Anxiety levels are high in my neck of the woods right now.
Not only is September our back to school and work month—bringing tons of stress and anxiety—it is also the end of summer and our fabulous time in the great outdoors. That’s done.
This year, the sun disappeared on us overnight when smoke clouds from devastating fires in California, Oregon and Washington State rolled in. Temperatures dropped more than ten degrees overnight.
On top of that, our pandemic numbers are on the rise again and government is starting to talk about renewed social distancing measures.
Returning to work to resume this marathon called COVID is not fun at all.
Bad news and persistent, relentless change are constantly trying to rob us of all our joy!
This topic came up in one of my group meetings end of last week. It was evident in the faces of the executives on the screen, and could be heard in their voices, as they were doing their updates. In the end we all came to the conclusion that, even though we need to address it specifically right now, It should be something we all need to address all the time.
We should have a strategy for it.
My shared experience to the group was how I am working hard to overcome this challenge. These feelings—for me anxiety and overwhelm—had also made my life miserable. I had to become curious about those feelings and go back to those practices that lead me away from them.
My day has to start with what I call my “Happiness List”.
It is a simple TO DO list of the day that I must write down first thing in the morning before I open up any emails or other communications. It makes me happy that feeling of control I get throughout the day that I am spending my time wisely on the most important things and that I am making progress as I draw a physical line through each task as it gets done. A little mini celebration of sorts.
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I had to start doing this list again every day as my routine had slipped.
Next I revisited my Joy Makers List and reposted it right next to my desk.
This reminds me daily to schedule time for those activities that will set me up for success (exercise to work off stress, gratitude to mind shift and meditation to sharper the mind), those that will give me energy (connections with energizing people, singing, prayer), and so forth. Interspersed with the other activities of the day, it makes me more productive and effective.
By making sure that I fill my tank more and more every day with these types of activities, I could move away from all the negativity and find happiness in many moments during the day. After a couple of days a bit of joy even started showing!
What are those activities in life that are bringing you joy?
I’d encourage you to list them, and to then become intentional about them.
They can become your very own antidote against the negativity virus.
Just schedule some time in for them and make sure you do them some every day! You’ll be happier from day one and pretty soon your joy tank will start overflowing.
It certainly works for me!
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