Sometimes it feels like I am being followed by a dark cloud. It doesn’t always come close, it often stays at a distance. But it is there. If I keep moving, the cloud can’t catch up with me. But if I stop, it may suddenly loom over my head. At night, there is no way to keep moving, no way to escape. So the cloud often greats me in the morning with its darkness. I want to hide and stay in bed, but I know I need to start moving and get rid of the cloud over me.
It scares me at times, how dark everything can look one moment and how bright it all seems the next. But I am still stronger than the cloud. I have found ways to keep it at a distance, to keep seeing the light. Maybe you feel the same sometimes. It could even be normal. I have found three things that help me to keep the cloud away from me, or to move away from it and to not let it determine how I feel. I’ll share them with you today.
Take care of the basics
Some things are just simple, but effective. Getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising regularly, it all helps to feel better generally. Seeing other people and interacting with them in meaningful way is also something I consider a basic need for a general sense of well-being, as well as making sure to be healthy spiritually. Just as important is a basic contentment with the way you live your daily life. Do you do what you love? Do you spend enough time doing what you are passionate about? Are you able to use your talents?
That all sounds very nice, but what if it just doesn’t work out? There have been times of my life when I didn’t get all the sleep I needed, couldn’t exercise as much as I wanted and had no time to focus on what I really wanted to do. My life was consumed by the care for our small children, who needed me 24/7. I learnt a valuable lesson then. It didn’t help me to regret all the things I couldn’t do, as that wouldn’t change anything. It would only be frustrating and make me impatient and grumpy. So I decided to accept the situation I was in, as it was good for that time of our family life. Instead of focusing on what was not and could not be, I decided to be thankful. Thankful for every good and beautiful thing, even in the mess and stress of daily life with little kids, in a foreign country. I have to be reminded of it often, but this outlook on life still helps me to keep that cloud away when I can’t cover the basics and things are not the way I would like them to be.
And there is so much to be thankful for! Living in a country where more than one third of the population lives in poverty, helps to realise how good my life actually is. I count my blessings, all the good and perfect gifts.
Collect Happy Points
Little things can make a big difference. Even when life is very messy and chaotic, and you feel like you don’t have time for anything at all, you can still collect Happy Points. You get a Happy Point for every little thing you do that actually makes you happy and relaxes you. For me, that can be anything from running a few kilometers in the morning, working in the garden, reading a good book, writing, watching a movie, or meeting with a friend to finally doing something that needed to be done for a long time. Try to give yourself at least one Happy Point a day!
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.