Happy New Year! Unlike the official New Year’s Day, when I bound out of bed full of hope, renewed energy, and ready to tackle the new year ahead, I woke up feeling burned out physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I definitely got up on the wrong side of the bed, and I felt anything but charitable toward myself and others. In fact, I first regretted that I decided to kick off this initiative today and tried to figure out a way to postpone it until I was able to rise from the ashes of this burnout.
My first thought was that I could write a check to a charity to help others and take a “mental health day” to help myself. While both of these things are beneficial, I knew that given my current state of body, mind, baby soul, and spirit, that if I allowed myself to kick off the “new year” by taking the easiest way out possible that I would be setting a negative precedent for the rest of the year. So, I forced myself to get up and face the day, even though all I wanted to do was hide under the covers. I felt like the Grinch Who Stole New Year’s Day.
As I showered and got dressed, my negative thoughts about a myriad of things gave way to thinking about how and when I could find the opportunity to do just one thing today to help at least one other person and myself. Given my bad mood, at first, the self-doubt kicked in, and I thought, “I just can’t do this right now”, as I felt like I had been sapped of all of my energy and time to do anything good for anyone, myself included. That said, there was something inside of me that said I simply had to do this, so, I did.
I do not drink coffee ever, but I love hot green tea, with Starbucks’ venti Zen Green Tea being my standard order. When I decided to stop there this morning to get a cup to kick off my day, I was reminded of the handful of times when I have pulled up to the drive through window to pay for my order, only to have the barista tell me that the person in front of me paid for it already. Every time that it has happened, it has been such a pleasant surprise that has left me smiling and in a good mood, and I always have thought how cool it would be to do something similar. However, I never got around to it, until this morning.
As I drove to Starbucks, suddenly, I began to feel embarrassed and self-conscious, as I worried that this act would come off as cheesy or wasn’t quite good enough to meet my goal of helping others, and I almost backed out of doing it. I am glad I didn’t, though. I planned to go through the drive through, order my tea, and then use the change from my transaction to pay for as many patrons as possible who were behind me in line. My plan hit a minor snag when I pulled up to find that the drive through line was very long, and I worried that I would be late for my daughter’s basketball game, if I waited in the line. Thankfully, when I went inside to place my order, there were no other customers at the counter when I first arrived, so, I was able to order my tea and explain to the barista what I wanted him to do with the change. After placing my order, three other people came in, and due to some problems behind the counter, a bit of a wait ensued. By the time, my tea was ready, the people behind me had grown impatient with the wait, so, what this act of kindness lacked in originality, I hope it managed to brighten their day. I was able to leave before anyone knew what I had done, and I noticed that my bad mood had started to give way to a better mood indeed.
As the day continued, I focused on all the tasks on my ‘to do’ list, but I also kept thinking about what I could do positive for myself. A couple of days ago, my friend and mentor, Trude, suggested that I treat myself to baths on a regular basis to help reduce my stress and anxiety, and since I value and respect her advice, I decided to take it tonight. I like taking baths actually, as I find the hot water to be very soothing and calming, and I have a plethora of bath accessories, such as candles, a bath pillow, lavender bath salts, etc., to make it a very pleasant experience. Despite how much I like to soak in the bathtub, it is rare that I take the time to do it, as I had convinced myself that there were better uses of my time. Tonight, though, that is what I wanted and needed to do, so, I gave myself the permission and time to do it, and I am so glad that I did. Those twenty minutes were among the best twenty minutes I have spent in ages, and I definitely will take the time to do this on a more regular basis.
So, that’s what I did today to do something positive for myself and for others, and my rough morning is now a distant memory. I am looking forward to seeing what I can do tomorrow, and I hope you all will join me along the way over the course of this journey.
Just one thing each day . . .
Categories: Just One Thing Each Day