Finding Happiness & Fulfillment During Stressful Times

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I don’t know about you, but lately I wake up feeling like I am in a rut.  Once I get going, I’m usually pretty good throughout the day.  But those first minutes of the morning, I feel like the guy from the old Dunkin’ Donuts commercial…”Time to make the donuts”.   Then I beat myself up about feeling that way because in the grand scheme of things in 2020, I am so lucky.   I have my health, my family, a job I enjoy, and the flexibility and support to try a bunch of new things in my career that I never pictured for myself.  But after the initial adrenaline rush when the pandemic began, I feel like I am starting the same loop every morning.

I recently took a break from life (specifically work and screen time) to refresh and I was going back through some old articles I had flagged.  I found this post from The Mind Unleashed  and while not all 11 suggestions are my style, some really resonated and I thought I would share how I am trying to focus more on happiness and fulfillment each morning to help start my day with more energy!

Find a place of Flow.  I realized I was starting my day with the same routine I used to do when I commuted to the office – very task oriented, and not taking the time to enjoy my morning.  Taking 20 minutes to do something for me when I wake up…then going upstairs to start the work day puts my mind in a different place. I try to do something different every day so it also doesn’t become routine.  Some things I found enjoyable to start my day: Yoga, sitting and reading while eating breakfast, playing with the furry babies, even just opening the curtains to let the sun in.  If I do hit the snooze button or have an early meeting, I make sure to at least listen to some music to start my day with a full soul!

Surround yourself with Supporting People.  I gain energy from other people.  So being at home all the time has been a big adjustment for me.  In the office, my desk used to be near our communal kitchen.  I would purposely get in early so I could get some stuff done before others showed up….that way I could spend time chatting with people as they stopped in the kitchen to get their morning coffee or tea.  So now I try to start my morning with some quick text messages to those I love in my personal life and some folks on the team to feel a connection to others at the beginning of my day.  They may not respond for hours, but when they do, we have a great chat and I am reminded how lucky I am to have a great team and so many people in my life that love and support me on this rollercoaster of life.

Practice Forgiveness / Practice Gratitude.  I actually need to practice forgiveness with myself.  As much as I try, I am not, nor will ever be, perfect.  I don’t have a perfect life, but I have a life that is perfect for me.  And in a world where often social media creates a false reality of people’s lives, I struggle with comparing myself with others.  So and so’s book is doing better on Amazon than mine.  So and so is safely finding ways to get away right now to a cabin in the woods or the beach.  So and so is making these amazing dinners.  You get the point.  So instead of comparing myself to others, or feeling bad about myself because I slept in instead of working on a project or hanging out at home instead of fighting traffic to get to a walking trail upstate, I need to realize that is what I needed to do for me at that moment.  And then be thankful that I have the flexibility to listen to my body and sleep in or be thankful that we live near a beautiful park and can go there every day.  Recognize what I have and not beat myself up for what I don’t (or what I think I don’t) have.

Try New Things.  As the pandemic hit and temperatures were rising outside, I was trying to think of new ways to focus on my health.  Healthy eating is one thing, and we work hard at it in our house, not allowing any temptations to even come through the door (or just single serve so it’s gone fast!).  But I was concerned about my exercise routine.  I find a million reasons why I need to skip a workout.  I was concerned that lack of activity outside of the home meant that my health was going to decline fast.  So I got out of my comfort zone and got a Peloton.  I started the online classes before the bike arrived (10 weeks later!) so I could get into a routine and get used to their style.  And I love all of it!!!  I am noticing the difference in how I look and feel (which is a big motivator for me) and I have built it into my daily routine.  I even asked my partner to help me stay with it (no excuses, he even offers to help with something that is distracting me so I can get on the bike).  I’m now at the point where I miss it if I have to legitimately skip a day.
What are you doing so you don’t feel like you are in a continuous loop?  Whether it is one of the eleven suggestions in The Mind Unleashed  article or other ideas, take the time to identify things that will help you find happiness and fulfillment during these stressful times.  It’s the best gift you can give yourself.