Framing & Reframing

Framing & Reframing

Before sheltering in place began, I went to the grocery store. I wasn’t going to the store to prepare for what was coming, just to get my weekly groceries. I didn’t realize that people were already stocking up and most of the food bins were empty. I was shocked. I asked one of the workers in the store what was going on. “Should I be worried about getting food?” He told me no. Food was getting delivered normally so don’t worry. He thought that people were stocking up unnecessarily.

It is all a matter of perspective.

Depending on how we look at a situation, we can either be positive or we can be negative. From the grocer’s point of view, food was being delivered regularly so there was nothing to worry about. From the people’s point of view, food may not be available so I better stock up while I can. (I did stock up a little just to be sure.)

We can always change our perspective.

Sheltering in place began and at first, it was like a forced vacation. My daughter and I played games, finished puzzles, watched movies, baked cookies, and just had lazy days in our comfies. After three weeks, it wasn’t fun anymore and I got a little down. Depressing thoughts like, “Is this the end of the world?” flooded my head. (I know, a little dramatic!) But then it hit me. I want to turn these thoughts around.

Looking at a situation from another point of view is called reframing.

Your original perspective is how you framed a situation or problem. However, you CAN change the way you choose to see a situation by reframing it. I decided to turn my doom and gloom thoughts about the Corona Virus and sheltering in place. I made a conscious decision to see the opportunity in being forced to stay home.

The first change I made was to enjoy this time that my daughter and I had together. We had so much fun hanging out. Next, I decided to set some goals that I could accomplish in just three weeks. (I reorganized my kitchen for starters!) Finally, I changed my attitude to accept the changes that are happening in the world and not resist them.

When you shift your perspective, a bleak situation can open up amazing opportunities.

Life is not all roses, but the way we choose to see all the ups and downs we experience can determine whether we are troubled or happy along the way. We can reframe almost anything. Once I reframed sheltering in place, I decided to look for ways to work from home and still be able to help people. I met a wonderful friend and we will be offering some classes together in the near future. I am not sure our paths would have crossed in the same way without sheltering in place.

Choose something in your life that you are not happy about and see if you can reframe it with another perspective.

Maybe that annoying neighbor could be your path to grow in compassion. Maybe the weight you want to lose could be your push to take better care of yourself. There is always a more positive light waiting to be shed on your situation. Find it and reframe you thinking!

Here are a couple links to articles about the clinical use of reframing from the Very Well Mind website:  “Using Cognitive Reframing for Mental Health” written by Amy Morin, LCSW and “How to Reframe Situations so They Create Less Stress” written by Elizabeth Scott, MS.

Please share some examples of reframing in your life!

Featured photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.

Morning Walks

Morning Walks

There are many ways to start your day on the right foot. I have many rituals, so-to-speak, that I do each morning help me get ready to have a wonderful day.

One of the things that I do regularly is take a morning walk.

I must confess that I have a dog, Piper, and because I need to take her outside in the morning, it is easier to keep this morning habit. If you don’t have a dog, maybe you could meet a friend. However, what I like most about my walk is the quiet time I have with myself (and my dog, of course)!

The first thing I notice when I head outdoors is the sense of peace and calm.

It doesn’t matter if it is cold, windy, rainy, or hot. I get to be alone with my thoughts. This “alone” time is essential for me. It is where I get to show up for myself. Most of us have such busy lives that we don’t make time for quiet time. A morning walk lets you experience this peaceful time before you get too busy in other tasks.

A morning walk is a great opportunity to practice mindfulness.

Being mindful is about living in the moment you are presently experiencing. In other words, if you are walking, then you are walking with your mind on walking. It is not the time to talk on the phone or scroll emails or social media. Just be present with walking. Notice the sounds you hear like the crunching of leaves under your feet. What kind of things do you see? Or hear? The more you notice your surroundings, the more mindful you are being.

Doctors recommend a thirty minute walk every day, rain or shine.

A morning walk is a healthy habit to develop. You can make it a vigorous walk to burn extra calories or a casual walk to enjoy nature. Either way, by walking in the morning you are doing something healthy for your body.

A morning walk can also be meditative.

Many apps are available that guide you through a meditation while you are walking. You can focus on your breathing for part of the walk. This will help to clear your mind. Another way to use the walk as a meditation is to think of one thing, maybe a question, a quote, or an affirmation. Then only think about this one thing while you walk for a certain amount of time.

Here is an example of one way to take your walk.

Start with the first five minutes, noticing the sights, sounds, smells around you. Are you holding something? How do you feel? How does your body feel?

The next twenty minutes, focus on breathing and clear your head of other thoughts. When you catch yourself thinking, just release it. Say to yourself, “I don’t need to think about that right now.” To keep your attention on your breathing, you can count. Inhale – one, exhale – two, inhale – three, exhale – four, etc. up to ten. When you reach ten, start over.

If you get tired of counting, you can listen to the sound of your feet. The idea here is to keep your mind clear and stay in the present, focusing on your walk.

The last five minutes, notice your surroundings again. How do you feel? What are your senses telling you? Enjoy this calm and quiet.

Walking in the morning does not have to be complicated.

There are no rules for taking a morning walk. You do not have to DO anything. Just walk. Just breath. Just enjoy the time.

Featured photo by Adrien Tutin on Unsplash.

Today’s Focus

Today’s Focus

There are days that I am not organized enough to know what to do first. Some days are overwhelming because I have so much to do. Other days I am distracted and put my priorities to the side for someone else. Ugh! It is hard to have a productive day, day after day after day.

So, when those troublesome times appear, I have had to come up with a strategy to make the most out of a challenging day.

I love being home and working from home.

I love the opportunity to mingle work with personal appointments and get up early or stay up late to meet a deadline. For me, I am at my most productive self when I am working at home. But there is a drawback. It is sometimes easy to push a task to the next day or even week. There is always tomorrow.

It is easy to procrastinate, and that bad habit is hard to break.

If something doesn’t get done today, I can do it tomorrow. Without a boss to tell me it has to be done by five o’clock, it is difficult to push off that last minute invitation for lunch. I found myself getting further and further behind where I wanted to be.

I started to get behind on my goals.

I had to have a sit down with myself and reexamine why I wanted to build this business. I had to rediscover my passion and start saying no to going out for lunch. With my tasks piling up, I had to figure out how I was going to catch up on the work I procrastinated to do.

My solution was to make an all-encompassing to-do list.

I love a to-do list! I went through all my piles of papers, notes, email and bills. I organized the piles into categories and then wrote down each task on my to-do list. It was long. The next day, I woke up excited to get working but I no longer felt ambitious.

My motivation died because I felt overwhelmed.

My to-do list was just too long and instead of feeling excited, I felt discouraged. I was overwhelmed. That day turned out to be unproductive. The next morning, I woke up with the same feeling, but instead of doing nothing, I decided to focus on just one thing. It worked because that “one thing” motivated me to do the next thing, and the next, and the next. I had a very productive day and my mojo was coming back.

I continued to focus on one thing each day for the rest of the week.

Some days are so much more productive than other days. Some tasks just take more time. But at the end of the day, that “one thing” gets done. And that is very motivating.

I am calling this my “today’s focus” task.

Today’s focus was to write this blog. I will probably get more done before the day is over, but I know my main focus is complete. Not every day needs a push; most days are fine, and I follow my work schedule. But on the days when I feel overwhelmed, I decide what my focus will be for that day and I get it done. Anything more is just the gravy on top.

When you are feeling overwhelmed, instead of shutting down and doing nothing. Try to focus on just one thing. At the end of the day, you will feel good that at the very least, you accomplished your task.

Featured photo by Drew Graham on Unsplash.