Finding Your Formula: A + B + C = Yeah

| June 29, 2012 | 0 Comments

Life is never predictable.  Some days are fantastic, but others need a little bit of tweaking to make them feel great by the time they’re done.

I’m coming to see these little adjustments as a series of fun games and formulas.  The games I’ll address another time, but essentially they function like any game does:

  • How can I have more of the yummy things I want this week, by using my brain (as well as sales, coupons, earning a litlte more, barter, etc) ?
  • How low can we make the gas/electric bill this month, so we can use that money to treat ourselves instead?
  • How can I have as much fun as possible even on those days when I’m just “going around the board,” advancing a few squares toward my goals?

In this way I can twist even things that aren’t normally fun into something I like doing, because, like most people I know, I like playing and winning games.

The formulas are even more fun, because there’s some kind of odd magic in crafting your day by mixing a-little-of-this with a-little-of-that and voila! You’re suddenly in a much better place physically and mentally than when you started out.

For me, most of the time my formulas look something like this:

  • Joy = Physical activity + self-care + good food/drink

Notice that there are no quantities or amounts or strict rules there.  What matters to me is simply paying attention to the magical combination of moving my body, taking good care of it, and feeding it well.  Even if it’s fifteen minutes of each thing each day, it helps me stay in a strong, healthy mental state where I feel like I can handle whatever life throws at me. More is better, but even a little bit can radically shift my spirits from “wishing I could just go back to bed”  into the “hell yeah life’s amazing” level.

This morning was a good example of the formula.  I met my friend, She Who Lives On Vacation Every Day, and we went for an easy hike in the early morning, trying to avoid the heat that would beat down on our heads later in the day.  We walked through a cool green forest, amid the big trees and streams and wildflowers, for about 90 minutes (solving most of the world’s problems along the way).

After the walk, I went home and whipped up an iced coffee from the coffee toddy I made last night (seriously, you should try this on a hot day).  Sipping this beverage, laced with sweet milk and a sprinkle of cocoa and cinnamon, I sat outside in the shade and wrote in my journal, using it to work through some of the sticky thoughts that have been trying to pull me down into depression lately. A bowl of perfect, cold blueberries sat on the table next to me, and every once in a while I’d idly pop a handful in my mouth and feel their juicy tangy goodness fill my whole head with wow.

When I ran out of blueberries, I went to work.

Time investment:  About 3 hours, before work
Cost:  Roughly $1.50 in coffee, milk, and blueberries
Effect:  I get to turn to face my day with clear eyes, breathing well, feeling great about myself, knowing that a) all is well and b) even if it isn’t, I can figure out how to make it so. I feel like I’m the master of my life. I am just so happy to be alive.

Other times I’ve combined an exercise or yoga class, a half-hour massage, and a stop at The Kitchen at the Creek, a favorite local joint that makes a grapefruit martini that boggles my mind.  Or a bike ride, a hot bath laced with something smellgood, and a cool glass of lemon-cucumber water over ice, resting on the tub sill.

None of this has to be expensive – it can run the scale from free to second-mortgage, but since I like to do it a lot, I tend toward the lower end of the scale. It also doesn’t have to take 3 hours.  A walk around the block, a foot massage, and a little plate of perfect cheese, crackers, and apple slices can have the same effect.  It’s a reset, where you step away from the gimme-gimme of the world for a while, and prove to yourself that you’re someone worthy of taking care of.

What’s your formula? Or what would you like it to be?   How can you combine moving your body, showing yourself some tenderness, and enjoying the sensory pleasure of eating and drinking into something that makes your day amazing?



Category: Entertainment, Food, Fun, Mental Health, Money Saving

Leave a Comment