Stuff I know – & it ain’t much

Stuff I know…
It’s tween-week: you know, the week between Christmas & New Year. If you’re anything like me, there’s work to be done, family to gather & entertain, chores to tend to, NewYear plans to make, food to be consumed & the list goes on. But I’m thinking, what would be the BEST thing to do in this ‘middle’ time; you know, the most beneficial, the most productive?
Here’s my top three:
1. Because we’re in Australia and its summer, I’d suggest GET OUTDOORS. That is, spend intentional time outside. Make a point to get out into the garden, onto the beach, beside a river, in the bush, explore a national park or simply head into the backyard. Somewhere open & free. Somewhere unstructural – if that’s a word (& if it isn’t, it should be).
Run around the backyard with the kids. It’s cricket season – why not create a fun backyard cricket match? Or kick a soccer ball around? We love throwing a frisbee. Get a decent one and there’s guaranteed hours of fun (until a tall tree branch claims it, or it joins the assortment of balls in various stages of decay stuck on the roof of my daughter’s house).
And there has to be at least one barbecue shared in the backyard on a balmy evening where the Christmas beetles are humming around, prepared to tangle themselves in your hair. In fact, there are many studies continuously revealing higher stress and anxiety levels & psychological issues in those who DON’T experience outdoors. And that’s ‘real’ outdoors: sitting in a cement courtyard jammed between buildings scoffing down fast food won’t cut it. Get somewhere green!
I distinctly remember the power of ‘green’ during my breakdown some years back. I sat a chair at a double window that overlooked a luscious, healthy garden, strategically placed for the days I couldn’t bring myself to head out into open spaces. I would sit for hours gazing into that vibrant, life-sustaining garden, watching buzzing insects and glorious butterflies, seeing colourful flowers unfold & tiny new leaves grow. It was a major part of my healing process.
Green is good.
What did Jim Henson’s muppet Kermit the frog say? ‘I am green, & it’ll do fine. It’s beautiful, & I think it’s what I want to be.’

2. And READ.
Not some business material or autobiography or study. Grab a great novel & get lost in it. Release your mind into relaxing. I’m in the habit of reading. It’s how I learn, it’s where I pick up inspirational tips, it’s how I gain world knowledge or marketing strategies or catch up on business blurb. But it’s also one of my favourite fall-backs when I need downtime. So passionate is my love of literature, that I formed a Bookclub five years back & never tire of the challenge of reading an author I may not have heard of or read otherwise.

If you’re prone to be on the serious side, read something that’ll make you laugh. Laughter is proven great therapy. Laughter can fix just about anything: or at least get your mind away from world woes for a while!
3. Bear with me, this may sound like a chore, but it will bring your greatest rewards. Sit down with a pen & paper, or your mobile phone or iPad & think back over your year as it draws to a close. WRITE DOWN YOUR SUCCESSES AND HIGHS.
Again, scientific studies have proven the benefits of such a task (there’s a study for just about everything these days. I mean, it SHOULD be common sense that focusing on good things would be good for us, but apparently we have to have it ‘proven’ to believe it.) So, believe away, my friend… Expressing gratitude, listing ‘wins’, appreciating highlights, adding up reasons for joy – however you like to put it – all create positive energy, happy vibes & momentum for the year ahead. Once you begin, you’ll amaze yourself how many little (& big) reasons you have to propel yourself into an awesome 2016.
Just like that old, old children’s song advises, ‘count your blessings, name them one by one, & it will surprise you what the Lord has done.’


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