I am not going to lie. It can be very discouraging living in the furtherest corner of the Northeast. It is cold, dark, and the novelty of the mountains of snow in the streets quickly wears off.
But I love it here and I am not leaving. My dad’s voice is in my head saying, “Put up or shut up.” Here are some tools I employ to “put up” when I struggle to “shut up.”
Extend kindness to strangers
This past week I was driving in bad snowy weather. Some folks were driving a bit recklessly and I was getting irritated. But then I thought about how I was being reactive. I was allowing a stranger to steer my already dark mood into a darker place. This was not fair for either of us. I decided right there to take control of my darkening mood. Instead of anger, I would extend kindness. Immediatley, I was tested. A car pulled out, causing me to skid to a stop. A bubble of annoyance roll up from my stomach, I curbed the profanities and shouted, “Hey! I am extending kindness to you, Ford Focus!” That, at least, made me smile.
This is said so often we have stopped listening. But if I may, when you express gratitude, feel it in your whole body. Don’t wait for extraordinary events to say thank you.
Blah, blah, exercise, blah, blah. Listen, I don’t like it either, but I feel so freaking good after I exercise, it should be mandatory for everyone. And it does help shift your mood. The experts aren’t lying on that one.
Tackle a Project
Stop saying “later” and start doing it now. Make a list, be accountable, and schedule your project. What I like to do is announce on social media that I am tackling a project I don’t want to do. The fear of public humiliation keeps me moving. Plus, how satisfying to finish a project!
Explore New Recipes
Stop eating the same five things! Take your palate on a trip of new spices and flavors. Be adventurous. Be brave.
Stop overthinking and taking yourself too seriously. Honor the kid in you and go outside and play. After you shovel, make a snow angel!
Write a letter or call a friend. Maybe meet someone face to face. On these long, dark days, we need each other. While social media has its place, true human connections can give us the fuel to keep the engines running.
Remember, you are not alone. We are all trying to figure things out.