Congrats! One month down, three to go. Hopefully your Thanksgiving was a nice one.
Which brings me to my next tip. I've read plenty about how trying new experiences can improve your mood. I'm pretty certain that doing something creative can make us happier too, but I haven't found any real research on it, though I'll continue to look.
I the world of "Try Something New" for those of us who have to watch everything we eat for gluten, I thought it'd be fun to create a "Make a new food" challenge for myself. I tend to eat the same things for breakfast and lunch every day. I can shake things up a bit, especially since it's still Sunday as I write this, and can plan my meals. So, here are some things I think I'll make for for dinner with enough extra to supply my lunches this week:
Enchilada Casserole. I love enchiladas, and casseroles seem to pack for lunch easier. Haven't had that in a long time! I'm trying to resume being a vegan (I've read and heard too much lately that makes it hard for me not to be), so I'll see if I can make one I like that doesn't have animal products. So, not only is it something I don't eat often, I'll need to find or make up a new recipe.
Veggie Chili. It's getting cold. Nothing says "stay warm!" like a nice bowl of chili.
Roasted Garbanzos. Not an entree, but a nice side dish to go along side a salad, I think.
Sephardic Roasted Eggs. Like a hard boiled egg, but not at all. Another great lunch side dish. (Check it out here on the super-secret bonuses page. If you're still reading, you deserve it!)
Gosh, now I'm really hungry. Better get cooking!
I've blogged before about the mood boost you can "buy":
Still a lot of fun! Today, though, I'm suggesting a $5 purchase from Fiverr.com. Over the last 3 years, I've probably spent $50 at Fiverr but gotten 10 times the fun from it. From getting an avatar for my son to spoof lyrics to Beatles songs to New Zealand vacation-planning tips (I'll go there some day!), all kind of people offer all kinds art & services, starting at $5. This week, I'm getting an infographic with more ideas for this series, and I think I'll order a nice piece of original art to spruce up my office. Check it out! (You need to have a paypal account and they assess a $.50 charge. You also might opt to pay extra for a rush job, a more elaborate project, etc.)
There's nothing that makes me feel more powerless than watching news reports (or reading Facebook posts, etc) of acts of war and terrorism. The news industry plays on our susceptibility to keep watching. Just as we have a hard time looking away from a car crash or are drawn to suspense thriller movies that have lots of pretend violence, we keep tuning in to hear more about what has happened.
We want to do something concrete to help. We turn our Facebook profile pic into a French flag. But then we hear about all of the other horrific violence that goes unnoticed most of the time. And the we feel ambivalent about the attention we are devoting to the Paris attacks and guilty that we didn't pay more attention to the other tragedies.
What I can do is try to be a source of peace and calm in my own little world. I need to have a sense of the loss and suffering of others so that I can have and build empathy, but for my own well-being, I have to give myself permission to turn off the news and think about other things. In the realm of world terrorism, I am powerless. For the people and animals that I interact with each day, I can do my best to be an uplifter.
So, this week's way to a happier you is to give yourself permission to turn off the news. (I'm not the only one who thinks it's bad for us, btw.)
Have a peaceful week.
When I was first diagnosed with celiac disease, one trick I used to not feel all mad about the things I couldn't eat anymore was to smell them instead. We've all heard that flavor has a big component in smells anyway, right? And, I could take great satisfaction in knowing that I was not going to eat something that would make me sick. After a long time of generally feeling not-so-good, it was nice to know that I was actually conquering a health foe by abstaining. I smelled brownies at work, sniffed biegnets at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans, and inhaled heartily at the family's favorite pizzeria*.
Yesterday though, I had a twinge of regret that I couldn't sample the cookies that my sister-in-law and son made while Jenn and I went to see Spamalot. I wish I had thought to smell them! I had forgotten my old trick. But it was a good reminder to stop and smell the cookies... and fall air, and damp leaves, and veggies roasting in the oven, and a warm dog... you get the idea. So, this week, I'll bring intention to creating or finding smells that I find comforting or pleasing. My mom's pea soup, coffee in the bag, moist soil, clean sheets, smoke from a wood fire... Other ideas?
* Airborne flour can linger for up to 24 hours, so don't wander through flour-fogged bakeries for the nasal hit. I haven't read anything that says that smelling traditional baked goods can set of an autoimmune reaction, but if you worry about it or know you are sensitive, stick to non-gluten olefactory treats for your good smells.
The goal of this four month challenge is to come out the other end feeling good about ourselves, not the opposite. So, this is not a "Set a bunch of goals and beat yourself up if you fail" sort of a deal. It's supposed to be a kinder, gentler approach. So, I offer these as humble suggestions that I think will help me and maybe will help you. Each week, I'll throw out some ideas for staying "in the light." I'll try to back them up with some science, so that you don't think I'm just sitting in the living room making stuff up. All of it is created on an Intention, Attention, No Tension model. I'll decide on one or two things that I think will keep me buoyant, create some structure to possibly get there, and then not sweat it if things go off track a little. Nothing bad will happen. It'll all be fine either way.
Since the weather is still pretty good here in the mid-Atlantic, and we have that pretty tree thing going on, I'm going to set an intention to go outside during the daylight hours for even just 5 minutes or so, three or four days this week (unless it's raining.) My mini-goal is to take an artfully arranged picture of something in nature or something that strikes me as amusing. Maybe I'll Facebook it, maybe I won't. Spending time in and around the natural world has been well documented to improve all aspects of health and well-being. Sign me up, I say!