2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, and more challenges lie ahead as we confront more sickness and deaths from Covid-19. As a community we need to work everyday to take care of those around us. We are all in this together, and as individuals, families and communities it is necessary and important to follow the rules so everyone is safe. Our freedoms are not being infringed upon as we work together as a community for one big effort. Cooperation make us one. I am surprised on my walks to see groups or children wearing masks as they run around and play outdoor games together. Do they want to wear masks as they play outside? I am sure they are thankful to have each other, and be outside with their friends.
I wake up each day with gratitude for a new day, my family, friends, the sunshine, and the beauty of the Earth. I am thankful for the healthcare workers, mail carriers, and people who work with positive energy for peace and justice. Look for the good, it is there! I know I am lucky, and I hope you are lucky too!
I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness–It’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.” Brene Brown
Yes, we are tired of stay safe rules , but I thought this was a very comprehensive list, and I hope you might get some new ideas. I copied it from an article in Ecowatch.com Please be safe and look for the good.
Always mask up when indoors and around people who don’t live in your household.
Always mask up when outdoors and unable to maintain physical distancing.
Use either disposable masks or a multi-layer tightly woven cotton mask. Single-layer kerchiefs are insufficient.
When you mask up, make sure it fits your face and covers both nose and mouth. Wash or sanitize your hands after touching or removing the mask.
Remember that masks are not a substitute for physical distancing.
Maintain at least six feet of distance between you and others outside of your household.
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Avoid motions that transfer organisms from your hands to your face. Your mouth, nose and eyes have mucous membranes that are potentially receptive to these organisms.
Clean frequently touched surfaces. Wipe-ups are wasteful, use bleach, water with rags instead.
Do as much as possible outside and keep interactions with others short.
Fortify ventilation systems for more frequent air exchanges. Air should be coming from the outside!
Curtail in-person holiday celebrations with those not in your household
This Actions for Happiness post is about self-care and telling the truth! Living in a pandemic we need self-care and we need truth.
Part of self-help September is telling the truth, but what do you do when you have elected officials that lie, lie and lie some more, and citizens that believe their lies? People that lie are unhappy, they can’t accept reality. These are strange times with a pandemic, and the need for correct information is enormous. When elected officials have a misunderstanding of the truth, and create alternative facts, and others don’t correct and challenge them we are in big trouble. If we don’t have a set of facts to agree on, people searching for truth make things up and spread theories about what they believe might be true. This is like ancient people trying to make sense of what they don’t understand. We need to have a base of facts to work from and we have lost that. Yes, I misled the U.S.
Democracies can not survive without understanding what is really happening. That is why we have universities, scientists, news media and newspapers to search out the truth. In order to function as citizens in our society and in our democracy, we need to have a common basis of facts.
This is not ancient times, we have science, we have a hard working journalists and educators that are masters at getting the facts correct. At this time in history we all need a active commitment to always tell the truth. Start with telling the truth yourself, and demand truth-telling from all your acquaintances. Telling the truth is easy, demand it from everyone!
How do you start to search for truth?
Get the facts and be open minded. We often think we are correct when we aren’t.
Do additional research, read newspapers, and ask questions.
Make sure your sources are credible.
Ask yourself, does this make sense?
Never spread things unless you know the source and check at least 2 more sources. Facebook, friends, family, and Fox talk shows, are not reliable sources.
From September of 1939:
All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die. By W. H. Auden
Ten more self-care ideas to get you through the pandemic from the Washington Post. Read here.
Here is the Actions For Happiness calendar for September. An important part of self-care involves telling the truth and never spreading falsehoods.
“Extra fresh? Extra wet? Extra extra? Extra beautiful? Extra Great? Extra gitchy? Extra deep? Extra wide? Extra voluminous? Extra fishy? Extra rocky? Extra clean? Extra cold? Extra Superior?” @Lake Superior (twitter)
Yes, extra Superior! A world pandemic is still raging, elected leaders incite violence, forest fires and hurricanes are constant, but no drama on Lake Superior. By August the lake has warmed and the contrast between the cold lake and warm air isn’t so extreme causing less drama. This lack of drama makes the big lake more peaceful as the gentle waves ripple to shore.
The loons call, and the eagles screech from their tree towering over the lake. The hummingbirds like little fairies hover and suck nectar from the last of the plants as they prepare for their long journey south.
Plants are turning brown, and yellow golden rod dominates. Blooming plants were early this year so they lose energy and turn brown sooner. Only a few butterflies remain, they have been replaced by grasshoppers, and like the birds the chipmunks are already busy preparing for winter.
July was a perfect time to indulge in watching butterflies and monarch caterpillars. Every new caterpillar was a celebration. Unfortunately, something else found them to be joyful food, and they disappeared. We suspect the chipmunks. Their numbers were too many this year, and they seemed to be watching my treasured caterpillars as much as I was! Every new butterfly I see I hope they were one of my precious fat caterpillars.
Surprisingly, in July the lake had a harder time keeping us cool from the hot humid summer south of us, but August brought 70 degrees days while a hundred miles south it was a hot humid 90 degrees.
On to September and more change, turning leaves and intense beauty! Extra beautiful!
Kindness and smiling create a ripple, spread them now!
Smile: A Poem by Spike Milligan Smiling is infectious, you catch it like the flu, When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too. I passed around the corner and someone saw my grin. When he smiled I realized I’d passed it on to him. I thought about that smile, then I realized its worth. A single smile, just like mine could travel round the earth. So, if you feel a smile begin, don’t leave it undetected. Let’s start an epidemic quick, and get the world infected!
Become mindful how your actions affect others? Smile, turn down the music, sweep instead of leaf blow, turn off your car instead of idle, pick up litter, control your dog, follow the driving rules, and wearing an a mask is an act of kindness. Thirty-one actions below for acts of kindness:
During August the idea is to do one or more acts of kindness daily. Let’s spread a wave of kindness all around the world.
“Acts of kindness are very powerful!” Sonja Lyubomirsky
Science is finding that being kind pays off. New studies show kindness makes people healthier and happier. Kindness can stop some illnesses, and could create more antiviral genes. What could be better during a pandemic? So smile, donate your time and money, help others, and wear a mask.
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” Marcel Proust
Each day as I walk or look out my window I am so thankful for our magnificent earth. I love the birds, plants, wildlife and landscapes. I love how the seasons change and the colors change. I love the sunshine, love people who smile, and love each new day. I am so lucky to live where there is clean drinking water and away from forest fires and rising water. Many disasters are facing our earth, and it’s easier to focus on what is awful rather than the simple things around us that are wonderful. For our own mental health, positive energy and gratitude can keep us healthy.
November is a month with less sunshine, colder temperatures and shorter days. In November we can’t wait for the sun to shine or warm temperatures, we need to be mindful of what else is good in our lives, and be thankful.
To live in Gratitude, be mindful of your surrounding, the food you eat, and the people in your life. Listen to people, smile, be thankful for what you have, and buy less stuff.”Gratitude turns what we have into enough!“Anonymous Pause, smile, breathe and enjoy everyday with gratitude. “I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude“. Brene Brown
Smiling and saying thank you creates ripples of thoughtfulness and kindness throughout the world, and that’s something to be thankful for!
What is the good in your life? What are you thankful for? Read ways to put more gratitude in your life here. Enjoy
July 1, is Canada’s birthday, and July 4, is the birthday of the United States. Both kick off a month of celebrations, reunions, and all kinds of parties. How do we cope with ideas and activities we don’t agree with? Actions For Happiness calendar ideas below help us to enjoy the month of July.
I always recommend outdoor time, and a daily walk without technology! Set a goal for something to work on such as Plastic Free July. My husband is training for a long walk, and others are training for long bicycle rides. Maybe just set a goal for a short outside walk everyday, sign up for a new class, or really commit to zero waste, smile more, or reduce the amount of driving you do! I met a woman whose goal was to go fishing and camping in Canada. She was so happy!
Take control of your life, don’t let politics get you down, unplug, be kind, and enjoy!
Have you been outside today? Have you found beauty or something new in nature? If you haven’t spent some time outside today, do it now! This is the perfect time of the year to get outside, walk and experience nature. Relaxing time outside is a nature-pill.
It is my fear we have become such enormous TV watchers and phone addicts that we forget to get out of our houses and cars to enjoy the outside.
If you don’t have a yard, find a park or garden near you to which you can walk or bike. Hopefully it is quiet and a place you can experience the new buds and flowers on the plants and trees, or see the birds/butterflies, or just watch the clouds pass by. Spend just a few quiet moments to just breath, relax and observe. Be mindful of the time you have outdoors.
A new study from the University of Michigan tells how time outside makes people so much happier and less depressed and stressed.
“Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature.” Mary Carol Hunter
“We know that spending time in nature reduces stress, but until now it was unclear how much is enough, how often to do it, or even what kind of nature experience will benefit us,” says Dr. MaryCarol Hunter, an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan and lead author of this research. “Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature.”
“Participants were free to choose the time of day, duration, and the place of their nature experience, which was defined as anywhere outside that in the opinion of the participant, made them feel like they’ve interacted with nature. There were a few constraints to minimize factors known to influence stress: take the nature pill in daylight, no aerobic exercise, and avoid the use of social media, internet, phone calls, conversations and reading,” Hunter explains. Read more about the nature study here.
Take your free outdoor nature-pill, find outdoor beauty, plant seeds, touch, draw a picture, walk, observe, listen, and breathe.
Driving or using your phone doesn’t count, you need to find places near you. A place where you can take your nature-pill. I know you can find places if you try. Find a quiet place outside that helps you connect with nature.