Happy Thursday friends! This month I’m exploring how tiny breaks might bring about renewal. Last year I did one thing a day to help improve my mental health. Earlier this year, I began by taking a 30-minute rest at the end of each day to do something that I liked. In both cases, I felt better – as if I’d been given something back that had been taken away during the day.
Since the focus is on renewal this month, I’m issuing a challenge to all of us. For the next 21 days take one, three, or five minutes to do an activity from this list. Journal about it daily – write what you did and how it made you feel. It may also be an opportunity to track how you feel during the day before you do the activity and compare how you feel afterward. On the first day answer the prompt: how do I feel about my life as a whole? Is my outlook positive and am I happy? At the end of the period, see how you feel by answering the same two questions.
I plan on doing this project myself. My hypothesis is that I will have a better, more positive outlook and I will feel happier about my life. Part of recovery is learning to love yourself as a first step. Loving yourself includes taking care of your physical and mental being. Taking one minute or longer to do a small thing for yourself can have longer lasting benefits than taking a small break.
As an aside – I will be quarantined during part of this challenge. My son visited us the Saturday before Easter and then Monday afternoon found out he was Covid positive. We have been instructed to quarantine for 10 days and then my husband has to have a negative test to go back to work. I am also going to take a test as well before I go interact with other humans. Thus, I am hoping that this challenge gives me a little positive-mood-bump during this time. Please pray for us. 😊
On to the challenge list:
- An act of kindness for any other person – I suggest giving a person a small anonymous gift and praying for them.
- Move your body – in any way you want – Dance, run, jump, exercise, etc.
- Play with (or just pet) your furry friends – Science says this is a mood booster.
- Watch cute kitten/puppy/panda videos – you can web search this, use pinterest, or youtube
- Have a tiny indulgence – go out for dessert, get a milkshake, eat a cookie, have a piece of chocolate, get an iced mocha late, etc
- Do a breathing exercise – this is the one I use on youtube RELAX AND BREATHE: Do Nothing for 10 Minutes – YouTubehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXItOY0sLRY&list=WL&index=9
- Say something nice to yourself – look in the mirror and find something to compliment, think about your good qualities, etc
- Say something nice to someone else – anything, big or small, look for it and say something
- Make a list of places you’d like to travel, imagine where you’d go if you could right now
- Write a bucket list – you can find ideas online and borrow some of those
- Take a few minutes and do something you like to do – take a bath, read a book, listen to music and sing along
- Look for signs of spring – find bees buzzing, flowers blooming, trees budding, and birds chirping
- Watch a sunrise or sunset and just admire it – it doesn’t even have to be real, but real is better
- Call a friend for a video chat – many of us aren’t able to be together with the people we love and this can be the next best thing
- Have a friend date if you can – go to lunch or go shopping
- Go for a walk in nature – drive to the local nature preserve, park, or river
- Sit and have a drink of your choice – whether it’s a glass of sweet tea, green tea, an iced mocha, or a glass of wine, sit and savor it
- Get a coloring page and color it – you can download and print, purchase a coloring book from the dollar store near you, and grab some coloring pencils
- Put away your phone for a few minutes and read something in analog – a book, magazine, or other items, whatever you have and make it fun
- Write a note to a friend, colleague, or family member to tell them you’re thinking about them – it can be on a small piece of paper, a notecard, or a postcard, just make a loving connection
- Take a minute or two to laugh – find something funny on the internet, a good suggestion is a web search for cute baby laughs, funny pandas, or playful kittens and puppies
A quick update on the results of my fast last week. I enjoyed the plant-based meals a lot more than I expected. It was more like a culinary adventure than deprivation. I was less hungry than I was with the prior fast and I did not experience any internal struggles. I had some desire to have meals with meat in them such as chicken or tacos. I got through it by praying or deciding to focus on something else.
The interesting thing that happened was on Easter Sunday before we broke our fast. We were at church, sitting in the front row because someone else snagged our regular seats. I was praying before communion and I felt very peaceful. Then we sang a song at the end of the service. I closed my eyes and I was transported away in my mind to a dusty road. I saw a white robe and a hand, I reached up and held onto one finger with my whole hand like a child. I just walked along the dusty, breezy road. I felt so peaceful and loved.
When we got home, we had lunch which was leftovers from the day before. Then we prepared our dinner and played games together. It was a normal day following a wonderful experience. The point of my fasting was not to seek guidance, it was to draw closer to Jesus and to be with him during Holy Week. In the end, I was walking along a dusty road with him. What a way to end a fast and to celebrate Easter?
Are you accepting the challenge? Have you joined me on this journey to find out what is the Good Life? What about the Holy Week fast, did you join in? I’d love to hear from you. Post a comment below and join the conversation.
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