Lighten Up – by Christine Callahan-Oke

I strive to live consciously and with an open heart.  I’m grateful for life’s beauty and its challenges, and know that the challenges are what really help me grow.

Living in the moment is important to me, though I find it doesn’t always come easy and it takes constant practice.

Sometimes I simply think too much.  Question too much.  Feel too much.  Take myself too seriously.  So every now and then, I have to step back and allow myself to simply be.  To lighten up.  And once I’ve done that, I can get back to mindfulness – with renewed energy.

Here are some things I turn to when I need to lighten up:

Do something out of the ordinary – Get out of the same-old, same-old.  Do something unusual, unexpected – you’ll find that’ll usually help clear your head.  Take a different route to work.  Try something you’ve always wanted to try.  Reach out and call someone you’ve been meaning to contact.

Unplug for a day – put your smartphone away and turn off the computer and TV.  (*gasp*)!  Try it, it’s incredibly freeing.  It’s also a fantastic way to give yourself some quiet headspace without the constant onslaught of external input that reaches us through our devices.

Get your groove on – put on some upbeat music you can’t resist, get off your butt and start dancing!  Not much of a dancer?  Who cares?  Dance with abandon!  Allow yourself to get carried away.  Have FUN!

Be silly – kidshave so much fun just being, well, kids.  They’re creative, funny and imaginative.  They cook up the wildest activities without worrying about what other people think.  Allow yourself to be a kid again.  Forget about appearances and how you “should” look and act! Dance in the rain. Jump in puddles. Jump on the bed. Act ridiculous and giggle helplessly!

Help someone – evena simple act of kindness, such as smiling at someone who seems to be having a tough day, can have a huge ripple effect.  You’re making a difference and taking the focus off of yourself – plus it feels great.

What about you? What are some of your go-to ways for lightening up?