Perception of a hard day.

Each of us perceives the world slightly different from the other, this is what causes our realities to be different. The good things some see in the world could be seen as just okay or not noteworthy by others. Stressful situations for some might be someone else’s comfort zone and so on. The way each of us perceive the world is what makes life unknown in ways because we never know what someone might do or say when experiencing a situation.

We can all admit that there are days when we struggle to see the good in anything. When work sucks, our car sucks, our relationships are bad, or life just isn’t great at that moment. These days happen to everyone and can happen anytime. Sometimes life is just unpredictable. There are a few ways to combat these days when our perception of the world around us is abnormally harsh.

Take a little personal time and write down everything that is poisoning your day. Just write it down, get those terrible feelings out of you as quickly as you can. Writing these things down can be difficult because you may not agree with what you are writing, you might feel torn between how you feel in the moment and how you feel in general. Feeling this way okay, its the process of writing the rough moments on paper that help you think through the reality of life at the time and move forward. Give it a try.

Another great option to help adjust your perspective on a challenging day is to talk it out with a friend while doing some type of activity. Perhaps a walk around your office just to vent, working on a puzzle, playing laser tag, hiking, throwing axes, or boxing could be the best way to talk it out and work the challenges out. I have tried all of the ideas I wrote above and they’ve helped me personally, just tailor your activity to you and see how that works for you.

Realization.

What I was having a hard time admitting was that I was burned out. Nothing was making sense because I couldn’t grasp what was happening around me, I had fallen into a autopilot mode and was just doing the bare minimum to get by each day. Once I was able to come to the realization of what was happening to me it broke me down a little more than I already was and then allowed me to begin to pick myself up and retake control of myself and my surroundings.

Yesterday I talked about walking the dog and just listening to nature around me and taking a little time to read something every day. Those are two big parts of what has helped me regain some sense of control of my life. The following are two more things that helped me stand a little more confidently and are still helping me today; Eating less sugar, and exercising more gratitude.

I’m not here to tell you how to eat, I here to tell you about what I was eating too much of and too little of. I am the type of person who can pick up a group sized bag of chocolates and eat the whole thing by myself in one sitting. I have a sweet tooth that loves to be fed and all too often I just feed it without thought or care of how I will feel afterward. I have known this for a long time and it hasn’t bothered me because I feel that I live a fairly active life and don’t carry too much excess weight on my bones.

This past month I started using sweets and treats as they ought to be used as a way to treat one’s self once in a while. It was a struggle for me as I mentioned before because I am a sweet eater and indulge a little too often historically. I started taking better snacks with me to work like cheese, fruits and various nuts to snack on instead of sugary treats. I also limited my soda intake to one can a day and that can be after work when I made it home to relax. It made a huge difference in my daily attitude and helped me be a little less cloudy than I was before.

I believe I mentioned this before in a few different posts but this is one that really rings with me and has helped me see life in a better light, expressing gratitude more often. Yes, I have always tried to express gratitude each day but I wasn’t expressing gratitude to the right people nor seeing gratitude in the little things around me. I was grateful for having a place to work, owning a house, a car, and a family but I wasn’t able to express that gratitude directly to the little things that really mattered.

I started saying thank you to my spouse more often for the little things she did, I started looking more at the good things that I had worked toward in my life such as my car and home ownership. I started admitting that I was avoiding seeing the good things in my life and swelling on the holes and how much more I needed to be happy. I personally don’t think that I need material possessions to be happy, but I was starting to think those were the only things I needed to be so. You can be happy with very little should you choose to be grateful for the life you have and the opportunities that have come and are coming your way.

As I stated before I’m not saying the things I’ve mentioned above are guaranteed to make you happier than you already are or will pull you out of a funk or burned out stage of life. What I have mentioned above has helped me live with fewer clouds in my head each day. They were part of the tools I personally used to be a little happier than I was yesterday.

Escape.

Have you ever needed a little time to escape? To have peace and quiet, just to disconnect from the world around you and just hear nature? As I mentioned last night I needed that time and space just to reset and breathe. It’s never easy to admit that we might be experiencing a little burnout, that has led to us being a little down for a period of time. I took the past month to escape a little and these are a few things I used to escape.

Reading has always been something I have tried to enjoy and use as an escape. I used a little time each day last month to read a few books, my favorite being “How to Bullsh*t Your Way to Number 1: An Unorthodox Guide To 21st Century Success from the World’s #1 Fake Restaurateur and Paris Fashion Week’s #1 Fake Designer” by Oobah Butler. I have watched his videos online and felt I related to his style and sense of humor. His book was an easy read that helped me better understand how to stop bullsh*tting myself and to start being better at committing to ideas and finding success.

There are indeed times when I have thought that I have great ideas that are destined for success that have fallen flat on their faces because I let the doubts of others around me hold me back. That was something that had been grinding me down over the past months was the voices of others who didn’t see the whole vision I had and believed in. I let their doubts drown out my belief that things would go well on stormy seas.

Walking my dog without headphones in my ears sounds like a silly thing. I don’t really want to get to know my neighbors after all (wink, wink), nor do I want to hear the sounds of birds, horses, cows, and sheep. Just kidding, I love hearing all of those things along with the simple interactions with my neighbors. It’s just easy to plug in and be distant. This past month I just took my headphones out while e walked the dog and that changed things up, I was more connected to real life and all the goodness that is always surrounding me.

It really helped me out with feeling better about my day to day life, disconnect from the digital and live more in the physical. Living here and now can often be a great escape for some and indeed it has been a great escape for me. So take some time and read a book, any book will do. Take the chance on walking without your headphones in your ears and just listen to the present around you and soak up the big moments of today.

Month.

A month is a long time for some and a short time to others. Plenty can happen in a month, you could train and run a marathon in a month, you could write a book, improve your health, take a trip to a few new places, or focus on something with all of your focus. That is what I did last month, I spent some time focused on improving my mental health, I was in a rut and it was a challenge to get out of. I felt awful and uninspired, I felt weak in everything I did and withdrew myself from some of my greatest friendships.

It’s hard to struggle and not always understand why. It is a puzzle to me why I withdrew from my friends and felt the desire to keep to myself. I never know when this is going to happen either, the world suddenly feels heavy and I feel like Atlas holding the weight of the world on my shoulders. Is this something I want? No, but its something I must work through when it happens and move forward from those moments of deep doubt and weight.

Last month after mothers day I took a break from writing every day and decided to look inward and reflect to see how I was feeling, how I could find personal clarity, and how I could be in a better mental state. It was not easy to look inward as I did, writing down lists of negative self-thoughts and a few positive ones. It made me extremely sad to see how poorly I looked at myself when I know that I have heaps more to offer than I thought I did during those moments. I knew that I wasn’t feeling up to par with being my happier self, but that I could work my way through and out of the rut I had found myself in.

If you or anyone you know seems a little off from their usual self don’t be afraid to ask them how they are doing, see if they need an ear to vent to, or just need someone to sit with them in silence until they are ready to talk. Try and be there for them and make sure they know that you are willing to be there when they need. This seems like common sense friendship but it isn’t. It’s something that shows you are a friend with a deeper understanding of the feelings and needs of others.

To my friends who stood beside me through these challenging times, I say thank you. Thank you for listening when I needed, sending memes out of the blue that raised a smile on my face, and laughing with me when I needed a good laugh. Friendship is a beautiful thing isn’t it?

Avoid.

Ever avoided something? Ever veered clear of taking an action or saying something that needed to be said? If you said yes, you’re not alone, people everywhere experience similar feelings as humans tend to avoid uncomfortable situations. It’s a natural thing to avoid the difficult tasks we need to accomplish due to our fears of upsetting others and disrupting a safe balance.

I have plenty of situations and conversations that I tend to avoid out of fear of making a mess of life’s good balance at that moment. I do this at home and at work and I hate myself at times for this behavior. I know that I would be better off if I just made the decision to say what needed to be said but I have an overabundance of concern for the feelings of others. I often allow this concern for others to walk over my feelings and grind them into the ground.

It’s a fault that I’m not alone in ownership of. We are more concerned than we want to admit about the feelings of others. It’s the real humanity in us, our ability to fear upsetting others that makes these hard times difficult to speak to and easy to try to avoid. We need to learn how to speak up without fear and skip avoidance altogether.

Think about what would make you happy, think about what you could say to someone else that would help make your life better. Now, look at the action that needs to be taken to get to where you need to be happier, prepare yourself to speak up for yourself. As you speak up for yourself say what needs to be said with empathy towards the person you are speaking with, remember to be honest and straightforward though as that will help all parties involved understand the changes that you hope to happen.

Don’t avoid speaking up when things need to be said, take some time and think through what you want to say then find a moment to share it. I cannot say the outcome will be ideal but you will feel better in the long run after speaking up for yourself.

Interest.

I’ve mentioned this before but learning new things by reading then applying is one of my all-time favorite past times. I love reading books that have a lesson to be learned and a new way to look at life. There are times when I am constantly reading the same styles of book, ones that promote self-improvement and time management. I get there are people who look at these books and think they are complete folly, but I take the good from them and apply them in my day to day life.

There are plenty of reasons to spend a little time each day invested in self-improvement. First to improve your quality of life, not because you are broken or need improvement but because too many of us fail to see the good we do and the strengths we have. Being honest we are often too critical of our weaknesses, we need to be more kind when we look inward at what we do. Investing a little time into self-improvement can truly make your mental well being better as you are a bit kinder to yourself.

Second would be to learn topics that can help you to be a better friend, primarily a better listener who can respond with better answers and follow up questions. There I said it, often times as friends we are needed as good active listeners who are able to respond with answers that add value to the conversation. These moments when we can add to the conversation will strengthen our friendships and help our friends have someone besides themselves to lean on. Obviously, you don’t want to take over the conversation but add enough value that your friend not only knows you are listening to them but you are invested in learning about their interests too.

You and I both know the list could add up to one hundred different points but that’s not why we’re here. Take a little of your time each day and work on learning a little about self-improvement, take a little more time to appreciate yourself and the good things you do. Be interested in adding to your quality of life and your personal happiness and everything else will follow.

Golden Hour.

There are days when we all need a little walk to clear our heads and make sense of a busy world. Today was for me one of those days where I needed a few steps lakeside to calm my mind, get a little sunlight in the golden hour, and talk about assorted topics with my wife. As we walked we crossed a variety of paths each section was a different experience based off what we were walking on. It seemed to me that every time we crossed onto a new section of the walk our experience changed ever so slightly.

At the start of our walk, we passed up a paved pathway for a rockier path that took us through a wetlands area and closer to the lake. As we walked across larger crushed rock our conversation revolved on the heavier things we are experiencing in life, how we are currently being affected by various topics that ranged from our opinions on politics to the annoyance we had with the excessive dog droppings along the trail(Please folks, pick up after your dog.). After we left the rough path we transitioned for a bit onto the sand and our words became more relaxed and flowed more easily toward happier things and topics that reflected quickly after our footing changed.

We eventually made it to the paved path where we passed other ambitious souls looking for relief in the last hour of sunlight for the day. Our conversation gravitated towards mental health and the courage it takes to humble one’s self and seek out professional assistance in the battle for a better quality of life. We expressed our gratitude about those who showed patience and love through the hard days lifting us when we needed a little extra help to see the good in ourselves.

Ten minutes walking on the smooth and solid ground opened a genuine conversation that allowed for openness and trust with each other. Walking lakeside during the golden hour can truly open anyone to a breath of fresh air and honest conversations that we need to hear.