Do Happy: Let Go

BalloonSome people think it’s holding on that makes one strong—sometimes it’s letting go.” ~Unknown

Maybe your life doesn’t look like you want it, but you’re not sure how to change it, or even if you can—so you feel hopeless, frustrated, and even a little bitter.

Or maybe someone hurt you so deeply you don’t know if you can trust them anymore—so you feel angry, defensive and indignant.

Every day we can find a million and one reasons to feel discouraged, or incompetent, or vulnerable, or harried.  All things that hurt when we hold them inside like a tight fist we refuse to unclench.  And yet we do it anyway.

Until we decide to stop.

You can’t always control the way you instinctively feel about things that happen in your life.  You can’t pretend you don’t hurt and just smile to make everything go away. But you can choose at any time to feel what you need to feel, and then change it into something else. Take all that energy and put it into the change you want to create.

Use your discontent to take one small step that could make your life more fulfilling.

Decide to stop hurting yourself rehashing the past, and relate to the humanity in the person who wronged you.

The first step toward feeling good is simply deciding not to feel bad. Simply choosing to let go.

Do happy. It’s something you’re due.

This post is republished with permission. Find more of Lori Deschene’s writing at tinybuddha.com. Read the original post here

10 Ways to Let Go of Work on the Weekend

Since it is Christmas I will be taking a break from blogging and have re-posted a blog by Lori Deschene with her kind permission.  I hope you enjoy it.

10 Ways to Let Go of Work on the Weekend

Relaxingby Lori Deschene

I don’t often post on the weekends because I assume most people aren’t online. Then I realised I can’t remember the last time I completely disconnected for more than six hours at a time. In fact, I often devote much of Sunday to writing for the upcoming week, both here and on other sites.

Instead of trying to change the way I operate and force myself to unplug just because the work-week is supposed to be over, I’ve decided to take a looser approach–to fully maximize my downtime, even if I pick up work at some point later.

It’s far easier said than done.  We live in an always-on world–connected by texts. voice mails, and tweets–which makes it difficult to completely put work aside.  Physically or mentally.  If you’re self-employed or a freelancer, it’s even harder to draw distinct lines between on and off-the-clock.

I’ve come up with 10 ideas to be more present in my downtime.  Even if I decide to write on Saturday afternoon, I want the morning and the evening to feel blissfully mine.  Here’s what I’ve come up with:

1. End Friday well. It’s hard to relax on Saturday if you failed to return 4 important calls, file important paperwork, or finish a marketing report on Friday.  Stay an extra half-hour if you need to.  It’s worth it to head into the weekend a little late if it gives you a greater peace of mind throughout it.

2. Be specific. If you must do work on the weekend, schedule specific time for it.  Don’t begin until the specified time, and be sure to end accordingl, as well.  It may help to have a to-do list so you can be efficient in the allotted time.

3. Tell people your plan.  If your friends and colleagues are accustomed to accessing your around-the-clock, they might not think twice of texting with a work-related question while you’re out with your family.  Tell them in advance you will not be available, or will only be available between certain hours.

4. Set up a pre-written text. I find it difficult to completely ignore text messages–or turn my phone off for hours at a time.  If you feel compelled to leave your phone on in case of emergency, write a text you can send to anyone who contacts you that reads: “Today is a text-free family day for me.  I will respond in more detail on Monday.”

5. Enlist other people to help. My boyfriend recently told me, “Finish all your work before tonight so I can have your full attention.” That simple request was a powerful reminder he deserves it–and I deserve to be fully in the moment with him.

6. Make a “No list.” Lots of people have difficulty saying no to people because we don’t want to disappoint them or would prefer to avoid the associated discomfort; but it’s crucial if you’d like to take time for yourself.  It may help to have a list of approved requests, and ones you simply won’t entertain.  This way when someone asks, you don’t need to think about it in too much detail.  You simply need to remember, “I promised myself I wouldn’t do this today.”

7. Check in with your mental state throughout the day. For all intents and purpose, you’re relaxing–you’re at brunch with friends after all.  But are you really present?  Are you being mindful, giving them your full attention when they speak, and enjoying the experience with all your faculties?  If you catch yourself thinking or worrying about work, it’s easier to pull yourself back to the moment.

8. Consider the long-term consequences. Sometimes my work-related thoughts and worries seem urgent–like I have to outline a blog post in my head or I’ll lose all my readers and never reach my goals.  I try to catch those thoughts and replace them with, “If I don’t enjoy what’s in front of me right now, there’s no point in having professional goals because I’ll never be able to enjoy what I have when I have it.”

9. Utilize a relaxation technique. Whenever I find my mind drawn to thoughts outside my current experience, I do this breathing exercise: hold one nostril closed and breathe deeply through the other; then switch your grip so you’re now holding the opposite nostril closed, and breathe out through the opposite one.  If you repeat this 5-10 times, taking deep, slow breaths, you’ll create a sense of inner calm.

10. Plan your weekends well. When I have gaps in activit, I feel a natural pull toward my laptop.  It helps to have a plan for my day.  That’s not to say you need to be doing something all day; just that it may help to commit to blocks of time–exercise from 10-11, lunch from 12-2, relaxing from 2-4.  The simple act of planning something might make it easier to fully commit.

Do you have any tips for letting go of the weekend?  Or a more fun question, do you have any exciting plans this weekend?

Lori Deschene lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can read more of her writing at tinybuddha.com and follow her on Twitter @lori_deschene.