Healthy Habit #12 – A month of finding joy

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My last Healthy Habit of the year is finding joy.  I’ve become relatively good at finding and expressing gratitude, but joy is a whole other story.  It isn’t to say that I don’t experience joy often, I do, but I also feel like recognizing joy in the ordinary, or even in the not-so-great times, is something that I completely overlook.  So this month, a month that is filled with to-do lists, shopping, holiday parties, and loads of stress, I am going to focus on finding joy.  Actually, I already have been, since this post is coming 9 days into the month.  Ugh, see?  I’m already exhibiting the stress and busyness!  ‘Tis the season!

The holidays are portrayed as times filled with family, friends, and joy all around.  The truth, though, is that for a lot of us (in and out of recovery), it’s a time filled with anxiety and worry.  For some, spending time with family is challenging.  For those like me, it’s not spending time with family that’s hard, and sad, and depressing.  For those of us that are in recovery, the holiday parties and get-togethers may be uncomfortable because the alcohol is flowing this time of year, but the thought of skipping these soirees leaves us feeling isolated and lonely and boring.  For some of us there may be bad memories of holidays past, or happy memories that we know will never be duplicated.  We may be missing or grieving someone, or celebrating our first holiday without a loved one.  All of these situations are hard, but they don’t have to be absent of joy.

This month I am making a commitment to finding little pieces of joy in the ordinary and difficult times.  Whether it’s taking the time to enjoy a sunrise (I’m a morning person), or reading something that makes me smile instead of making me learn, or listening – really listening – to the sound of my stepson’s laughter.  There is something joyous to be found in each day, we just may need to look a little harder.

JChoose Joy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Habit #11 – A month of do-overs

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I tried.  I really did.  But October was a horrible, awful, emotional, depressing month.  I wrote about it here, if you would like to see why.  I didn’t even make it a week with my Healthy Habit #10.  I think I worked on physical activity for about 3 days, and then it went kaput, and I was back to laying on the couch, or, on particularly bad days, in bed, watching countless hours of mediocre TV shows to distract myself from the blues I was feeling.  The only silver-lining in the whole ordeal was that this time, as opposed to times in the past, I knew that the depression would pass.  I knew that I just had to be patient, to talk about the things that were bothering me, and to take comfort in knowing that I wouldn’t always feel sad and down.  I took it easy on myself, did the things that I had to (like earn a paycheck, and shower daily…or almost daily), and waited.  And finally, this last week, I started to feel better.  I noticed that I didn’t feel as sad, and that my smiling and laughing was, once again, genuine.  Last Monday was the first day that I felt I was able to stay mindful, the first day that I felt like myself again.  The remainder of the week has gotten better and better.

So, all of that being said, I have decided that November will be a month of do-overs.  I want to redo HH #10, and try to get my sedentary self moving.  That is first and foremost.  I know that I will feel better physically and emotionally if I do it.

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I also want to revisit some other Healthy Habits that I enjoyed, but didn’t quite stick to.  Meditation is one of them.  I have been using meditation on and off since I first tried it, but it hasn’t been a regular practice as of late.  So I will again make time for it, and see how it goes.  I would  also like to add consistency back to writing gratitude lists.  My mind has been pretty well-trained to look for the good in every situation these days, even when it’s hard, or when all I can find is the tiniest of slivers of gratitude, I know that I can find something for which to be grateful.  Unfortunately, if I don’t take the time to really think about it, or write it down, then the gratitude stays in my head, and never really reaches my heart.  In other words, I know what I have to be thankful for, I just don’t know how to feel gratitude for it.   Writing it down helped me before, so I am going to do what I know works.  I am going to add listing the things that I am grateful for to my journal writing that I do every morning.

I feel positive and hopeful.  I was going to add “about….”  to that sentence, but as I typed it, I realized that it said enough.  I feel positive and hopeful.  And that’s good.  🙂