I fell in love and followed my dream, so naturally my ‘happily ever after’ kinda kicks in whenever life begins to kick my ass, right? Wrong. My energy is affected by negativity regardless of where I am in the world.
Understanding yourself and what makes you happy is a never-ending process and there’s no short cut, solution or ending. You have to continuously do your work.
I have always prided myself on being in control of my happiness, but I think some wires were crossed once I got married. You know, happiness is a necessary component, but also a constant work in progress, so since you’re here all the time, you should kind of pitch in, right? (smile)
I never wanted Jarrell to be my happiness, but I did find him to be a convenient dumping ground for any unhappiness I felt. That’s not fair, or healthy, and I’m not proud of it. But it’s true.
It’s not who I wanted to be, so when I felt my latest fit of stress-fueled negative energy taking over, I decided to do something about it, and fight for my happy. Full disclosure, I’m a compulsive type of person. If I want to lose weight, I need 18 fitness outfits, 24-sports bras, 4 pairs of coordinating running shoes, and new water bottles, despite having a cabinet full.
So please understand that I am fully aware that I went into over-drive, and because of that I honestly cannot be sure what did the trick. So here’s my complete energy-altering recipe, and I hope it can help readjust your energy if you too are experiencing a down moment, or feeling as I like to call it, “blah”.
- Location Change
Now, this is about as drastic as you can get. While I understand everyone cannot up and move to a different location, you can spend more time in areas that bring you greater joy. Maybe it’s as simple as sitting in the park or your own backyard.
For me it was Silk Island, Cambodia. After 7-months in urban environments, I was burnt out and needed a change. I needed palm trees and sunlight not obstructed by skyscrapers. I craved a peaceful setting, and have completely found it here. If only they made tropical islands without mosquitos, but we’re focusing on the positivity, so disregard that. (smile)
- Writing (Or Your Creative Hobby)
This week I’ve written more, on and off my blog, than I had in the previous month. Well, that’s not true. I had written some very aggressive entries in my journal about how frustrated I was, but those don’t count.
I’d had so much pent up negativity that my creativity couldn’t even find a way out. Creating freely is especially important if you create for a living. When you make money from your art, it can suck the joy out of it. So I’ve gotten back to writing short stories and just getting my thoughts out, rather than drafting what you need to know to spend two months in Tokyo. (I’m still going to publish about our travels, just later)
- Vitamin D
I instantly booked our 30-day retreat in Cambodia after seeing the 2-sets of French doors and 4 huge windows in the apartment. Even when I’m inside, I open all the curtains, and let the sunlight in. Even better, I’ve moved my office outdoors, finding a spot in a hammock everyday to answer emails and write my life away, with a view of the Mekong River. Spending more time outside makes me feel more energized, while paying more attention to the simple things.
- Drinking (More) Water
Simple fix, but my goodness does it do a mind (and body) well. I even bought a huge water bottle at the market in our Cambodian village yesterday. Jarrell keeps teasing me saying I’m preparing for a track meet, but guess who’s rejuvenated from going through ice cold water like an athlete? (raises hand)
- Diet Overhaul
Now, I’m not here to judge eating habits, because I am not strict in anything. But I will tell you that I was eating way too much fried food during my “blah” time. So I’ve drastically changed what I eat to alter my energy. I’ve cut out all chicken, pork, and beef, choosing instead to eat a seafood diet for a month. We’re living in a fishing village, so fresh fish is easy to come by, and Silk Island happens to produce the fruits and veggies for Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. So we’ve been eating plenty of mangoes, pineapples, watermelon, dragon fruits, and more.
- Social Media Unplug
This is very different for me, because being online is directly related to my businesses, so it was easy for me to justify my social media addiction. I’d start by posting a travel picture, and the next thing you know I was on the Facebook page of my best friend from 3rd grade. Not to mention the celebrity gossip I was keeping up with. I really don’t need to know who’s dating who, or reading Twitter beefs. I don’t. I was checking social media as soon as I woke up and scrolling until I fell asleep. Ugh. So, yeah, that’s been a good adjustment.
Daydreaming is a lost art that gets a bad rep. Instead of checking social media every morning, I’ve taken the first hour to just daydream. I partly focus on what I want to do for the day, but mostly just fantastical daydreams of whatever comes to mind. Overscheduling my day and placing such a strict definition on productivity was making me a really dull and unhappy person. Daydreaming is chill and so fun! Seriously, try it if you haven’t lately. I think it’s directly connected to youthfulness and maybe even childhood, so you’re welcome for that recommendation.
- Sleeping More
Speaking of my waking up routine, I should address how much more I’ve been sleeping. I was having a really difficult time falling asleep before we came to Cambodia, partly because I was stressed and more because I was just blah. So, I’ve started to live by sunlight, I wake up when the sunrises, at around 6 AM, and go to bed soon after sunset, usually around 8 PM. Do the math, I’m getting about 10-hours of sleep. And it feels amazing to wake up happily at the butt crack of dawn. Without a nap, I’m actually exhausted by 8 PM, so there’s really no effort needed to wake and sleep so early.
- Trading Television for Books
Because Jarrell is turning 64-years old soon, he does require an hour of CNN daily, so we sneak that in while I’m cooking dinner, and read throughout the day. I’ve read all about the horrible Cambodian Holocaust, and started a new book I’ve been hoarding on Kindle. We use the Overdrive App to digitally checkout books from our local library in Ohio, and Jarrell is a complete reading buff (because, you know, he’s 83-years old), so I have plenty to choose from. Email me if you need some recommendations.
I saved this one for last because I’m still working it into the routine. (smile) I’ve been doing sit ups before bed and as soon as I wake up, but I haven’t yet taken on the morning run I’ve been romanticizing since our arrival. But, with my track meet water bottle, it’s only a matter of time before I work up the courage to get trekking, right?
I guess I just wanted to write about my changes, because I don’t want you to think that I’ve got it all figured out and traveling the world fulfills me everyday. Nope. I still get down and feel very blah. I just choose to do something (or 10 somethings) about it to get back in my positive, happy space. What do you do to get yourself out a funk?