The Spices of Life


Enough is enough! This past winter felt too long, grey, and cold to me. I am ready for sunshine on a regular basis, clean sidewalks and streets to navigate, and colors popping out of the ground and on trees like green, pink, yellow, and lavender.

Talking to others, I realize feelings of restlessness and a desire for change are among us. A hunger for the spice of variety is gripping many of us right now. It can be confusing about what to do with these thoughts. Do we simply try to escape them? Some of us may book a vacation to a warm and restful destination or plan a trip filled with adventure to shake these feelings. Some of us choose escapes, like drugs and alcohol. Others complain to friends and do nothing differently.

March is a time of renewal, an opportunity for self-renewal. So why not embrace this chance? Take baby steps. Here are three suggestions for self-renewal:

Use Coping Thoughts or Words

Be self-encouraging instead of self-deprecating. Words hold power, as do our thoughts. Be mindful of what you say after “I am…”. You may not think anyone is listening, but every cell in your body has your full attention. For example, when you can’t find your keys, instead of saying, “I am so scatter-brained. I’m an idiot.” Say, “Mistakes happen; no one’s perfect.” You can find a list of coping thoughts in the book, The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook by Jeffrey Brantley, Jeffrey C. Wood, and Matthew McKay. I urge you to research this.

Trust and Leap
I had an “aha moment.” It came to me that I am starting a new phase of my life. As humans, we know change is a constant and natural occurrence. So why do we feel uncomfortable or even fight it?
Clothes, relationships, activities, groups we belong to serve us for certain times in our lives. But then we get an urge to move on or let go of something or someone. There is nothing wrong with this. We are meant to grow and morph. Life isn’t about how to deal with negative emotions and try to escape them; it is about knowing we can work through and learn from what the emotions are telling us. Listen, trust, be still, and then leap…the net will follow.

Build a Satisfying Life
I used to really dislike the questionnaires or media sites that ask us what our hobbies are or what we enjoy doing. As an only parent who worked and just kept putting one foot in front of the other to be the best mom I could be, I resented the fact that I had the darndest time answering that. I also felt really sad that I did not know what brought me joy besides maybe two things. Well, I realized recently that that was okay at that time in my life. My focus was survival and my son. But now I am no longer in that phase of life. I need to be building a satisfying life. I recently came across 196 activities, many of which are free, that a person could enjoy. Yes-I said 196! I found them in a book called The Expanded DBT Skills Training Manual by Lane Pederson. Remember to take baby steps…so I have decided to schedule 3 of these pleasant activities each day. We all deserve pleasurable activities every day. Today, I think I will use mindfulness skills as I cook, listen to a great song and read the lyrics, and schedule a massage.


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