I’ll confess. I’m writing this post as much for myself as for anyone. You see, I’ve been having one of those weeks. I’ve been feeling tired and a bit overwhelmed at all of the things that I need to get accomplished. I’m sore and worn out from the training that I’m doing for a half-marathon that I will be running next month (my first ever half marathon–lord help me!) and I’ve had a hard time remaining focused on the Fab-YOU-lous big picture goals that I have set for my life. This blah feeling is pretty unusual for me as I tend to be a naturally high-energy and driven individual, and I must say–I DON’T LIKE IT.
As usual though, the universe always seems to know exactly what I need and when I need it, so when I looked at my editorial calendar and saw that this week’s post was to be on the subject of perspective, I just had to chuckle. Well played universe, well played.
Yep–a fresh perspective is exactly what I needed this week so I love the fact that my research for this post has helped me to gain exactly that.
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, stressed out or aimless, you too need a fresh perspective on your life. Follow these eight Fab-YOU-lous tips and you’ll be seeing clearly again in no time.
8 Fab-YOU-lous Tips for Gaining a Fresh Perspective on Life
1.) Get a detached view. Sometimes when we are in the trenches it is hard to see a realistic view of our situation. All we see are the piles of laundry that need to be folded (wait…were these even washed??), the bills that need to be paid and the work assignments that keep piling up. We feel inundated with responsibilities and rendered ineffective as a result of sheer exhaustion. It is during these times that we need to ask ourselves if this current perception of our reality is, in fact, accurate.
The best way for me to do this is to take what I call a “Queen of the Mountain” view of my life. I go somewhere quiet (even if it’s just a stall in the ladies room at my office) and take a few minutes to look at my life from the perspective of someone who is high upon a mountain. I imagine this person looking at my life from a vantage point that allows her to see not just my current scenario, but the last decade or so of my life. Sure, she sees the teeny-tiny piles of laundry (that we have now determined have not been washed) but she also sees the huge victory that I experienced as I overcame a devastating Anorexia Nervosa diagnosis and escaped from a toxic marriage that was slowly killing me. She sees the successful career that I have built for myself and the sacrifices that I made in order to provide a safe and loving home for my boys–all by myself. She celebrates the fact that she can see my joy as I experienced falling in love with and then marrying my Superman and she delights in the life that we have created together. She sees that I’m soaking my weary body in a hot bath after having run eight miles, but she also sees the fact that I RAN EIGHT MILES. Sure, she can see that I’m tired and feeling a little overwhelmed; but she can also see that compared to where I’ve been–my life right now is cake. Best of all, she can see the direction in which I am heading in life and she can see that if I keep putting one foot in front of the other, I will reach the Fab-YOU-lous destination that I have envisioned for myself.
By detaching from the situation at hand and allowing myself to see my life through her eyes, I am always able to shift my perspective and gain a new appreciation for how far I’ve come in my life and get reinvigorated over the direction in which I am heading. Yes–I still need to tackle that laundry, but doing so no longer seems so insurmountable.
2.) Show yourself some love. It never ceases to amaze me how something as simple as a manicure, massage or milkshake can give me a whole new outlook on life. Sometimes all I need is a little smidge of self-care to nourish my spirit and shift my perspective. I’m not suggesting a self-indulgent shopping spree that lands you deeper in debt here, but a small expression of self-love that you allow yourself to enjoy, can be just the thing that you need to pull yourself out of your tailspin and have you flying high again.
3.) Tune in. If you’ve followed Fab-YOU-lous Life for a while, you may have seen our post on the incredible benefits of meditation (if you haven’t seen it, be sure to click here to check it out) and you may have read this post about creating your own sustainable meditation practice. Simply taking the time to get quiet and meditative can be just the thing that you need to open yourself up and receive the guidance and clarity needed in your situation. I am constantly amazed at how spending time in meditation can lead me to new insights and provide me with a renewed sense of purpose and perspective–even though I am not a new-age, hippie dippie wackadoo (no offense to all of my hippie dippie wackadoo friends–of whom I have many. I love you all!)
4.) Tune out. This one goes hand in hand with the previous entry because in order to truly tune in to our inner guidance system, we must first learn how to tune out the outside interference that bombards us on a daily basis. For me, this means unplugging from social media, my phone and other human beings and going for a run. It’s hard to maintain a proper sense of perspective on life when we are constantly inundated with images of the Kardashians or caught up in the drama of Facebook politics. I know that this one can be tough if you (like me) tend to experience mini anxiety attacks whenever your phone is more than 10 feet away; but taking time to unplug and tune out can result in countless benefits including a restored sense of balance and a recalibrated perspective on life. Currently, I only practice this tuning out for an hour or so as I go for my evening runs; it helps, but my goal is to work myself up to an entire weekend without social media–we’ll see if I can survive. 😉
5.) Get a nature fix. Nature is the ultimate soul soother and perspective fixer. Connecting with nature is a great way to tune out so that we can tune in. Nature has a rhythm all its own–seasons change, dawn follows dusk and the moon chases the sun across the sky. When we surround ourselves with nature, we allow ourselves to become a part of that rhythm. No matter how stressful or exhausting my week has been, it always seems less so when I’m stopped near the lake by my house watching the sun set behind the mountains in the distance. There is just something about the majesty of nature (be it a grove of trees colored with the beautiful hues of autumn or a dark, starry sky) that makes all of my problems or concerns seem far less significant than they did when I was trapped in my office with a slow internet connection and looming deadlines in my face.
6.) Lend a hand. Nothing, and I mean nothing puts my life into perspective faster than coming face to face with someone who is less fortunate than I am. As the Executive Director of the Northern Colorado Chapter of the American Red Cross, I see loss and devastation on a nearly daily basis. Whether we are responding to a family who has lost everything in a house fire or sending supplies and support to an area that has been wiped out by wildfires or flood waters, there is no shortage of people who are in dire need of assistance. Seeing the plights of these individuals and the odds that they are up against is such a humbling experience and certainly provides a huge shift in perspective. It’s hard to grumble about unfolded (or unwashed??) piles of laundry when you’ve just met with someone who escaped rising flood waters with nothing more than the clothes on their back. If you are looking for an instant way to shift your perspective, try lending a hand to someone less fortunate than you. Donate some toiletries or paper goods to a homeless shelter, make a contribution to an organization like the Red Cross or take a meal to a friend who is going through chemo. Reaching out to those in need is an incredibly powerful way to put your own life’s challenges into proper perspective and leave you feeling abundantly blessed.
7.) Educate yourself. Part of reformulating your perspective is educating yourself by looking deeply into a variety of sources and opposing views. Without being confrontational, ask someone with opposing political beliefs to explain to you their rationale behind their beliefs. Don’t challenge them or judge them, just listen to them with the intention of learning. You can also use this “listen to learn” technique to diffuse an argument with your spouse or to gain understanding while working with a difficult co-worker. Becoming more educated might not necessarily cause you to change your perspective but it can help you to become a more tolerant individual as you gain a greater understanding for the perspectives of others.
8.) Change the meaning. One very powerful lesson that I have learned in life is that experiences are only good or bad according to the way that we choose to define them. For example, most people would look at the period in my life when I was sick and struggling with an emotionally (and sometimes physically) abusive marriage and debilitating eating disorder and call that a dark time in my life. For the longest time, I agreed with that assessment. Now however; I have learned to reframe that period of my life and view it instead as a refining period where I was able to break free from harmful influences, get the help that I needed and rebuild myself into a more competent, confident and resilient individual. I now know that if I had not gone through those difficult experiences, I never would have been free to experience the love, joy and success that makes up my current life. Yes, sometimes it takes a passage of time before we are able to add positive meaning to challenging circumstances, but doing so can radically alter our perspective and even provide comfort and meaning to otherwise difficult experiences.
By implementing several of these tips, I have already been able to feel a radical shift in my perspective and as a result have felt my stress levels abate and my sense of well-being increase. I’m sure that the same will be true for you and that you’ll be feeling Fab-YOU-lous again in no time.