Lighten Up

Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.

Here are 10 tips to assist you to navigate these uncertain and challenging life circumstances. We all need to lighten up, stay connected, and live with JOY.

Lighten Up boy

1. Acceptance

What we resist persists.

Research by Dr. Kristen Neff and many other experts shows that acceptance
of unpleasant circumstances contributes to a sense of well-being and happiness.
While this appears to be counterintuitive, the research does confirm it.

Accepting does not mean liking or condoning what is unacceptable, accepting is simply focusing on the REALITY of what is. This increases emotional resilience and a return to equilibrium when stressed. It also lays the foundation for becoming an effective agent of social change in work conditions, living arrangements or community services. Often social change is needed to increase personal well-being and vice versa.


2. Love Yourself

We have been, many of us, groomed to feel SHAME when we lose our jobs,
homes, and/or lose a relationship we depended upon. We have in such circumstances already suffered enough without adding further punishment. Self-love is the best antidote to shame and also to guilt and other sometimes hurtful feelings. I have, in other articles shared tips on how to love yourself more. For now, consider this a reminder to use brain gym, affirmations, and act in ways that demonstrate self -love.

3. Practice Self-Care

Self-care is not a luxury but a necessity. Self-care is a form of self-love and is
not selfish. We live in a world that is skewed to producing illness and emotional turmoil. If we do not vigilantly take good care of ourselves no one else will do it for us. If we are physically ill or emotionally disturbed we cannot care for those we love. Optimal health and well-being is a prerequisite to caring for others, our work, and our environment.

Fruit breakfast

4. Seek Healthy Comfort/Healthy Forms of Self-Soothing

This could include time outdoors in quiet and sunshine, delicious fruit
smoothies, time with a treasured friend, listening to music, attending virtual concerts (or live entertainment once restrictions upon public events are removed or eased), dance performances, yoga or pilates classes, cycling, mountain biking and meditating regularly.

5. Observe the Thought Process

Think positive thoughts and avoid creating a useless narrative with negative thoughts. The mind can be a wonderful servant but it can be a poor master
tormenting us when it criticizes, obsesses about failures and/or invents fears about future disasters that may never occur.

6. Stay in the Present Moment

We can always control where we place our attention. “Energy flows where the attention goes”. This makes it imperative to actively direct our attention rather than allow it to wander. Balance staying up to date on current events with a focus on uplifting reading and/or more upbeat social media browsing. Balance is key.


7. Spend Time Outdoors in Nature

We require fresh air such as the air we breathe when in a park or in an
area with many trees, nurturing ocean breezes or in rural retreats that
invigorate us and help us to chill out. Exercising outdoors is the best way
to exercise. Running along the ocean assists us to breathe in fresh healing

8. Replace Co-Dependence with Inter-Dependence

When relating to family, friends or an intimate partner, cease the tendency to rescue the other person or looking to others to rescue you. When you focus on rescuing others, you risk resentment when they do not respond in a positive manner as expected. You could then become angry with them, resentful and frustrated. When you look to someone to rescue you, you become dependent and needy and risk feeling and/or becoming their victim. It is best to
stand on your own two feet while encouraging family, friends or an intimate partner to do the same. You then become peers and allies in healing yourselves and each other, thereby growing and evolving.

Differentiate catering, sacrificing and giving. Catering is people-pleasing and to be avoided. (see my article on “Integrity: The Way Out of Catering” @ Sacrifice involves doing more than you might wish which can lead to resentment. Giving has no hidden costs and no strings attached. Giving is offering something for the right reasons and in the right way without a cost.


9. Look for the Silver Lining and the Rainbow

Apparently, many parts of the world are currently experiencing a dramatic reduction in air and water pollution due to decreased plane, auto and other travel modes. Some people are appreciative of increased leisure time as working from home eliminates time previously spent getting to and from an office. Some are experiencing decreased rental costs because of a rent freeze. Flowers and flowering trees and bushes are in abundance this year, more so than in previous years, due to the improved air, water and soil quality.

10. Be Playful

Celebrate, laugh, dance, sing, be in your joy! All this becomes possible when we accept, express and transform the emotions that weigh us down. Once we have done this rather than sweep unwanted feelings under the rug, it is possible to be in a better mood without pretending or being phony. So LIGHTEN UP in every way that you can. Be creative in coming up with innovative ways of doing so. Focus on the good and take the steps to magnetize the better yet