Oatmeal’s Ninja Move

Oatmeal on an outdoor patio is a form of protection against losing your shit.

What are you doing for yourself to keep from losing your shit on a regular basis over stuff that doesn’t really matter?

If I don’t take time for myself, I lose my shit more often and with greater intensity.  Like head-spinning, words-vomiting, massive-cranky-attack kind of stuff.  This past weekend, I spent a few days with some dear friends at a retreat.  We did some good transformational work with Alison Armstrong at a PAX Workshop – figuring out what triggers the cranky stuff, sorting out how anger shows up for us, talking about which of our body parts bring us down (and being surprised that it’s not the same for everyone – elbows? really?) and generally finding ways to live more joyfully no matter what challenges life brings.

I also did some serious work relaxing in the spa –  enjoying time in the steam room, floating in the hot tub, sunrise yoga…all that yummy stuff.  This kind of trip might sound self-indulgent or like something that you don’t believe you have the time or the money for.  But taking care of yourself is an important part of fueling your ability to take care of others and be a functioning, not cranky, adult.  Spending a lot of money isn’t necessary to relaxation and rejuvenation time (especially if, like me, you aren’t too proud to share a hotel bed and bring your own ice chest of food).  Small things can bring big joy into your life, like having your morning oatmeal on an outdoor patio, taking a picnic to a pretty spot, or just giving yourself permission to check out a big stack of books from the library without feeling obligated to read them before the due date (my favorite is checking out a bunch of gorgeous cookbooks to drool over, especially the ones that are filled with complicated recipes I will never make).

I read recently that scientists have discovered that one of the things that increases happiness is changing up our pattern of activity.  So when our days seem filled with the same routine of cooking, cleaning, work, hauling kids, laundry, etc. – our brains feel less happy.  Even if we have a weekly activity that brings us pleasure, the constant sameness can turn your fun, movie date night into just another thing that has to be checked off your To Do List.  We have the power to mix things up, and consequently add more happiness to our life, by cooking something new (yes, take-out from somewhere other than your usual place counts), eating in a different spot, or just doing something you haven’t done in a while.  Bowling anyone?  What if I treat you to a beer and some super-gooey nachos?  And it’s glo-in-the-dark disco night at the bowling alley?  Who is in for some happy?


Please share your thoughts.