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Think small to change your life

There are lots of BIG things happening in our country. We've endured almost one year in a pandemic that's killed more than 350,000 people, we went through a terribly heated election in November, and we're facing the ramifications of a large part of our population not willing to give up. I'm looking at you, U.S. Capitol attackers.

We've had big lift shifts, from job loss to isolation to disconnection, and we keep trying to define a "new normal" that seems to be a moving target. So much is out of our control.

We need to let go of the big picture for a moment before we all go insane. By turning our gaze back to our homes, communities, and families, we can see where we can make a difference. These small actions can bring you a sense of peace, and reconnect you to your optimism.

  1. Take a breath. Literally. Stop what you're doing (reading this magnificent blog), close your eyes, and take five slow breaths. Let every exhale relax your body. Maybe unclench your jaw, relax the tops of the shoulders or soften the belly. Take a least five breaths but continue as long as you'd like.

  2. Do something fun that doesn't take a lot of effort. If you're at work, take a few minutes to talk with a co-worker. If you're at home, get off the computer or TV and walk outside. Bake cookies. Read a book. Sing along with Spotify. Write someone a thank you note. Craft a poem. Take a picture. Be creative. Ideas are endless.

  3. Try something new. Our minds need stimulation (which explains the year-long Netflix binge) so learn an easy skill. This is not the time to take up Latin, but you could learn to knit, paint, draw, do sudoku, make homemade pasta, or learn card tricks. YouTube is full of tutorials to discover! The only rule is it has to be fun and easy.

  4. Rest. Scrolling through social media isn't restful. Neither is folding clothes or playing Monopoly for the 152nd time. Rest means you set aside a specific time to 1) Stop, 2) Have a warm beverage (or glass of wine), 3) Read an enjoyable book or magazine, pet your dog, journal, meditate, or just stare out the window, and 4) Feel yourself being alive. Stay here as long as possible.

The big picture gets overwhelming, especially when we're engulfed in it all day long. Practice these four exercises for the next few weeks and see if you feel a little lighter. Let me know how it goes!

Peri Kinder is the owner of Life & Laughter Coaching. She's a happiness coach, yoga and meditation instructor, and award-winning freelance writer.

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