FebUP! Small But MIGHTY Practices You Can Do to Feel Better: Week 1
FebUp! Basic Idea.
Each day in February, I post a pic and some practices on Instagram designed to up your mood, relieve some heaviness, and increase your flourishing (about a one minute read). At the end of each week, I am putting seven of them together with some links to articles and research.
This is Week One’s offering. Check back in a week for the next fab seven.
They will be doable (even when exhausted and stressed).
They will be informed by research and real life.
They will require a bit of work on your part.
Not too much, though. You can handle it.
Ready To Begin? Start by following the Instagram account: @gottasecond or read on…
We begin FebUP! with AWAKE. Waking up is hard to do. Getting out of bed is difficult. For someone who feels down, thoughts like, “I don’t want to get up and be a responsible ” can come to mind. Practice: Upon awakening, remind yourself that you will feel a bit better once you’re out of bed (true: your body chemicals will shift), that you can do this (true: you are still here doing stuff), and that you have a new plan for feeling better (true: 28 new practices will make a difference). Awake to possibility.
Making a decision is as satisfying to your brain as licking a dessert bowl is to your taste buds. Choosing gives you agency and confidence and stops some of the spin cycle thinking. Get some counsel or more info if that’s helpful (but do not get stuck here — TMI) and then dive in. Don’t look back (ruminate/worry/obsess about the could’ve/would’ve/should’ve). Almost everything can be changed back or reworked if needed. Practice: Decide on at least one thing today and let someone know — this makes it real.
Pay attention to your body. This is something people with low mood generally dislike doing (a lot). It is tempting to spend most of our time in our heads thinking about how bad we feel. But what’s going on below your neck? Skip the judgment though; it’s the noticing that we’re after. Practices: Revel in your sensory system; support your body rhythms; notice what is working well; nurture and care for your body. Also, if you haven’t already, talk with your MD/ND to rule out common health problems, like anemia).
Cook, macramé, build, garden…whatever creative work inspires you. Creative work is like comfy pants for the brain. This is not the time to start up that huge project or delve into a complicated solution to a design problem (unless, of course, it is). Practice: Tell your serious, brainiac side it’s okay to rest over yonder for a spell. Cease from all that incessant thinking and mental processing and engage in some imaginative, discovery play-work. Create some flow.
Like yesterday’s practice, this one switches your brain from worrying and rehearsing into building brand-new, contented neurons. Feel like your brain is too foggy? Break it down into mite-size pieces. Persistence will disrupt looping thought-reruns and wake up feelings of accomplishment and self-esteem. Practice: Start with wee bits of learning like, how do you clean up moldy tile (theoretically, if you had the energy and cared)? Move into larger chunks when you’re feeling like a brain-boss: How do I re-grout that moldy tile or, forget the damn tile, how do I make beer? Learn into your lively-hood.
Coffee shops, art galleries, music festivals: they’re all are full of people making noise. If those noisy people are also your lovely, upbeat friends — double-dip win! Hang out with a friend or coworker and focus on being present to their life. Or, fixate on some positive connections and experiences you’ve had (refresh this site often). People can drain us but they also connect us to what’s real and vibrant. Practice: Inhabit some vitality-enriched, other-world space for a while and then be alone if you need to (but not for too long). Balance people.
Make a meal; pull some weeds; knit a scarf; write a letter (the old way with pen and paper); build something. Then, give it away — discreetly. Or, notice everyone’s need for kindness and encouragement. Gently shove your fatigue aside for a few minutes or hours and hand out with a person or family who could use a lift-gift like your sincere attention and non-heroic service. Practice: Do something purely altruistic today. Set it up today. Buy the wool. Make the call. Serve up some sunshiny feelings and welcome back your inside smile.
You are unique. Not everything that can be done should be done by every person. Not everything has a singular cause; not everything has a singular effect. Always confer with your doctor or a health professional before starting any new health initiative.
Peace to you and your household,
Shari van Spronsen, MC, RCC, CCC
©2018 Shari van Spronsen and Second Story Counselling