November was set aside for a Positive Focus, and the first week went well. The second week brought a slowdown to my progress. I doubted myself and deeply felt all the ways I need to improve and things I want to accomplish.
But in the past week, I was able to refocus. I made a point of building activities into each day that boosted my mood and energy level. It might be a good idea to make a list of activities that make you feel good that you can keep on hand to revive yourself when you feel down or stressed. Focus on things that are easy and inexpensive to do, and can be done wherever you are.
These are the six things that helped me stay positive this week:
I love taking a walk wherever I am. I took a long walk in the woods next to my house in the country. I found myself focusing on the sounds of the water in the streams and creek. The fallen leaves, the outlines of the trees. I saw birds, squirrels, a black cat wandering around.
Then on Wednesday I went to the city. This gave me so many things to see as I took daily walks around Center City Philadelphia. I love seeing trees, buildings and the immense variety of different people in the city. With a focus on being positive, somehow this mass of strangers made me feel energized and not alone.
Cooking also makes me feel good. It is relaxing, and something that offers immediate rewards. I am planning to cook for a big group for Thanksgiving, so I did a little towards that goal each day. This has made me feel good, and I was able to reflect how my cooking skills have improved through the years by daily practice.
Time With Friends
I tend to be a fairly solitary person, and I like a lot of space and time alone. It helps me feel balanced and helps me work as a writer. But I love connecting with people. Laughter is the best medicine.
Music lifts my spirits like nothing else. My number one daily strategy for mood enhancement is listening to music on my iPod. Saturday night I was also able to go hear the Philadelphia Orchestra play.
Watching Old Movies
When my schedule is lighter, I love to watch old movies. Some of the movies I watched this week ( thanks to my DVD collection and my favorite cable channel TCM): Dinner at Eight, Donovan’s Brain, What’s Up, Doc?, Bringing Up Baby, and It Happened One Night.
I decorated my house in the country for the holidays before I left for the city for a week. I put decorations up in our apartment in Philadelphia before Thanksgiving. It seemed a little early, but as the song says, I needed it. The holidays bring back memories of childhood experiences and of people who are no longer around. While that is depressing for some people, I find it a great comfort. I have been lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life, I have people who love dme now, and I am confident I will meet new friends int he future.