Rain, Rain. Go away. Don't come back another day. Have you ever noticed that winter is a time of dreary weather? The past few weeks at my house have been a combination of cold snowy days and warm rain. All day rain. The slow methodical drizzle that never ceases.
Dark heavy clouds of the storms are replaced by grey'ness. Not fluffy grey clouds, just grey. Everywhere you look is just a gloomy bleakness.
Life is often like the weather. There are days when the sun is shining and the birds are singing, and then the clouds start rolling in and fill with you with a blah grey'ness. Worries turn into a slow-moving sleepiness make the day seem like an eternity with all its burdens.
Even though we can't choose the weather, change the weather, or do anything to affect the weather...we can choose our response to the worries in life. Today I'm continuing the 5 ways you can change the forecast in your life and increase encouragement.
Read a good book
Recently, I just finished reading "Anxious for Nothing" by Max Lucado. Usually, I'm a library-checking-out patron type of gal, but I entered a random contest for a book study and won this book. Lucky? Never! I prefer to think that God knew that this winter would be a time of worrying and He sent me this book to encourage me.
It has been such a great blessing in my life. Max Lucado writes in a laid-back, grandpa-story telling style, that gently sweeps you over and comforts you.
A few of my favorite quotes are:
There is a reason the windshield is bigger than the rear-view mirror. Your future matters more than your past.
We can wear our hurt or wear our hope. We can outfit ourselves in misfortune, or we can clothe ourselves in God's providence
Isolation creates a downward cycle of fret. Choose instead to be the person who clutches the presnce of God with both hands.
Through this book, I have to come realize that anxiety (or worry) will always be there. No one's life will ever be completely free from anxious thoughts, burdens, or difficulties...but it is my choice what to do with those worries. I can be engulfed by them or I can choose to let God be in control of my situation.
No, it's not a free pass on life. Nor will everything magically be ok, but it is a stepping back and realizing that Someone else has greater control in my life and I have to trust him.
In the great trapeze act of salvation, God is the catcher, and we are flyer. We trust. Period. ~ Max Lucado
Visit someone who is struggling just like you are
One of the best cures for loneliness and depression is helping out someone else. This can simply be done over coffee at a local restaurant, taking a friend out for dinner, or taking a batch of cookies over to a friend's house. While there is technically some cost involved, you do not have to spend a lot of money to do these things. Simply put, your presence is what is needed to help out a friend. And most of the time, you will walk away realizing that sharing laughter with friends is the best medicine ever.
Skip retail therapy
Just skip right over it, unless you already have the money planned in your budget for this item. Yes, retail therapy, whether it be a new clothing item or shoes, can be a lot of fun to purchase. But. It is never a good idea to hurt your finances just to help your mood be elevated. Take the time and be wise, make right choices now for the future, and do not do retail therapy unless you know that budget item is ok for you.
A great way to help your mood change for the better is spending fun times together with your spouse. Date Night in is a great way to help encourage you. Play a board game, like Uno or Settlers of Catan, cook some special foods or un-hide the stash of chocolate hidden away (umm....guilty as charged here!) and enjoy a fun evening together. Some other fun games are listed here! Another good idea is watching a movie together. My husband and I enjoy action movies - we have seen all of the Captain America, Transformers, Justice League, and various versions of Spiderman. Notice, there are no sappy, crying movies here. If we are going to spend time with a movie, I have one rule. It must end (mostly) happily ever after! Thankfully neither of us like the Hallmark movies. But if that is your style, then go for it. Just enjoy the evening and time spent together.
Plan Something Fun for the Future
One of the things that I have found that I enjoy the most is a vacation. Several years ago, I convinced my husband to take a cruise. We had done different types of vacations in the past...going to the beach, visiting Pigeon Forge, visiting Washington, DC...but I had always wanted to cruise. He didn't. But after some convincing, he finally agreed that we could go on one.
We had a fabulous time!
Ok, seriously. We had an amazing time. Fast forward 8 years, we have now been on 8 different cruises, and we are completely bitten by the cruise bug. My facebook news feed is littered throughout the year of our various vacations reminding us of all the fun that we had on those trips. But you know what? The fun that we had JUST wasn't the actual trip, it was the planning stage. And so, if you are having days that you need some brightening up...plan something for the future. Start looking forwards towards something fun!
Even if you can't get away for 7 days in a tropical location, you might be able to get away for 2 or 3. Look at which hotels you could stay at. Look and see what kind of activities are present at the location you would like to visit. Are there theme parks close by? Perhaps a Civil War museum that you've been wanting to look at. Or, maybe, there is a fantastic restaurant close to where you would like to stay. Cheesecake Factory, Sticky Fingers, and the Melting Pot have all made some of our vacations extra-special.
So the next time you find yourself feeling in the dumps, remember. It is your choice whether you want to stay there or not. You can choose to find encouragement and help others. You can choose to find ways to brighten your spirits.
But it does require you to make a choice.