by Gail Rodgers
A brand new year stretches in front of us…a fresh start; a new page to write the journey of our lives on. New opportunities and new challenges await each of us. Here are five simple steps to help keep your heart light as you navigate the road ahead.
Make sure you schedule some leisure time for yourself. Especially in the midst of economic change it is important to look away from the pressures now and then and find some refreshing leisure activity. Get creative. Make it simple. Take the kids for a hike, cook a meal with your partner, have some friends over to play a game and laugh together, build something. Give yourself permission this year to take little leisure breaks. It may seem trivial to think of it now, but it can become a lifeline during stressful times. It will also help kindle the relationships that sometimes get strained with the daily challenges that face us. Plan mini breaks.
Look around you and intentionally find the good. Affirm the positive things you see and hear. Negativity is so easy to slip into and it can permeate you life like smoke permeates a forest. It clouds your thinking too. Affirm your loved ones regularly. When pressures in life mount up we tend to take it out on those we love the most. Be intentional in affirming the relationships you treasure and guard them in changing times. Look for the positive.
Allow yourself the freedom of making a U turn in life. If the direction you are going needs changing then make the change necessary. If you want a different job, take an online course and begin to work in that direction. If your marriage is feeling tense read some books on relationships, plan some positive times together or get some counsel. If your body is discouraging you make a plan to eat less and move more. Concentrate on the things in life that you have the power to change and focus some energy there rather than dwelling on the things you have no power over. Change what you can.
Find ways to give. When life gets challenging our tendency is to hoard our resources. Give of your time to help someone out; coach a kid’s team, or do some repairs around the house. Give time to listen to those you love and hear the feelings behind the words. Give encouragement. Give kindness to strangers. When you are feeling depleted, intentionally choose to give and you will be surprised at the refreshing it will bring to you. Be generous without using money.
Dare to hope in tomorrow. Fan the flames of hope in your heart. When hope feels scarce dare to hope in Higher Help to give you the strength you need when the road feels hard and rough. We all need hope in something beyond ourselves. God can provide that hope and that help when we simply ask Him to join us on the road of life and walk with us. He is the ultimate source of help and He is the one who can bring hope for tomorrow. Reach out for hope.
Being aware of these five simple steps will help put the laugh back into your life. Step out and intentionally lead others to higher ground as you focus on these few but powerful steps.