Photo by Saman Tsang on Unsplash

A few weeks ago, I woke very early to find my cat gazing up at the sky. This little guy is the most serene soul that I have ever known. As I walked out to the kitchen, I noticed that he was calmly watching the sunrise. I sat down beside him on the floor and he climbed up in my lap and we just took a few moments to watch the sky turn from pink and yellow to a brilliant blue. These are the moments that cannot be replaced. Oh for those times when we purr more and hiss less.

We live in a hurried world. Much of it has been slowed due to the pandemic, but still, there are emails to catch up on, places to go, and people to see. Life can, and often does get overwhelming. We often place unrealistic expectations on ourselves and others. Mostly we worry about things that haven’t even happened yet; yes, I’m guilty of that too. I’m an overthinker, a worry whort, it led to me being in the hospital with tachycardia, stress-related, feeling burned out. I had to learn to re-live my life as I knew it because really, stressing over the might have been’s really wasn’t doing me any good. Your day begins with your attitude. Your week ends with your perspective.

When I’m feeling like life is a little too much, I have learned to take a step back and see where I can prioritize things or streamline them. Seriously, the rules of triage do come into play. Do you trust yourself enough to simply choose one thing, work on it, and then move on to the next, or do you procrastinate, until you and everyone around you scurries to tidy up the loose pieces? Make a list, find a program to remind you, utilize calendars, spreadsheets, or sticky notes.

Take a little you time. Often, we can find joy along the way. In previous posts, I’ve noted the simple pleasures of slowing down. It is important to take a breather to allow ourselves to process things, make logical choices, and not react, but rather think things through. Change your environment, if you can. Give your mind something else to focus on, play a game, go for a walk, play some music, stick your earbuds in, take a shower to wash off the day, cook a good meal for yourself, do something just for yourself. It’s not selfish, it is healthy. When you are refreshed, you are able to tackle more things. I don’t want to sound like Mom, but in most cases, she really did know best. Eat right, get enough sleep, and exercise, and watch your health; guarding our mental health is just as important, stress, and that feeling of being overwhelmed comes from not stepping away often enough to see the big picture. We don’t have to do it all, at least not immediately.

What brings joy into your life, can you truly answer that? Over the years, I’ve made it a priority to change my attitude. While I may have become more flexible in my age, I can say that I’ve come to know myself better. I know my limits and know when to say I’ve had enough.

These steps have helped me de-stress and find comfort, try them to kindle a clear mind.

Here are my joy generators
Seeing things through the eyes of others
Agreeing to disagree (seriously, some people will argue the color of the sky) it’s not that important, let it go.
Watching a sunrise or sunset. I find a feeling of hope in that.
My cat, running through the hallways at top speed and skidding around the corner, or coming to me for a hug. Pets are great for helping us to see things simply.
Not complaining. This is a big one, you would be surprised what simply not speaking can do. You’ll be much happier, I promise. You don’t have to reply all the time.
Doing what you have to do with a cheerful spirit. Yup, it’s that simple.
Turning my phone off at 10 pm every night. No emails, no social media, no scrolling mindlessly, no texting, no DM’ing. I disconnect completely until 8 am the next morning. Trust me, I sleep much better, and not being involved with the drama llamas is priceless.

I think my cat has the right idea. There is something to be said for taking the time to do things that allow you to purr more in life. It is very rare that I feel overwhelmed, and I hiss far less.