Fresh flowers always make me feel better on a bad day. I love putting them in my antique farm pitcher.
I started this quarter with a really positive attitude, feeling grounded and present, and armed with so many tools to remain mindful and joyful everyday. It is so easy to do this when you have time off and are not inundated with life’s responsibilities. But then you get back to reality, and it becomes much harder to block out the negative, maintain moments of mindfulness, and take care of yourself.
The past few weeks have seemed like a constant struggle to not fall down the dark hole of negativity. Clinicals can be tough, and in general there is a lot of uncertainty, stress, and sometimes disappointment surrounding nursing school. You are always being observed, tested, trying to make yourself useful, and even constructive criticism can sometimes be hard to take when it is constant.
And then you turn on the news, and it seems everyone in the world is focusing on what they are unhappy about, and your toddler doesn’t like the food you make, and this “debbie downer” attitude seems to be running rampant. Often during these times, the last thing I want to do is meditate or write in a gratitude journal. I just want to sit on my couch eating donuts, complaining and watching Gossip Girl, because….THE CLOTHES.
Our bodies and minds seemed to be wired to go to that negative place. It is just so much easier to be angry, upset, and complain than to push ourselves to find moments of joy in an otherwise hopeless day.
The good thing is, in the past few weeks I have found some tools that do help. I want to share them so that if any of you are falling down the negativity rabbit hole, you can lift yourself back up.
- The Little Things: Sometimes that is all it takes to put a smile on your face. For me, it is a clean house, treating myself to fresh flowers, a long nap, a hot bath, or going out to lunch with girlfriends in the middle of the week. These are often vital for survival in the negativity windstorm, and although they seem so small, they make a huge difference. Just 1 hour spent checking out of my life can feel refreshing and liberating, and helps me to keep perspective.
- Take a Forest Bath: I read Jonathan Fields’ book How to Live A Good Life, and in it he talks about using nature as a way to increase mindfulness and decrease stress. He recommends taking a1 0 minute walk outside in a place where there are trees or grass, or even having a plant in your office or home. I usually take my dog on a long 30 minute walk around the neighborhood, and it is so therapeutic.
- Alone Time: This is so important, and yet is something a lot of us are not comfortable with. I think time away from whatever is causing the negativity in your life, time to figure out what is really bothering you and how to change it (if you can) is a very good practice. Sometimes you have to do this do figure out who or what is dragging you down.
- Let it Go: This one is so hard! Once I have practiced a little self-care, taken in the little things, and given myself time to think, the negative things really seem to get smaller. I often have to ask myself “is this really important?” or “are you just being difficult on yourself?” the answer is usually no and yes respectively, and these simple answers often result in a sigh of relief.
A shot from a nature walk I took a few years ago in La Jolla. Now that is my idea of a forest bath 🙂
Here is a great link for some other ways to combat negativity. Wishing you all a joyful and positive Monday!