Winter in Chicagoland is long.
There are days I wonder if winter will ever end, if daylight will ever linger past 4:30 in the afternoon, if I will ever be able to dash to the mail box without freezing or sloshing through snow.
For people who experience SAD (seasonal affective disorder), winter can be especially gruesome.
That is why I loved when Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy shared a lesson she learned from Barbara Brown Taylor’s spiritual memoir Leaving Church.
Most of us know what’s killing us, and can articulate it, if asked. Some of us are overwhelmed with hurry and worry; some of us face crushing poverty; some feel paralyzed, unable to move.
But few of us stop to note what’s giving us life.
~ Anne Bogel, Modern Mrs. Darcy, 4 Minutes in the Nude
Anne started asking herself the question what is saving my life right now in the fall. Similar to keeping a gratitude list, she wrote down her answers. In early February, Anne invited her readers to link up and share what is saving their lives.
I made a list and started writing a post, but I was so overwhelmed by the dark days of winter that I never finished it. However, the act of writing that list saved my life.
It slowed me down enough that I began to refocus on what was saving my life rather than the things that were killing me. I stopped watching the sun sink low at 3 in the afternoon and began to notice the things that lifted my spirits throughout the day.
This process helped me so much that I decided to refresh my list and share it with you. I hope it helps you too.
Five things saving my life right now:
1. Essential Oils.
A year ago I would have laughed if you said I was going to turn into an avid essential oil user. But I have.
Nearly every day- multiple times a day- I run my Young Living diffuser. Sinus issues and headaches be gone! Dog smell be gone! Bright cheeriness, deep breathing and joy enter in!
Yes, essential oils are saving my life.
2. A fresh look in our family room.
When John and I were first married I rearranged furniture and put new color on our walls regularly. John often teased me that he had to double check the apartment number over our door to make sure he was in the right place.
Since moving to Illinois, I haven’t changed things up very often.
One night after a long conversation with John about how much we hated the layout of our family room, that old spark to move things around ignited. I got to work and moved everything.
I can not begin to tell you what a difference moving things around made.
3. Phone Calls.
People rarely talk on the phone anymore. Most of the time I don’t miss it, but sometimes I do.
I don’t have little people running around making noise all day long. I don’t go to an office every day and hear my fill of chatter. My house remains virtually silent from the time I rise until dinner because my people are not home and I need quiet to write.
This leaves me CRAVING human interaction.
Over the past few weeks, several friends randomly called me. The simple act of laughing, listening and celebrating on the phone helped me feel connected in a way texting simply doesn’t do.
Although I shared that essential oils have done wonders for my headaches, the month of February was an exception.
It wasn’t the oils’ fault, but that’s another story.
My ability to focus was severely limited. I could not read for more than 10 minutes at a time. For an avid reader that is the definition of hell.
5. Fresh starts.
A few weeks ago I shared how my Erin Condren calendar gave me a new beginning. But that isn’t the only fresh start I’ve been given.
Every day, I get to start over. The past is passed, and God is still calling me forward. So, even if it feels like winter on the outside, on the inside it feels like new life and gentle spring breezes.
Fresh starts save my life every single day, and I am so grateful.
Perspective really does matter. I can spend my time focusing on what is bringing me down or I can spend my time focusing on the things that are giving me life. The choice I make makes all the difference in the world.
Have you ever thought about what is saving your life right now? If not, give it a try. In fact, leave a comment and share at least one thing that is saving your life right now. I can’t wait to see how many things bring us joy.