I have some down days every year, but mostly I don’t. I know I’m lucky. I have aligned my life to feel better. Coincidentally, a relative’s therapist told her the five things she needs every day to get out of her funk.
- Nature – I grew up outside in Iowa. As kids, we played all day with the neighbor kids outside, with few toys. Yes, I had a bike when I was ten, but before that, we would walk everywhere. We would visit the horses in the field next to the school. We would walk to the drugstore for penny candy. We’d earn our pennies doing jobs around the house.
- Exercise – I love to take classes. I take Zumba from a Japanese woman who has a good taste in music, both past and current. I try not to miss Monday, Wednesday or Friday. I also have two dogs to walk every day unless the weather is so hot, smoky or cold and rainy that I absolutely can’t do it.
- Sunshine – I used to get my fifteen minutes of sunshine onto my skin every day. Then a melanoma episode. I do miss basking in the sunshine.
- Animals – As I said before, two dogs. They’re always good for a laugh, a cuddle or company. I also feed the birds and have three feeders right outside my kitchen window.
- Healthy food – I eat only whole foods, nothing processed from a box. It’s mostly because of a bad stomach, but it’s also better for my overall health. As they say, while at the grocery store, shop the perimeter and forget the center where all the boxed food and junk food are located.
Then, if you still feel like crap, go see a doctor, who will probably prescribe a pill or two. I’m not a fan of pills, but sometimes you have to do it.
I don’t always enjoy walking my dogs, but by the time I’m done, I feel good about doing the work. The walk starts by going up a big hill, and I can gauge each day by how my body feels on that climb. Sometimes my back is wonky, sometimes it’s my right foot, sometimes I feel tired. Mostly I feel good for my 66 years on this planet. I hope I can keep the walks going for a very long time. My mother-in-law walked every day, and she made it to 97 (her mean demeanor helped, too).
I always feel better after a long hike, even if my feet hurt. It’s a good hurt, like I did my body a favor, making it work and not just sitting in a chair for hours while I stared at screens.
Opening up the curtains helps with my mood, too. If I can see a tree through a window, I’m much happier than if I’m staring into some cloth or closed blinds.
Maybe it’s from being from Iowa, but I like to see land around me. I like to do yard work. I like to pull weeds. I like sitting outside and doing a job of some kind, breathing in the air and listening to the sounds around me. Some people call it mindfulness. Some call it being present in the moment.
Writing helps, too. It’s another calming activity. Write it down and let it go.