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2022 Dec

Let It Go

Peggy shares her tips for finding happiness amid all the anxiety of modern life.

As the holidays bear down upon us, bringing happy times with friends and family along with occasional stress and aggravation, I thought I’d take a moment to share some of my suggestions for improving mental health. To me, the end of another year is a good time to reflect on how my mental state is doing. For most of us, the world seems to get more complicated each day. The question is how can we find happiness amid all the anxiety of modern life?

Sometimes I just wish I could turn on a fan inside my head and blow away all my worries and anxieties. But since that’s not possible, the only other option is to find wholesome activities that I enjoy. They’re all simple ideas really, and perhaps one or two will resonate with you as you face the busy end-of-the year holiday madness. I hope so!

  • Take a nature break. To me, there’s nothing more calming than hiking in the woods or walking on the beach with the wind blowing through your hair. Besides the added benefits of exercise, you also get to escape from the incessant intrusions of life. Don’t forget to smell the fresh air and leave your cell phone at home!
  • Cook a real meal. I like to eat good food, and restaurants can take a big chunk out of the food budget. The truth is cooking is great therapy. I relish the simple pleasure of washing fresh vegetables, peeling potatoes, chopping garlic, grilling on the Barbie—and food always tastes better when it’s prepared with loving intention. If you have a TV in your kitchen, turn it off and listen to classical music instead.
  • Release stress with exercise. When I’m at deadline, I don’t move around as much as I’d like. I might skip a morning run because I have too much to do. What I’ve discovered is the stress that builds up because I’m not exercising increases exponentially—whereas the calmness and peace that comes after a good workout ensures I’m more productive.
  • Call up a friend for a good chat. I am so thankful for my friends. When I’m feeling blue, just talking to a friend improves my mood. Sometimes we just have to let off steam, and perhaps our spouse or significant other is too emotionally involved to be a good audience. Venting to a friend can be so therapeutic. Part of it is because your friend needs you, too, and helping others is another great way to lift your mood.
  • Let it go. This is, I think, the best advice I can give. One of life’s constants is people tend to hold onto petty grievances, and then these aggravating moments turn into bad moods. Perhaps some schmuck made you mad in traffic this morning—or your child was grouchy. Instead of carrying this irritation with you all day, just let it go
    Instead think about something that makes you happy and push the ugly thoughts out of your mind. It might seem hard to do, but it gets easier with practice. Life’s too short to let a bad mood interfere with all the beauty and goodness that’s out there waiting for you. Just open your eyes, and you’ll see what I mean.

Hope you have a fabulous and safe holiday season and an extraordinary new year! See you in 2023.

Peggy Sijswerda

Peggy Sijswerda is the editor and publisher of Tidewater Family Plus magazine. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Old Dominion University and is the author of Still Life with Sierra, a travel memoir. Peggy also freelances for a variety of regional, national, and international magazines.

Website: www.peggysijswerda.com

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