A couple of years ago, I visited my friend, Dawn. in Georgia. We were out early in the morning, taking a walk around her lovely neighborhood. We were working up a good sweat when the sky opened up and started to pour. We were immediately drenched, and she asked me if I wanted to run back to the house. I said, "I'm fine walking in the cool rain. It feels refreshing." She agreed, and we continued our stroll, laughing and talking. It's a wonderful memory, and it makes me aware that our attitude about events reflects on our mindset at the time.
I know this would be a different story if Dawn and I were dressed up, makeup done, and in our high heels. We may laugh later at the mess we ended up being but indeed would be distressed at the moment. I know getting caught in the rain by myself wouldn't be as much fun, either. If I were feeling down, the rain would be perceived as cold and miserable instead of silly and exciting.
It's the same with sunny days. We can feel energized and happy or hot and sticky. It all depends on our state of mind. Before we blame the weather, we should check in with ourselves. Have we been stuck inside the last few days? Are we overwhelmed with all that has to be done before dinner? When was the last time you met up with a friend? The answers may surprise you because you hadn't bothered asking the questions.
It's easy to get lost in working and caring for others. It can make you feel selfish taking a moment for yourself when there isn't enough time. We'll always put our needs on the back burner, but eventually, it catches up to us. Instead of feeling accomplished, we feel resentment instead. We often believe our work goes unnoticed or unappreciated, and we wonder why we're not doing more for ourselves.
Self-awareness happens when we take a moment to take stock of what's coloring our perception. For example, we can look outside at the storm clouds as doom and gloom or be amazed at the electricity running through the sky. (Quick note, don't wander out if it's an electrical storm. I don't want to be the one responsible for your choices.)
Our inner dialogue needs to be heard as we go throughout the day. Taking a few long deep breaths with our eyes closed and doing simple stretches to release tension in the neck and shoulders is a mini-vacation that may do wonders for our well-being. Think of a happy memory that will make you smile on the inside and out. All of this helps reduce stress and calms our minds and our bodies.
When I visit my dad in Florida, he likes to remind me that all he has to do is shovel sunshine. He's hoping that one day I'll give up the snowy winters and live by the beach near him. I tell him that there's a beauty to enjoying four seasons, but I agree that living close to him would make all the days sunny and bright. Knowing that we're loved, we can see everything in a better light. Now pick up the phone and set a date to meet up with a friend and don't forget to bring your umbrella.