“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” ——Marcus Aurelius
Is it just me or are you feeling sick too? Sick of the pandemic (pun intended). Sick of the all the crap that’s happening. Sick of the back and forth, the drama, the ideologies, the conspiracies. I’m sick of everything.
2020 has become a cliche for Murphy’s law memes—the butt of everyone’s disaster jokes. How could it get any worse? What’s next? Aliens landing? Giant apocalyptic jack o’lanterns? All it takes is a glance at the headlines to see our country is on fire—literally.
I’m forcing myself to write this.
I have several long form blogs that I’m writing and I’ve spent the past week “researching” (avoiding writing). I’ve made just about every excuse. For example, today I cleaned my vacuum’s washable air filter—by hand. It’s all I can do to muster up the motivation to sit down and do something meaningful——I wonder why? If you feel this way—don’t be so hard on yourself.
I could use this forced writing exercise to blab on about the past several weeks. About how 2020 has pointed a Roman candle at my head—fabulously illuminating my work & personal life with a barrage of awe inspiring hot glowing ironies.
Instead, I’d rather offer some advice on what I’m doing to alleviate the burns.
Instead of dwelling on the news, the facebook conspiracies, and the unidentified flying saucers outside your window—think of something to be thankful for. It’s hard to be upset when you’re being grateful.
Here are a few things that I put in my notes:
“I’m thankful that I can cook a hot meal for my family every night.” This seems obvious—but a recent power outage reminded me that having access to food and being able to cook is a luxury. Don’t take it for granted.
“I’m thankful for the ability to make people laugh through my poorly photoshopped memes.”
“I’m thankful that I have a wife who loves me more than I could imagine—more than I deserve.”
Avoid the headlines and write down a few things that you’re thankful for. Practicing gratitude is just that—a practice. It’s something we have to do every day as a reminder of the things we often forget to appreciate. If you are alive in America—you have something to be thankful for.
“I’m thankful for our puppies, the good food we get to eat, and my family.” —Ashley
“Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies-“God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”” ——Kurt Vonnegut
Now more than ever, it’s important that we learn to treat others with empathy. We’ve entered a time of uncertainty and underlying chaos. You have no idea what is going on inside your neighbor’s head. Maybe they know someone who died from the virus. Maybe they lost their job or they’re working extra hours. We are all carrying around some sort of burden as a result of the pandemic.
So gosh darn it, be kind.
Here are some ways to be kind:
- Send someone a birthday card even though its not their birthday.
- Smile at someone.
- “Say excuse me after you fart.” —Ashley
- Pay attention to what’s going on in other people’s lives.
- Share something that you like about your friends on social media.
- Give someone a nonsensical shout-out.
- Call your elderly family/friends and check in on them.
- Write a chalk message on your front steps.
- Tell yourself that you’re doing a good job when you accomplish a goal.
Kindness has a way of multiplying. When you are kind to others, it brightens their day—it will also brighten your day.
Being kind isn’t hard.
Being kind doesn’t cost anything.
Practice being kind to other humans—practice being kind to yourself.
Moving is a good way to shake off the anxiety of the current times. There’s a lot of research that indicates movement increases happiness while decreasing stress. Add in some sunshine and vitamin D—and you’re off to the races. Even just a short walk can help reset your mind and cultivate feelings of well-being.
Here is a list of smart people that walked.
- Albert Einstein
- Charles Dickenson
- Stephen King
I’m sure I’m missing some people, but you get the point.
Here are some other things you can do to get your body moving:
- Run with your dog.
- Walk on a nature trail.
- Do a yoga session.
- Lift heavy things.
It is all within yourself; in your way of thinking.
Since the beginning of the pandemic—I’ve tried to see this as an opportunity for introspection, perspective, and a time to recognize what’s really important in life.
Life will always be hard.
Bad things happen to good people.
It’s important to learn how to deal with the inherent suffering of life. We can buffer ourselves from what life throws at us, by practicing gratitude, being kind to ourselves and others, and moving our bodies.
Remember babies, we are only here for about 100 years. Your thoughts determine your reality. What story are you allowing your thoughts to tell?
Put down the air filter, kill your TV, and change your thoughts.