Below is a re-print of an Appreciative Living monthly ezine, along with a link to two others. To sign up for these free monthly ezines, and also get a free mini-book on Getting Started with Appreciative Living, enter your name and email in the box above or below.
Ezine #26: The Day Life Changed

Ezine #14: The Gift of MS

Ezine #28: Stress-Less This Year

Dear Friends –

This year is looking to be a very busy year for me, and it seems I’m in good company. A lot of people I talk to are feeling overwhelmed and wanting to reduce their stress, which is another way of saying they want to increase their joy. If you are one of these people, then this is the ezine for you.

What follows are 4 quotes that spoke to me on the subject, and how I plan to incorporate the wise insights going forward. Check it out and see what fits for you.

Quote #1:
“The trouble with life in the fast lane is that you get to the other end in an awful hurry.” – John Jensen

Oooh – that’s right. I have to remember it’s about the journey and not the destination. It’s one of those things I know in my head and forget when I look at my overwhelming to-do list, or walk up to a sink full of dishes. It’s hard to connect with the idea that the “small” moments I’m washing the dishes or planning my workday are really what make up my most of my life. The key to reducing my overall stress level is to create more joy in doing my daily tasks. Not just in finishing them.

Mental Note Going Forward: Look for ways to enjoy doing the items on my to-do list rather than rushing through them to just get them done.

Quote #2:
“You always have time for the things you put first.” – Anonymous

This is one of my all-time favorite quotes and I recently called on it. I found out about a month ago that I have celiac disease, which requires me to eliminate gluten completely from my diet and cook almost everything I eat from scratch.

At first I thought there was no way I would have time to do all the extra shopping and cooking required, and then I realized it was a question of what I put first. I raised my diet to the top of my priority list, and have been eating healthier in the past month than at any other time in my life. The interesting thing is that I’m actually getting more done because I feel so much better and have more energy.

Mental Note Going Forward: Taking extra time to eat better or do anything that improves my health and well being is a good investment that pays off well beyond the time it takes. (Another way of saying that not having enough time to eat healthier or exercise is just an excuse.)

Quote #3
“My life has been filled with terrible misfortune, most of which never happened.” – Montaigne
This one cracks me up, and helps me remember not to get caught up in emotional drama. Like those days when I have a major deadline for my business, one of the kids gets sick, Jon is out of town, my aging parents need help, and inevitably a neighbor calls to ask a favor.

If I can stay calm and centered and present, it’s amazing how I can move through each task efficiently and lovingly, get clear about what to do and not do, and have a busy, yet peaceful day.

And don’t let me kid you – there are also the days when my evil menopause twin takes over and it all hits the proverbial fan. I think this is why they invented chocolate. And maybe wine, which thank goodness, are both gluten-free.

Mental Note Going Forward: The best way to handle hi-stress days is to remain as calm and centered as possible, let go of the drama, and just do what needs to be done in each moment. And when I fall short of this ideal, learn what I can and love myself through whatever happens.

Quote #4:
“Anything worth doing is worth doing half-as%!#ed.” – Rachel Remen

This is another quote that brings a smile to my face as I occasionally struggle with perfectionism. For some people it’s procrastination. Either way, this is a great reminder that if you have something important you need to do, it may be better to do it half-baked than not at all.

This happened to me over the past holiday season in a small way. For at least five years now, my daughter and I have been wanting to bake and decorate a home-made gingerbread house together. Each year we eagerly watch the decorating contests on the food channel, and talk excitedly about what we will do with our house. The next thing you know, Christmas sneaks up on us and it doesn’t happen.

This year my daughter took matters into her own hands. Unbeknown to me, she went to the store with my husband Jon, and bought one of those kits that comes complete with preservative-laden gingerbread house pieces and candies and everything. All you have to do is stick the pieces in the plastic base and glue it all together with the included frosting-ish gummy material.

We put it together in about an hour one evening, and my daughter had a ball. I was reluctant at first, but got more excited as I saw her enthusiasm building. In the end I realized this “inferior” house was far superior to the one in my mind we’ve never made.

Sort of like the Christmas cards I still haven’t sent. I’ll be the first in line to buy that kit ?

Mental Note Going Forward: When I’m overwhelmed with things to do, let go of doing it all perfectly, and let good enough be good enough.

And that’s how I plan to stress-less this year.

Jackie Kelm

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