We typically hear these words as we step into a familiar place. A place that is safe. A place that feels like home. Typically, we know others there. We look forward to seeing them. We look forward to talking to them. We look forward to being back.
As a teacher, this saying has a little different feel this year. See, as teacher’s we’ve missed our students. We taught in the spring, but to be honest that was more like survival. We were flexible and willing to jump in head first, but it didn’t feel good. We’ve also been aware of the happenings in the world around us. There is so much unrest. There is so much tension. There is so much uneasiness. It is all uncertain.
I’ve always been an anxious person. Honestly, most wouldn’t expect it. I was and am good at internalizing. I’m good at masking anxiety. I’m good at faking it. I think it’s the fact that I don’t want to disappoint. I don’t want others to be let down by a version of myself that they don’t like. I don’t want to fail. I don’t like uncertainty.
That doesn’t mean I’m unhappy. I love my life. I am happy. I am blessed. I am highly favored. I just knew that I wanted to approach this uncertain times with a different lens. A different technique. I wanted to coach myself, in a way, to help overcome these uneasy feelings. I wanted to be a better me. These are the five things I would recommend to become a better version of yourself!
Attack EVERYTHING You Do With Positivity! I’ll be honest. This one is very hard for me. I struggle with finding the positive at times. Anything worth doing will take effort. For me, that means attacking things, even the things I don’t enjoy, with positivity. Finding the way that it will positively impact those around me, the world, or myself.
Here’s a very small example. I HATE cleaning dishes. I mean, I don’t know anyone that enjoys it, but I really dislike it. If I think about how many dishes are left, or how much I despise this simple task, I will be miserable. I will be frustrated. I will be angry. The thing is, I know that doing this simple task can help my family. Since the day Knox came home, I knew I needed to help around the house more than before. It wasn’t that I had never lent a hand, it was more so that I knew that was something I could do to help ease the load for my wife. Dishes were one of the first things that I naturally started doing more often. Yes. Filling the dishwasher, as well as hand washing the rest of the dishes, pots, and pans. It’s not that tough, right? I’m not gonna lie, there are many times that I am SO over dishes. I most definitely don’t want to stand over a hot sink washing dishes with last nights meal on them. I do them though to be a help. I now do that with more positivity in my heart. In the end it helps calm my anxiousness and overall negative being.
Take the time to write down one thing that makes you anxious or angry. When you think of that task, also think of the ways it affects other people, the environment, the world. Once you get one written down, you may find yourself thinking of those other task or situations that you will now need to attack with a positive mind. See if you can find that small bit of positivity to help you become a better you.
Find Your Release– I’ve talked about this in a previous post, but wanted to touch back on how it has helped me. When I talk about a release, I really mean a way to relax and breathe at the end or beginning of your day. This is the time that you can think about things you did during the day, or still need to accomplish during the day.
For me, running and walking has been by release. I enjoy being on the road and listening to music. Some people can’t think while listening to music. For me, it helps hone in my thoughts. During these outside moments, I naturally think about life. I think about things I want to accomplish. I think about struggles I’m having. I think about new ideas that seem neat. The point is I’m letting my brain reset and think more through the large lens of life.
A lot of our days are spent just making it to the end of the day so that we can start up again when the sun rises. I want you to think about setting aside 15 minutes a day to find your release. It may be spent in meditation. It may be done during a nice leisure walk. The point of the matter is it will help clear your mind and prepare you for your next challenge. It will help you conquer your quest.
Exercise…30 Minutes A Day– I’m sure you have heard this for as long as you can remember. People talk about getting outside and exercising a minimum of 30 minutes a day to help you lose weight. The cool thing is, that is only one of the many benefits I have found through exercise.
You don’t realize how much different you feel from exercising until you don’t regularly do it. You might think to yourself, “Oh I exercise….I play basketball once a week.” That’s great and all, but in reality you need to be more consistent with that exercise. I was that person. I thought I was taking care of myself through exercise. I thought, “I’m doing just fine.” The reality is I had fallen off a cliff. I was occasionally lifting weights…I was occasionally playing basketball… to be honest I was occasionally moving. With that comes negative feedback. My body was trying to tell me to change something. Whether it was the extreme foot problem I dealt with for two years. The ever-growing negative mindset I was obtaining. The overall malaise I felt on a regular basis. I was not my best self.
When I stay active I feel better, overall. I want to eat more healthy. I have more energy to attack my tasks. It has helped me have more consistent positive thoughts. The foot pain has become a distant memory. That doesn’t mean I am always feeling amazing, but I feel 10X better then I have felt in years.
I want you to think of one exercise that you can do 30 minutes a day. You can also choose to mix it up if you’d like. You can go for an evening walk. You can do yoga in the morning. You can start doing bodyweight workouts. You can blast your favorite music and dance! The point is you have to start somewhere. Pick something that you enjoy. Pick something that you won’t dread everyday. You may be surprised when you want to do more or new activities. Keep track of your exercise and set goals for your day and month as a new and improved ACTIVE self.
Speak Up– This one is so important. There are many that struggle with telling others how they are feeling or what they are thinking. They might be scared or embarrassed to tell their loved ones. They might believe that people will think differently about them if they do. They don’t want to disappoint them. Instead, they keep it all bottled up inside. That can be very damaging.
I’ve struggled with this at times. As you know by now, I don’t like disappointing people. I don’t want people to have to worry about me. I don’t want to be a burden. There have been times that this has been detrimental to my overall being. It has affected some of my relationships at times. I haven’t taken the time to reach out to loved ones. To reach out to friends. In the end, I put it all on my own shoulders.
It can be hard to keep those relationships in this rat race of life. We get caught up in our job. We get caught up in our lives. We forget about those relationships. These relationships are vital to finding a better you. Sometimes it’s not even about how it will impact you directly, but maybe how you were able to help someone in need without knowing it. Maybe it’s reconnecting with an old high school friend. Maybe it’s reaching out to a friend you haven’t talked to in a couple years after seeing a social media post. You may never know how much that one call or message impacted that person. You may have saved their day. You may have saved their life.
The overall point is to speak up. It’s good to talk about how you feel. It’s good to have others to talk about when you have ideas or fears. It’s good to have a counterbalance in an argument. It’s good to find a better you. This blog has been therapeutic for me in this instance. It has helped me share my thoughts. My musings. It has also made me realize the relationships that have gone by the wayside over the past few years. I am now working on rebuilding those relationships.
I want you to make a phone call twice a month to some people you haven’t talked to in a while. You might need to get something off your chest. You may just need someone to hear you. What you may not realize is how much that person needed your call. Call them. Speak to them. Share with them. Hear them. SPEAK UP.
Find time…FOR YOURSELF!– What do you enjoy doing? Do you remember the last time you took time to do it? It may be golfing. It may be reading. It may be gardening. It is SO easy to forget about the things we truly enjoy in life. We get caught up in the regular routine in life and we don’t schedule any time for the things we truly love and have a passion for. It’s important to have that excitement in your day to day routine.
This does not mean that I hate my job. Quite the contrary. I LOVE my job. I get to share a few of my passions with my students: music, theater, and sports. That is a blessing. That doesn’t mean that at times I have neglected the me time. The time that I could work on or enjoy something I love to do at home. For me, they are: playing music, listening to music, family time, vegetable gardening, golf, basketball, and now THIS BLOG! These are things that I haven’t always remembered to do. Even if I only have 10 minutes to do any of them, it’s worth it.
Self care is so important to being a better you. You want to set time aside in your day that you truly look forward to. Somedays you may get more time than others, but the point is to make that time in your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly routine. To do this well, you may need to potentially cut out some of the wasted time that we all have in our day. What are those things that we don’t really care about, but do anyways? I found that I can play cell phone video games for much longer than I need to if I allow myself. In reality, this is wasting some time that I could be playing guitar, or working on our garden, or writing a new blogpost.
I want you to write down at least two things that you LOVE to do. These may be things that you had forgotten about for some time. It’s not too late to add them back in to your daily life. I want you to also write down when you will do these activities. The times can change, but they need to happen everyday. You may need to cut out some dead time, but it will be so worth it. Through this process you may also find yourself adding additional activities that you didn’t even know you’d love. Self care is not selfish!
Welcome back to the new and improved you!