song that reminds you of that sad thing that makes you cry… We’re aiming for a new life, so we don’t need to fixate on old memories that bring us down, right? Sing as loud as you want. Particularly at stop lights. Then smile at the car next to you. See, now you’re spreading joy.
Thought Self-control– Pay attention to your thoughts. Honor your feelings and release them. Validate yourself. When we go through some challenge or difficulty, we also face the challenge of managing our thoughts and emotions through it. Anxiety, stress and depression are the enemies of positive energy and we really want to leave them in the Old Life, as much as we can. We have times when we need to sit in our uncomfortable emotions and face them head on, but we sure don’t want to stay there forever. I often think to myself, “don’t invite these feelings to tea.” Learning to let thoughts come and go, rather than ruminating in them helps us more consciously bring positive thoughts to the foreground and keep them there. If a troubling thought arises, I give it to God, take a deep breath and keep my head up. But I also have days when I just cry my eyes out- I honor my feelings and pour my heart out to the Lord about it. I always know my mental rainbow will rise again after the storm. Speak life over yourself and others in a way that reflects confidence and faith, rather than dwelling on what is lacking or bothersome.
Gratitude- Life has plenty of stressors and triggers. But learning to be truly grateful about what is going RIGHT is a major life changer. No matter what is happening that may trouble us, something is always happening that we can be grateful for. My life is much improved when I focus on the fact that I have a roof over my head, shoes on my feet and food in the cupboard. So many folks can’t say that. If we get lost in our disappointments over things we wanted or still want that haven’t manifested, something will always feel lacking. True abundance in life begins with the recognition of abundance you have today. Are you blessed with comfortable, clean clothes and blankets? A good friend? Children? Every blessing we count helps us see how full our lives already are with good things and draws us away from thoughts of disappointment and lack. In our New Life, let’s resolve to see the silver lining in every situation. When we appreciate adversity as a learning opportunity, we can ask ourselves, “what am I meant to learn here,” as opposed to, “why is this happening to me?”. Life is school. Live and learn, grateful for every lesson.
Protect Your Time– Our time is precious. If we are truly resolved to live a New Life, we have to be willing to give up the things that weighed us down in the Old Life. While I believe service to others can certainly be energizing, what can we give if we are on empty? One of the most liberating mantras I have adopted is, “No,” is a complete sentence. You have the right to say it whenever you need to. In my New Life, I don’t overcommit. I don’t say yes if I don’t mean it. If I’m not feeling it, I don’t force myself to do things when I don’t have the energy to give. If there is a person, activity, tv show, music…anything really, that feels draining, I limit it or cut it out. Healthy boundaries are essential in a peaceful life. Take time to recharge your battery and be assertive on your own behalf. Let your yes mean yes and no mean no… guilt free! God loves a cheerful giver. If you are showing up places with a smile on your face but annoyance or exhaustion in your heart, that’s not very cheerful. Resolve to honor yourself and resist over-commitment. Let go of guilt if there are relationships that fall away because you are committed to a new way of being. We will have many relationships come and go in our lives, but we can all aspire to forgive and move on gracefully when relationships change or dissipate. Let your new life mentality be a home base you can return to and keep on taking it one day at a time.
Get Moving– Whenever I feel the dark clouds looming…and hovering…I know exactly what I need to do and that is get moving. This is, of course, sort of a run-of-the-mill New Year’s Resolution but for me it’s definitely a tenet of any New Life Resolution. There is no time of the year that physical activity doesn’t give me a gigantic mental boost! I find it helpful to enjoy ways of moving that don’t require a lot of effort to prepare. Just throwing on my sneakers, grabbing my headphones and heading outside is perfect. Walking is low impact for the most part but as long as your legs and feet work, you can do it! Find a way to move that feels good for you. Cardio classes, weightlifting and other activities may be for you. But if you have to drag yourself there, consider other ways to get moving that you really enjoy. Hiking out in nature is my favorite. Dancing always cheers me up. Dancing down the trail, up the mountain, in the car, while I cook, in the line at the grocery store…I can’t really tell my feet no, can I? Give your feet what they want! This is their New Life too.
Nature Time- Nature time goes hand in hand nicely with getting moving. But my outside time is not just for fun, it’s a complete necessity. Fresh air, trees, flowers, plants, animals- I need these things in my life. I need the sounds of nature- the quiet pond, the rhythmic lapping of ocean waves on the shore, birds singing, summer breeze blowing or the still silence of a winter night. I need hands in the dirt from spring through fall. There is nothing that inspires me to ponder life, connect with Spirit, inspire artistic creativity or appreciate existence itself, more than time spent in nature. If you feel disconnected or down in the dumps, take a walk in the woods or sit by some water and just breathe. Appreciate the sky. I sat outside one night recently, talking to God and I saw twelve shooting stars! God speaks to me in so many ways through nature. What is more beautiful than that?
Take Silly Seriously- Do you have a tendency to get stuck in funks? Is it difficult to overcome feelings of doubt, sadness, anger? Smiles and laughter are actually extremely effective at combatting negative emotuons. I have a tendency to take things too seriously at times and I know how much simply smiling and laughing will change my whole perspective around. I 100% believe in feeling your feelings when you feel them. You may have a profound reason to frown. Life is not all sunshine and rainbows, we know this. But here, we are talking about New Life Resolutions and one of the ways I commit to my New Life is by being that sunshiny rainbow person regardless of what comes or what happens. I may not be her 100% of the time, because I do not believe in suppressing my urges to mourn, weep and grieve or yell at dogs that steal bread from the pantry. However, I know I can’t let myself stay in that place. Here is a challenge. When you feel like you are in a funk or indulging too much in despair… smile really big. Even if you don’t feel like it AT ALL. Smile even bigger. What begins as a fake smile, will turn into a real one. You won’t be able to help it. Try it right now! I am so blessed to have funny people in my life and I LOVE to laugh. There are so many opportunities presented to us every day to feel sad, stressed or angry, whether it’s the news, work, family issues- things that we have limited or no control over. What we do have control over are our own faces. Choose smiles. When you are out in the world, the smile you give others is a little energy gift. Be generous.
Relax- The world says to hustle and grind and side hustle and side grind. Oof. Sometimes I just really need a nap. Or quiet time. Sometimes I just lay down and imagine God wraps his wings around me. Totally safe. Totally calm. Totally at peace. Spending time relaxing is going to be different for everyone. Maybe it’s a cup of tea and a book. Maybe your thing is getting a massage or meditating. But for me, no matter how I do it, relaxing is a daily necessity, not a once in a while treat. My preference is soaking in the tub with essential oils and Epsom salt. A new woman steps out of the water every time. A happier woman, who smells delightful and has very relaxed muscles and joints. You know how babies sleep better after a bath? The same applies to grown-ups. I may just sit/lay down and deep breathe with calm music or while praying. If we resolve to have a New Life, why not give ourselves the gift of downtime in it? Time to just be and not worry about anything. Better yet, combine relaxing time with nature time and smile time! Find that still pond, breathe and rest and then smile about it. You just re-fueled your energy tank. Boom.
Intake=Output- A New Life mindset is going to require proper fuel. What we put in the tank has a direct impact on the output we can give ourselves and others. What we eat and drink daily changes how we feel, think, look and operate. Too much of one thing and not enough of something else will trigger some imbalances and exacerbate others. You may not become a clean eating champ overnight but even little changes in our nutrition can have positive impacts on our mood and energy. Our bodies need healthy foods and plenty of water. My old body wants coffee but in my New Life, my body needs lemon water. Our New Life has lots of organic vegetables and less sugar. If we want to feel our best and have plenty of energy, we can help ourselves out with good fuel and better choices. That being said, I think it’s an important aspect of any new life, to resolve to love ourselves as we are and not who we might be in a few months. Eat well because you care about yourself today and not because you don’t like who you are today. That’s the idea! And remember, if you want to make a lasting change that takes root, have patience with yourself and keep trying. In our New Life, we don’t try to compete with Instagram Models, we focus on our inner beauty and quiet spirit. We fuel for energy and joy, not to chase “perfection”. Mindset is everything.