Today is the first day of Autumn. It conjures images of leaves turning orange, yellow, and deep red. We also think of the spicy aroma of freshly baked pumpkin pies, and outings with friends and family to the local pick-your-own apple orchard.
It’s also a reminder that we’re rounding the final curve before heading into the home stretch of 2014. It’s a good idea to think about your plans for the final quarter of the year; it’ll be here in a week.
Your homework today is to begin thinking about your plan for the last quarter of the year. What items are still on your To Do list for 2014 that you’d really like to cross off before the end of the year? Can you break them down into tiny pieces and work on those?
Sometimes projects on our To Do lists are more involved than anticipated so perhaps you won’t be able to cross them off your list by the end of the year. But, making progress on them can still be satisfying and still motivate you to stick with it in the upcoming year.
As you plan, remember to include outings with friends and family, quiet contemplation time, and rest and relaxation.
Vanessa, in her post last week (click here to be taken to it ), talked about looking at your finances from a little different angle, perhaps even backward.
The word “backward” got me thinking….
When challenges and obstacles come along, our natural tendency is to pull back, hunker down for the long haul, and hide or run away. But what if we think of that backward? Instead of cutting back, hiding, or running away, what if instead we stand tall, walk purposefully toward it, and look for ways to expand in spite of the situation….
Instead of stepping back and giving ground to the problem, what if we draw a deep, thick line then square our shoulders and say “Nevermore. Nevermore will you push me around.”
Your homework today is to take the opposite—the backward—approach to your challenges, obstacles, and setbacks.
Here are Pep Phrases for you:
I am stronger than this issue;
I’m bigger and better than this situation;
I can do this, I know I can;
Yes I can!
I have the intelligence, creativity, and insight needed to solve this problem;
I am the right size, the right shape, the right age, the right look; I am the right type of right that’s needed for me to achieve my dreams.
The S till Small Voice is right about me: I have what it takes, I’ve been chosen, approved, and anointed to achieve my dreams;
I can do it!
Yes I can!
You can do this, I am positively sure you can! I believe in you!
I’m proud of you!
Your Friend and Pep Pal,
PS: Remember to stand in front of your mirror with a big smile as you repeat the Pep Phrases to yourself. And have your favorites handy so you can refer to them throughout the day.
As you are working toward your dreams, an important step is to get the sleep you need.
From time-to-time we all think we can squeeze out some extra hours in the day if we skimp on our sleep. Usually, this thought pops up if we’ve hit a snag in our plans. We think that staying up just a little bit later will give us the extra time we need and we tell ourselves that it won’t affect us at all….
But this isn’t true.
Studies have shown that people skimping on their sleep just a little bit—getting six hours of sleep versus the recommended seven to eight hours each night—show a decrease in cognitive abilities. People experience shorter attention spans, less ability with working memory (example: not remembering what someone told you just a few minutes ago, losing your train of thought, etc.). Also, people are less able to handle frustrations and are less likely to be creative and have insights. And, as we all know, less sleep makes people plain old cranky!
Researchers found something of particular concern, though, and that was people who operate under a sleep debt think that they’re operating at top performance levels when in fact they are making more mistakes that usual!
Studies have shown that people who get enough sleep—including rest and relaxation—are much more productive and they’re more able to sustain high levels of productivity. They tend to be more effective because their attention spans are longer which helps them sustain high levels of concentration. This enables them to have insights, be more creative and innovative.
And, people who are rested are generally happy and much more pleasant to be around! 😀
Your homework today is to rest and relax—and sleep!
Prepare for bed earlier in the evening. Set a bedtime for yourself that will ensure you get a minimum of seven hours of sleep—of course adjusting for your body’s needs (some healthy adults need nine hours of sleep each night for optimum effectiveness during the day).
Also, plan breaks for resting during your day. Even five minutes can be refreshing and help you press the reset button on your day.
Make it a priority to get enough sleep each night and then watch your productivity and mood soar!
I was watching Les Stroud in Survivorman this past weekend. In this particular episode, he had just been dropped off in the thick woods of Northern Canada in the autumn.
He said the most important thing people can do when they find themselves in a survival situation is to just do something—anything. He said that even making a bad decision or going the wrong way is much better than just sitting and doing nothing. He explained that making decisions and taking action helps bolster your will to survive and your will to live.
This is true in life as well. When we’re faced with difficulties, if we stop too long—spend too much time having a pity party—we allow ourselves to become stuck. The next thing we know, discouragement gets a foothold and soon we lose all hope.
When we take action, though, it bolsters our confidence. Taking action helps us feel more hopeful, that soon things will break in our favor. And that’s the perfect attitude to have to help you work through challenges!
Your homework today is to keep moving forward. Keep taking the next step and the one after that and the one after that, and so on.
If you find that you’re unsure about what to do—instead of barreling ahead, and certainly instead of stopping and getting stuck—take smaller steps.
Go a little slower.
This way, if you find you’ve made an incorrect choice, you won’t be that far off course and can easily get back on track.
We’re heading into the last full weekend of summer. As the seasons change, naturally we look back at how far we’ve come and then we look to where we’re headed next.
This week we did a lot of good work, especially taking a tough stand against panic and anxiety. We learned how to push forward in spite of their seemingly immense pressure causing us to want to hide or run away.
This is so incredibly awesome! It was hard and scary work but you did it! You hung in there! You pushed back and you won! You rock the house down! Yay you!
Here’s a Pep Rally for you:
You did it! Go you!
I knew you would do it!
You rock!! Yay you!!
I knew you had the grit and the strength in you to do this!
You’re smart and you’re tough and you figured it out and you did it!
You are fantastic!
Your homework today is to use the strength and energy from your forward movement to help you plan your upcoming week. Remember to keep the plans realistic and filled with easily doable steps. This will help keep the momentum going and keep your enthusiasm high.
The next part of your homework—and the best!—is to CELEBRATE! You are doing so well! The work you accomplished this week was important and it’s fantastic that you faced it and did it. Yahoo!! WooHoo!! Yay you!!
Acknowledge what you did this week by treating yourself to a favorite activity or another favorite treat. Invite family and friends to celebrate with you. You deserve every bit of the celebration! Go you!
Yesterday we talked a little bit about how to keep your thoughts from spiraling out of control (click here for that post). Today, let’s talk about moving forward in spite of our anxieties and feelings of panic.
Here’s a template to follow:
Keep near you your list of things to do to calm yourself. You’ll be referring to this often so it really does need to be right there.
Take a close look at your situation with realistic eyes and list the things you know you need to do that will help you get through it. You’ll probably need to break this step down into tiny steps because looking at your situation with clear eyes can be scary.
For instance, the first step can be getting out a piece of paper and a pencil so you can write everything down. Then you may need a short break, a few minutes long, of saying a few Pep Phrases such as I can do this and I have what it takes and I am capable and competent and I’ve been in tough spots before and have come through well and I can do it again. Feel free to use your own. They’ll have more power because you’ve customized them to you. It’ll add a pop of energy to these phrases if you have a mirror handy and say them to yourself and have a smile on your face as you do so.
The next step could be setting a timer for 5 minutes—1 minute is fine, too, if that’s what you can handle (and it’s just fine to do things in 1 minute increments. It’ll take you a little longer, but you’ll still get to where you want to go. And the point is that moving forward for 1 minute is still moving forward! WooHoo! Yay you! You can do it! Go for it! You’re awesome!). For 5 minutes, or 1 minute, write down everything that comes to mind regarding your situation.
Then take another calming break of a few minutes for more Pep Phrases or Power Words. Here are a few Power Words that might help: vibrant, sizzle, zest, zip; strong, powerful, strapping; potent, mighty, dynamic; smart, brilliant, ingenious, inventive. Be sure to get out your Thesaurus and add words that are meaningful to you!
Alternate between these two activities, writing down steps then taking calming breaks, until you have your list completed.
Sometimes, making the list can be very overwhelming so you may have to spread the sessions over several days. This is okay and it’s normal so don’t get upset or discouraged if you find you have to do this. As long as you don’t give up or quit or throw in the towel, you will complete this list-making process!
Now you get to celebrate! Making your list of what you need to do to make your way through this situation is an AWESOME thing! You’ve taken the first several steps in solving this situation! WooHoo! Yay you! You’re magnificent!
Please note that you’ve created momentum with making your list and you don’t want to dissipate and fritter away the energy. So, set a reasonable time limit for your celebration and then get back to your list.
Take a look at the items you’ve written down and arrange them in order of priority—listing the most important things first. Do you need to take a calming break after doing this? Perhaps taking a moment and gazing out your window at Nature can help.
Choose your top priority item. Most likely, it’s too big of a step to complete all at once. So, set your timer and, in however many timing increments it takes, break this item into “microscopic” bits—bits that you know for sure are easy and doable. Take calming breaks as needed. Remember that music can be very calming and uplifting!
When you finish, you get to celebrate again! WooHoo! You rock! You’re fantastic! Go you!
Your homework today is to complete one of the bits that you just identified as easy and doable. Have your list of calming activities handy and use as needed. Take it one little increment at a time. Go you!
You can do it, I know you can!
I am so very proud of you. This was hard—and scary—work, and you did it! You stood tall against your anxiety and panic. You moved forward even though you were nervous or worried. You are so absolutely AWESOME!! I’m incredibly proud of you, and I hope you’re super-proud of yourself! You done good!!
Your Friend and Pep Pal,
PS Remember to celebrate the bit of a step that you just took. You’re OUTSTANDING!
It’s easy to say that we need to take control of ourselves and calm down, but it can be very hard to actually do it. So, what can we do to make it a little easier?
Grounding ourselves in the here and now and reminding ourselves that right at this moment we are okay, can go a long way toward establishing a sense of calm in our lives.
Here is a list of a few things that I’ve found helpful and effective:
►This is when routines and habits can be very comforting; they give me a feeling of control in a situation that may be chaotic. Routines such as waking up and going to bed at my usual times, running usual errands on the customary days, making myself a cup of coffee or tea the first thing in the morning, etc.;
►Performing mundane yet essential tasks. Doing the laundry, ironing, cleaning out the garage, mowing the lawn and the like, gives me a sense that my day is stable and normal—a feeling that all is right with the world;
►When I’m feeling anxious or panicky, I make some of my favorite comfort meals such as macaroni and cheese, chicken soup, and hotdogs;
►Sometimes when I’m feeling off kilter, I’ll also feel cold. I make sure I’m warm enough—I’ve been known to sit with a heating pad on my back or wrapped around my feet, even in the summer!
►Surround myself with uplifting people (my very close friends and family as well as biographies of people I admire) and uplifting things (Power Phrases and Pep Words, music, CDs and websites of inspirational and motivational messages).
►Re-connect with Nature and its beauty that’s all around me each day. Often I’ll sit on my deck and watch the clouds float across the sky and the trees swaying in the breeze. I’ll also close my eyes and listen to the sounds around me: birds, crickets, cars traveling on a nearby road.
►Narrow my focus to this moment. I don’t think too far ahead or look too far down the path. It’s too much, too overwhelming. I don’t have the answers for the future but I can figure out an answer for this moment. And, when the next moment arrives, I’ll figure out an answer for that moment.
Your homework today is to make a list of things that calm you, that make you feel stable, and that give you a sense of hopefulness and control. Keep the list handy and turn to it as often as you need to.