Mental Wellness Challenge – 2021, June 04

Mental Wellness Challenge

This week my challenge is:

  1. Eat a meal of something that you wouldn’t normally eat. Make an intentional decision to step outside your “ordinary”.
  2. Pick a warm day. Go outside. Take off your shoes.  Wiggle your toes in the grass.  Connect with the earth.. feel the grass on your feet, feel it tickle your toes… enjoy this really simple means of grounding yourself to the earth.
  3. Pick up a pen and some paper and journal a little – or write a little on your computer – either way… get your thoughts out of your head, your feelings out of your heart and put them down on some paper. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar or any of that stuff, unless you wan to… this is for you.  Get the inside – out.  I know, from my own experience, how powerful this little exercise is.

How did y’all do?  I did OK.

On eating something out of the ordinary – my wonderful wife made up some nice meals that we picked up from one of our local eateries… not something I’d usually eat for certain – but it was tasty.  Certainly didn’t get into the exotic type stuff… but we did move outside our usual fare.

 

Grass – its about the only green thing I can grow really… and I like my grass… I like to walk in it, rub my hands in it… I love how – even on a smoking hot day – it’s still cool, supple and well wonderful!

 

OH YA – I burned up some keyboard strokes this week… for certain… lots of “stuff” in my life to think about, write about and carry along the way…


I lived in Fort Macleod when I was a kid.  I lived down by the river and the schools were pretty much at the other end of the town… so it was a long walk… in grade school, the walks weren’t quite as far – in secondary and high school – ya – pretty much the other end of town.

Most of the time – getting to school was just a regular thing… walk when I had to, bike when I could… if the weather was really cold – might even score a ride on the way to or from the school morning, or noon or at the end of the day.

What the heck does any of this getting to school as a kid have to do with my mental health experience the past week??  Well – my last week has been like good days – walking to school on a warm spring or fall day – getting along, able to enjoy the journey… that was – ah –  Saturday and Sunday… maybe even Monday… The rest of the week has been like walking to school in the dead of winter, facing into a Many Berries Chinook (a really cold wind out of the East).  Head down, looking at the path in the snow, just making each step get me closer to school or closer to home… (Its odd really – these were really some of the only times that I WANTED to get to school – so darn cold it hurt to be outside…)  The parts of the journey where the wind was blowing into my face – truly – all I could do was head down, trudge on… and that – well – that’s what the last few days of my week have been – physically, emotionally and mentally.

I know that life is the journey… sometimes it takes all I’ve got to just get to the end of the day… When I feel like I have been this week… the end of the day is my goal.. or the next few minutes is my goal… Very much like – just getting to school where its going to be warmer than the outside – was a goal… not where I sincerely wanted to be – but certainly more comfortable than walking out in the cold.

I had really great hopes for change and wellness with the new medicines that I was started on for my guts… Things actually seemed like they were improving… until – oh say – mid week this week… then I was right back to square one… INCREDIBLY FRUSTRATING!!!  There’s no option really – just keep on with what I am doing and hope that at the end of the course of treatment – 9 more weeks or so – that I will come out the other side – feeling better – or “walking in the warm sunshine”…

That’s the way it is with my mental health too… and I know I need to do a better job of identifying and appreciating the days when the walk is warm, even the days when the walk is rainy or a little blustery… because I know that there are days when the walk is terribly hard, cold, uncomfortable…  I’m not likely too different than other folks… maybe not too different than you are in this regard… I tend to “notice” the crappy days more than the nice days… and I need to change that.  I need to learn to appreciate all of the different kinds of days…

The warm days are comfortable and help things grow… (even me), the rainy days provide the moisture that my lawn needs to stay green (Isn’t it odd that –  grass get so much greener from a good rainy day than it ever does from sprinklers or the garden hose???) and the bitter cold of winter helps to kill off virus’ and bacteria that damage stuff – even me – and if the cold is prolonged enough, it can even kill off parasites that damage our forests and the like… So all of the types of weather – all of the days – have good points too them… Certainly – it can be too warm… just as it can be too cold…

So – I need to do a better job of looking for the reasons in my life to appreciate all of my days… the good and the bad… to look for the gems in the rubble I suppose…  This is going to take intention…

I’ll keep my head down and push on for now – the weather has to change for me… and I’ll intentionally look for reasons to appreciate the days – the journey…


My challenge for you, for the week is to:

  1. Look for your own reasons to appreciate each day. Maybe even write some of them down.
  2. Phone a friend… or a brother… or a sister… or your mother or father… connect with a part of your circle that you haven’t touched base with in a while.
  3. Take a bowl of ice cream, or a handful of raisins, or a chocolate bar if you are into that (MMMMM… Chocolate). Don’t just wolf the treat down.  Take little bites, think about the texture, the way the treat sits on your tongue, how it melts or doesn’t… Really taste the treat… the sweetness of the raisin, the way it starts to plump up on your tongue.  “Experience” the treat…  get all of your senses into it… how does it look, how does it taste, how does it feel when you swallow it… is it something you have to mash up with your teeth.  Get mentally into the treat – be there – 100% be there into the treat…

This is an exercise in mindfulness that Jon Kabat Zinn employs to introduce the idea of being mindful.  When I do this – I can get a little lost in the exercise – the “BITING COLD” of my walk to school is less prominent in those moments… its not daydreaming – this is 100% intentional…

 

So that’s it – I challenge you.