Showing posts with label daily life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label daily life. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Daily Bucket List

by Gilda Evans

Lately, there have been several people I know who have lost loved ones - a friend or family member whom they cared about deeply. When this happens, it often causes one to reflect upon one's own mortality. It gives your perspective a reality check, underscoring the things that are truly important in life. And it makes you think about your own "bucket list"...all those things we want to accomplish before we leave this earthly plane.

I then realized that there are things we all could be doing each day to help us cope with the challenges we constantly face that will help us generally in life, and particularly with the ability to concentrate on the things we want to do - like our writing!

So, with that in mind, I'd like to offer a list of things that I feel everyone can utilize to achieve a happier, calmer state of mind in spite of the stress of everyday living that so many of us are going through nowadays for one reason or another. It is comprised of those things that we can all do every day, to help keep things on an even keel. And the beauty of it is, none of them requires any money or a large amount of time.

Ready? Here we go -

1. Hug someone you love at least once a day. If there's isn't anyone around who fits the bill, then give yourself a hug or a solid pat on the back - just because.

2. Take a moment to smell the flowers. I'm being literal here. Go outside, find the nearest rosebush or something similar, and take a good, long whiff. If there isn't a sweet smelling plant around, then just enjoy the fresh air and sunshine for a few moments. In other words, stop what you're doing and just be. No radio, tv, phone calls - just you and nature. Let your mind be the noisiest thing around for once.

3. Stop procrastinating about that diet you want to start or the exercise you've been meaning to do. Start taking care of your body so it can take care of you, It's never too late. Never. You don't have to belong to a gym. Even a morning walk can do wonders.

4. Enjoy the peace of surrender. By that I mean, once you've done everything you need to do, or can do regarding whatever it is that you're trying to accomplish, then let it go. Whatever happens is going to happen, and you'll deal with it. One of my new favorite sayings is, "People have trouble being happy because they see the past as better than it was, the present as worse than it is, and the future as less resolved than it will be."

5. Don't overload your brain. You know what you have to do. You've got it all written down in your calendar or task list or whatever. Concentrate on one or two things at a time. Then go on to the next thing. You will function and feel much better as a result.

6. Ask for help if you need it. Whatever kind of help it is that you require, chances are you know someone who is willing to lend a hand if you ask. Put your ego aside and ask for that loan or lift in the car or advice or whatever it is you are lacking. Learn to delegate. Learn to accept assistance. You'd be surprised how many people, even the ones you least expect, are willing to help if you give them the chance.

All of these things combined are great stress relievers and very powerful ingredients for getting your life back on track and your energy going in the right direction.

Think I'm being silly?

Then I offer you this challenge - try what I suggest for one week. Just one. And see what happens. If I'm wrong, let me know - and if I'm right, you will most definitely know! You will also find that if you keep all of these things in mind, then the other items on that bucket list of yours - the trip around the world, the skydiving, climbing Half Dome at Yosemite National Park or whatever it is that trips your trigger, will come much more easily as well.

I wish you luck and have fun checking off those items on your list!

Gilda Evans, Author/Speaker/Blogger



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Finding Balance in Daily Life

by Dallas Woodburn

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about balance. One of my favorite quotes {which I might have shared on here before, I can’t remember} is from the late, great coach and teacher John Wooden. He said the two most important words in the English language are “love” and “balance.” I think that is so true, and yet balance can be really difficult to achieve. Especially in the fast-paced, multi-tasking-obsessed, constant-communication world we live in these days. It’s so easy to get sucked into the void of doing, doing, doing; more, more, more; faster, faster, faster.

Balance is something I am continually striving for. My work ethic is a quality I am really proud about, yet this is something that can easily slide off-balance. When that happens, I become a stressed-out, perfectionist workaholic. That is not who I want to be or how I want to spend my time!

So I’ve been taking some time each day to focus on balance. Find my center. Close my eyes, take a few deep breaths, and think of all the things I love about my life. I think about who I want to become. The hard work I plan to put in, the goals I want to accomplish–but also the fun things I wish to do, too. The places I want to travel. The fun books I want to read and movies I want to see and concerts I want to go to. The random treasures I want to take advantage of in everyday life: the awesome pinball arcade Mike & I stumbled upon, the nature trail along the river, the plethora of local restaurants we want to try out.

I’ve started to think about balance as a day-by-day thing, something I am working towards each and every day. For me, a good day does mean putting in two or three or four solid hours of work on my thesis draft. But it also means other things, too: relaxing with my sweetie on the couch watching an episode of The Wire; letting my mind wander while I try out a new dish in the kitchen; going for a long walk around the neighborhood; catching up with my family or friends on the phone; laughing till my stomach hurts over a hilarious video on YouTube; making my way through the stack of good books on my bedside table; and on, and on. A truly good day, to me, means a balanced day. I have discovered that I feel the most fulfilled and joyful and content when my life is balanced.

I saw this cartoon in a recent issue in The New Yorker and I wanted to share it here because it seems super appropriate not just to the theme of this blog, but also to the idea of balance. {Many thanks to my boyfriend Mike for helping me when the scanners at school tried to thwart my efforts!}

This cartoon made me smile, but it also gave me pause. I started my new organization blog because I wanted to become more organized in my daily life, while also saving money and time. But I never want organization to become a source of stress, or to feel pressure for perfection. My life and my apartment have become a little more organized in the past few months. I’m making progress. I’m trying new things and cooking more meals at home and flexing my newly developed decorating muscles. But my life will never be perfectly organized. I will never be that woman in the cartoon.

And I think that’s a good thing.

I’m not striving for perfection. I’m striving for balance. To me, love + balance = happiness.

What’s your happiness equation? How do you find balance in your busy life?

Dallas Woodburn is the author of two award-winning collections of short stories and editor of Dancing With The Pen: a collection of today's best youth writing. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three years in a row and her nonfiction has appeared in a variety of national publications including Family Circle, Writer's Digest, The Writer, and The Los Angeles Times. She is the founder of Write On! For Literacy and Write On! Books Youth Publishing Company and is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Fiction Writing at Purdue University, where she teaches undergraduate writing courses and serves as Fiction Editor of Sycamore Review. Many of her short stories are compiled online here.

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