The holidays are fast approaching. The days are shorter, the snow has started to fall, Christmas tunes will soon be playing, and festive decor abounds. It is time of change and renewal.
While I find significant joy this time of year -- I love the magic of Christmas and always have -- as I get older, I find that it is necessary for me to feel a personal sense of renewal.
Come again? Well, there are a couple of different definitions in the dictionary for the word renewal. One of them that really speaks to me is "the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run down or broken."
Let's have a heart to heart -- how many of you have felt this way? I have. I am willing to bet you have felt this way too -- like you need to hit the reset button or just to give yourself a mental and physical tune up. I think that renewal is especially important this time of year so we can truly enjoy the season without letting the exhaustion and "busy-ness" of life weigh us down.
I'd like to share my two personal favorite ways to feel a sense of renewal. Oh, and they are free!
Exercise is essential.
Renewal for me -- and probably helpful for everyone reading this -- includes carving out time for getting in a workout.
There have been so many days when I say, "I can get on the elliptical tomorrow" or "It is too cold for a morning walk," but I regret it when I skip some form of physical activity. It is going to sound silly, but I have a mirror across from my elliptical. About 2 minutes into my workout, I just feel this incredible feeling of calm and happiness and I notice that I am smiling when I look in the mirror. Exercise makes me happier.
Exercise is so beneficial to your spirits. You do not need to be a fitness guru. I certainly am not. However, the feeling I have physically and mentally after even just a 30 minute workout leaves me feeling well-rested and fresh for the rest of the day.
...So is a good night's sleep.
I am not a morning person. At all. I am up early, though, and I am out the door at 7:20 with the boys to drive them to their schools. I work during the day (from home) and exercise, play with the dog, make dinner, do laundry, go to the grocery store, check homework, volunteer at school, go to chorus concerts and sporting events, etc. My schedule is full. I know you can relate to being busy!
Once the kids are in bed, though, I sometimes to sit and catch up on any of my favorite shows I have DVR'd (like my two favorites, the Good Doctor and Designated Survivor). I also used to "binge watch" Breaking Bad and be up until 2 am.
I have made a conscious effort to only watch one show or read a book for bed -- and my rule is to have my light off by 11. This really has helped, because it affords me 6 to 7 hours of sleep, instead of the 4 I used to get.
When I wake up, rather than feeling exhausted and dreading the long day ahead, I feel renewed and ready to tackle the day ahead with more enthusiasm.
Changes are part of renewal.
It is NEVER too late to make a change. With renewal comes change. And vice versa. I mentioned the two ways I feel most renewed -- more exercise and more sleep. I had to make changes to my habits and my mindset to renew my spirit. Even the slightest change can bring about a feeling of renewal. Just by altering my exercise and sleep habits, I have changed my mindset and feel that I can see things with more clarity.
How do you feel renewed? Share in the comments!