These last few months have been full of good things in our lives: our older daughter had our first grand baby, our youngest son graduated from high school and enrolled in college, and business is good for both the husband and I. We are constantly on the go, yet carving out time to enjoy our expanding family and get things settled for our son’s future. It’s been pretty amazing.
As life changes, we tend to re-evaluate our perspective and priorities. I’ve started saying no to certain opportunities that conflict and we’re finding more value in staying local and enjoying life at home in a new way. Being a mom for over 30 years has been so much of my life, and now that I no longer have to make daily school runs, I admit to a little floundering, a little of the ‘what now’ that I think all moms run into when their kids grow up. Luckily, my kids still need me, I have my businesses to focus on more, and the husband and I have big travel plans as well as home renovation plans.
Because there’s so much good ahead, I’m making a concerted effort to get over the things in life that drag me down. Improving your mood — it’s the new self-care. Social media is probably at the top of the list. I love it, don’t get me wrong; it buys me a lot of shoes and provides amazing opportunities for me and the family, but for personal use, I’m kind of over it. Facebook used to be fun, but now it’s frequently a pit of nasty people who use it primarily to correct others. People jump in to groups just to criticize or bash, and even if it’s not my input that inspires nastiness, seeing it directed towards others is draining.
The use of social media as a weapon seems to have increased. Offline, if I hear someone say something that I don’t agree with or that is wrong, I ignore. It’s not my business. But online? People seem to have lost their restraint. They no longer have just the right to have a different opinion, but they often feel it’s their right to tell you. Mad at someone? Holding a grudge? Ignore their stuff on Facebook while commenting on everyone else’s; that’ll show’em!
A rational adult can ignore this stuff and go on, but it’s hard sometimes when you see it ALL.THE.LIVE.LONG.DAY. I shake my head and sigh, and I remind myself again “Donna, yesterday you decided to not share anymore. You didn’t listen to yourself.”
Today begins a new chapter. I’m working on protecting my attitude, protecting my time, and protecting my focus. I can’t let the negative in life suck me in, so I’m taking charge. No more sitting on Facebook letting the negative, the small, and the petty get to me.
What we allow in our life does affect us, so I’m also avoiding the TV shows full of ridiculous political arguments, fluff and things that add nothing to my life. That morning show I used to watch is now 90% political bias, so I’m not watching it anymore.
Trimming out the media noise may be a hard habit to break, but it’s doable. Trimming out the negativity amongst people can be harder, but it’s time to cut the Debbie Downer time down, too. I’m not talking about those with legit life issues going on, but those that use their precious life time to gossip, to bash, to criticize, to talk smack….we all do it sometimes, and we all listen sometimes, but if we can’t move on from it, if it becomes a life force that drives more negative emotions, we need to figure out how to move on from it.
Improving your mood can mean cutting down time spent with some other people. As a mom, I’m incredibly proud of my kids, so I want to talk about them some. I want to talk about my business, I want to learn, I want to laugh. I sat around the fire pit last night with some dear friends playing Cards Against Humanity, laughing like crazy people. We don’t always all agree on things, but we value each other. We love each others’ kids. They all celebrated my son’s graduation with us, taking time out of their lives to congratulate him and focus on him. That is SO appreciated.
Life should be more of that: supporting each other, listening to each other, laughing about our own silly mistakes and laughing at ourselves a little, too. We brag on each other, we celebrate each others’ big days and we’re there when someone needs a listening ear. This is the kind of relationship that refuels you for the rest of your life.
Filtering out the upsetting or distracting fluff is a lot of work at times. I want to be myself. This means that, like Dale Carnegie said, I’m not out to impress people. I want to do good work, be reliable, be consistent and be helpful when I can. Being myself means purple hair even ‘at my age,’ loving Marvel movies and spending a ton of money at Disney and on Disney gear, watching movies that make me laugh or hide behind a pillow, and still looking at all the dog videos on the internet…in small doses.
In the end, this is all a version of improving your mood, aka self-care. It’s the new trendy term for all the things we’ve always done: relax with a book to wind down, get a massage to escape to a quiet room for an hour, see a doctor for that back pain, take a long bubble bath, get your nails done. Self-care is also protecting your mental health, so whatever in life drags you down, do your best to move beyond. For some of us, we have these people at our work; that’s harder to cut out, because you have to be polite and professional.
One credo in life is that I don’t reward bad behavior. This plays to adults and kids, family members or friends, co-workers and colleagues. If someone is too self-centered to acknowledge the positive in your life, or they make everything about them, including rain at your son’s graduation or the birth of your first grandchild, oust them. True story.
Life’s short. I say this ALL the time, here on the blog in real life. We can too easily lose time to the negative. And I’m saying this to myself, not just you. I need to remember that I can make the choice daily to not let the garbage get to me. I have to make the choice to move on. I won’t be provoked or manipulated or used.
So, to wrap this all up, it’s not selfish to protect your head space. Call it self-care, call it whatever you want, but don’t let the world take away your happy.
Block out the stuff that you don’t NEED in your life, so you can have room what you WANT in your life.
We don’t need constant negative news that we can’t change. We don’t need constantly negative people. We don’t need to get sucked into social media if it upsets us. We don’t need to give people the opportunity or the space to pick at us.
Once you cut out that stuff, look at all the time you have left! Instead of mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, I look for clean eating recipes on Pinterest. Instead of a morning news show that makes me hate politics, I ask Alexa to play a podcast or my favorite music. Instead of letting the same self-centered person drone about all the things in their life, I smile, nod, wish them well and go on about my day. Use the time to cultivate relationships that fuel in instead of drain you. Read that book or magazine you’ve had piled up for ages. Go take a walk, go to the gym, head out back to watch the hummingbirds.
Speaking of hummingbirds, I invested a lot of time, effort and money the last couple of years to make my backyard space a place that is relaxing, allows us to entertain, and is peaceful. Creating a hummingbird garden was new to me, but on year #2, it’s proving to be successful. The birds have now found our yard to be a haven, they are constantly buzzing around by the feeders, and I may have named a few regulars. That space is now incredibly enjoyable, and I watch them through the windows while prepping dinner or working from the kitchen on a cold day. Now that the rain is gone and the temps are improving, I plan on working out there a little more. Self-care can be as simple as changing your physical environment from one space to another.
Find what clears out your head space. Mute the extraneous noise and then compare the two versions. I guarantee that the less negative you allow in your life, the happier you will be. Improving your mood can be a game changer.