“Lighten up while you still can…”
– The Eagles, “Take It Easy”
My Precious Peeps!
We are in the thick of holiday season and according to the endless loop of festive songs on the radio and in stores, you should be oozing with joy, peace, and light right about now. So…how’s that working out for you?
Yes, between the darkness of winter, the financial demands of Christmas, and the exhaustion from increased social demands, it wouldn’t be surprising if you’re actually finding yourself feeling decidedly serious and un-festive right about now. This feeling might even be the culmination of a whole year of taking on too much, making everything into a huge super-serious deal, and feeling generally weighed down by life. Well, not only is this a recipe for an anxious and cranky state, but for eventual total burnout. Fortunately, I have an immediate emergency prescription for this state: Lighten the Hell Up.
Don’t get me wrong… I applaud focus and drive, but sometimes you’ve just got to take an afternoon nap. I’m one to encourage really sitting with your pain to explore and heal it, but I also think you sometimes need to watch a silly comedy and have a big belly laugh. I admire how living with purpose can move mountains, but how about taking a nice leisurely walk through those mountains once in awhile?
I’ve observed that life and the world as a whole is richest when we can balance work and play, effort and surrender, seriousness and humour, exertion and rest. So, if your life is full of gravity and woefully short on the lightness half of the equation, check out my hints on how to start lightening up right here and now. Then, start implementing one lightening up activity per day immediately. Do it for the sake of cultivating joy, peace, and light not only in your holidays but your whole year ahead.
P.S. The most powerful way to find balance in your life for 2014 would be to do give yourself a LIFE REBOOT! My 7-week daily program will help you reset your life and balance your body, mind, and spirit. My next Toronto Life Reboot Programs start Jan. 14 and my Life Reboot Online/Tele-Program begins Jan. 13.
P.P.S. I’m aspiring to do more lightening up myself, so I took a nap in the middle of composing this blog.
“A light heart lives long.”
– William Shakespeare
15 Ways to Lighten Up
1. Read the Comics – Once a week, bypass the headlines and go for the comics! When was the last time you read Calvin or Hobbes or picked up an Archie Digest? Probably when you were little and carefree and laughed a helluva lot more. If you don’t get a newspaper, here’s your online fix: http://www.gocomics.com/explore/comics
2. Let It Go – Once per day resist the need to make it “perfect”, the urge to criticize somebody or something, or the need to be right. Just one tiny time per day try to LET GO…you’re giving yourself and the people around you a headache. : p
3. Brighten Up – Are you already in your uniform of blacks and greys for the winter ahead? Wear something bright and colourful this week and cast off the heavy shades of the season.
4. Tickle Fight! – Start declaring tickle fights today! The more tense or boring the situation is, the more tickle intensity needed!
5. Dash of Irreverence – What if you interrupted that worry loop that weighs you down? On a sheet of paper write down 5-10 things causing you anxiety or shame. Then, beside each one write beside in thick black marker: “SO F*CKING WHAT?” (except no asterisks in your version ; ). By the way, it feels SO much better to also say it out loud as you write it. You could even use this as a silent saucy mantra to invoke for the rest of your week if you start feeling way too uptight about something.
6. Somersault – When was the last time you did a somersault? Do one today. Better yet…do multiple ones down a hill! If you’re one of those fancy-pants people, you could do a cartwheel instead (says the bitter girl who can’t do a cartwheel).
7. Lighten Your Load – I’m afraid to break it to you, but the world won’t stop if you’re not at the helm. Say “no” one more time per day this week than you regularly would, delegate to others, and then partake in #8…
8. Play Hooky – Take an afternoon, hour, or even just five minutes off today to do something completely unproductive. Watch videos of babies laughing, go bowling, have a hot bath in the middle of the day, phone up a fave friend for a 10-minute convo…anything that breaks you out of Seriousville even for a few moments.
9. Let It All Hang Out – Maybe you can’t lighten up because you’re wearing too many clothes! Turn up the heat in your place, peel off the parka and the toque and walk around naked as a jaybird for the evening.
10. Belly Laugh – Laughter immediately lightens the soul, so a deep belly laugh is lightening gold! Get a group of people (ie. family, roommates, book club) to all lie on the floor in a circle with each person placing their head on the belly of the person to the right of them. One person begins the laughing process (fake it if you need to) and once one stomach starts to jiggle under another’s head, a belly-laugh-wildfire will commence.
11. Swivel Out of Your Worry – Move your hips and speak seductively while talking about what’s worrying you right now.
12. Unloading – This one take a bit of prep, but it is very satisfying… Put a bunch of old tennis balls in a backpack and try running with that on. Then, open the zipper on the backpack and as you’re running grab one tennis ball at a time and throw it with great gusto as far away from you as you can until your backpack is empty. This also makes the dogs in the neighbourhood very happy!
13. Play Lessons – Take some time today to PLAY with the animals or kids (they’re expert players) and really COMMIT to the experience. Mirror their movements, sounds, and enthusiasm. All in!
14. Phone Games – Every time your phone rings today, answer it a different way. Bonus points for using funny voices.
15. Dance Break – Feeling heavy? Put on a high-octane song and literally shake off the overwhelm, stress, or blues. Think of the emotional heaviness as something tangible that’s literally weighing you down and with great gusto shake it off of you… shimmy it out, pull it off, stomp it down!
“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”
– Guillaume Apollinaire
Toronto Grad Circles
Small workshops for grads of my programs:
Wed., Jan. 8, 2014 – Igniting 2014
Life Reboot Programs
This inspiring, practical, and sometimes rowdy body/mind/spirit program combines DAILY work for 7 weeks (powerful audio recordings, exercises, & email check-ins to create shifts on a tangible real-life level) with intimate and exhilarating weekly workshops that will center, heal, and power up both your personal and professional life. Get ready to ignite your next MAGNIFICENT chapter!
TUESDAY Toronto Program
begins Jan. 14 – runs daily for 7 weeks
8 in-person workshops – Tues. Evenings
WEDNESDAY Toronto Program
begins Jan. 15 – runs daily for 7 weeks
8 in-person workshops – Wed. Evenings
begins Jan. 13 – runs daily for 7 weeks
8 phone workshops – Mon. Evenings
The kind of To Do List we should all aspire to…
If you’ve made it this far, I want to bring you full circle to “Take It Easy”…