Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Creating Joy During Stressful Times

Let's get moving! We lift each other up when feeling down
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Last week, I popped a blood vessel in my eye. I have no idea how. I just looked in the mirror one morning and noticed the red blotch near my cornea. Stress, so many people said. And I agree. 

The world is definitely on shaky ground these days. Covid-19 cases are on the rise again, one-by-one, the schools in my area are going fully remote, the election coverage is nonstop, and the high anxiety and anger and sadness emanating out of social media feeds feels rampant. 

And the holidays are fast approaching, which means, cold weather and dark days are also fast approaching. 

To destress, laughter is the best medicine
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Matt Francis Photos

This year has been far from normal, but it's important now more than ever to manage stress levels and find the calm, find the joy, find the peace every way we can. Mike recently finished the book Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness by Ingrid Fetell Lee. It's one of those books you read for a bit, then put down, then pick back up again after pondering its philosophy. 

With stress levels on the rise, we're doing our best to implement most of Lee's advice. Some of it seems like common sense, but when times are tough it can be easy to forget that the little things in life really do bring a great sense of calmness and joy. So, we looked into what we have right in front of us that can utilize. Here's what we've come up with, and it's working1 

To destress, we:

He lights up my life...and my tee
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1. Add bright colors to our wardrobe to brighten our mood

2. Move our bodies every single day (even a 15-minute walk around our neighborhood on our most busiest days helps)

3. Run in the rain 

4. Run in the dark 

 When it rains...you run!
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5. Take long walks through the woods and point out all the animals we see

6. Go for a hike on a mountain

7. Visit with family outside and socially-distanced

8. Plant flowers and trees and spruce up our backyard

9. Physically put away our phones, computers, TV for much needed breaks from the outside world

10. Play a board game or cards 

11. Cook flavorful, healthy meals together (usually also full of color!)

It's all about perspective

12. Sit quietly on the couch or outside with our favorite mugs or glasses filled with coffee, tea, or wine (okay, sometimes bourbon too), and just be in the moment

13. Read uplifting books about the underdog winning

14. Journal for ten-minutes a day (writing prompts from The Creative Wave Facebook group by author Lisa Papademetriou)

15. Watch our favorite sitcoms and funny movies and laugh, laugh, laugh

16. Go to sleep at the same time every night in a quiet, dark room (no electronics allowed)

Game night...healthy snacks
& strategic sneak attacks

17. Surprise each other with love notes or small gifts "just because"

18. Be spontaneous and throw our routine to the wind for an impromptu activity, like getting takeout from our favorite restaurant, going for a long drive, or even just opening that specialty chocolate we've been saving for a rainy day

19. Put on music from "the good old days" and dance, dance, dance in the living room

20. Name five things that bring us joy each, even if it's something minor like enjoying a sunny day, spotting a woodpecker, or saying hello to a neighbor  

I'm sure I could go on and on, but really, these 20 things have become our go-to ways to destress, unwind, and find joy. Implementing little bits of happiness into our lives each day helps us remember that everything is temporary, including these uncertain times, and having a positive attitude eases stress and anxiety. 

Sound too simple? Don't believe me? Give it a try for a week, and then let me know how it went.

Give a smile, receive a smile! No matter what's going on in life right now,
a smile always helps. 

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© Matt Francis Photos

And don't forget, adding bright colors into your life is easier now more than ever. Just use my discount code RunBrightly for 15% off your order at IlllumiNITE.

What do you do to destress? Please share in a comment below. I'd love to add more joy into my life! 

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