The twinkle of Christmas and holiday fun are now a memory. Things are packed away in bins for another time. And worst of all, the neighbor’s tree is sitting outside all alone. In the rain. In a puddle. It’s, well, just not quite right.
This first week of the year has already held some little delights sandwiched between more serious moments. It’s felt like a jerking roller coaster and had sad moments with sick friends, the loss of a dear lady’s son, and my own bad back chiming in. Then gorgeous sunrises and sunsets with the unusual clouds in California, the promise of new beginnings everywhere, working with a group of tweens in school helping with topic sentences and writing hooks. My favorite was the rainbow marshmallows they made up to go with hot chocolate. Then another wrench and rare tornadoes appeared on the ocean here and El Nino planted itself firmly in our little corner of the world with fierce storms.
It could almost be too much until I remember to look up, breathe, and decide to search for little corners of light on the path ahead. Here’s five quick thoughts to help in case you’re struggling with negative things lined up three feet deep ahead on the path ahead, and you want to spot a ray of hope instead.
- Plan an idea outing with friends – pick a corner of your home and go shop with friends for a new way to decorate it. Challenge yourself to buy as little as possible and re-frame and reuse things you already own. You’re shopping for the ideas more than the objects, and sometimes seeing it set up professionally helps. Not to mention the one-on-one with friends, too. A breath of fresh air.
- Tackle something annoying – look at your kitchen or a closet and pick the most exasperating corner to attack and organize. Or an improved system for laundry. Then every time you open the door or cabinet it’s like getting a little smile from yourself. It makes me feel like I’ve wrestled the frustration to the floor, pinned it down, and won a round.
- Help someone else – I’m sure someone in your family has said it, but it’s really true. Today I drove all over to get specifically requested oranges for a sick friend and left them on her doorstep. I felt like a little happy elf. Smiles even welled up. When you can’t help them directly, sometimes a gesture of kindness to someone who needs a hand will improve your outlook and give them a hug too.
- Finish a project – Eighty percent. I find I often get almost all done with a big project, but there’s some part not quite finished. Determine to check that virtual box as FINISHED. Celebrate with a cup of special coffee or tea or something fun.
- Bake with little ones or as a gift – I’m planning to make a pie with my young son, his favorite, later this week. With all the rolling of dough, and dusting of flour, there’s bound to be a nice time to visit and make a memory. Then we all can enjoy it at the end of the day, too.
Hope these tips get your creative juices flowing. What do you do to keep perspective this time of year?
Image courtesy of prozacl at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.