Katie doesn’t have any experience with this topic—that’s why she’s opening up to all of you in hopes of learning more!
I have to start this article by saying I am extremely grateful to be surrounded by wonderful people. I know I am blessed with an incredible support system. This week and last, I had some great conversations and hangouts and I had that giddy feeling from laughing too much. During one of those conversations, a friend shared a quote from her youngster -- "You have to stretch your gratitude muscle." Not only is that the cutest thing to come out of a 5 year olds mouth, but it's so wise and true. Kids may say the 'darnest' things, but they also say the most honest things.
I've been focusing on how to say 'no' when I need to, but I also need to remember to say 'yes.' Sometimes traveling, or planning a party, or planning to even attend a party sounds exhausting. And sometimes it's smart to stay home. But other times it's smart to push through because you're actually not tired; you're drained. You're drained from your repetitive lifestyle and not having anything to look forward to. You're drained from the hustle and bustle of doing things that have to be done and not giving in to what wants to be done. You're drained from giving so much everywhere else and not giving back to yourself.
I'm not only talking about saying yes to the parties, trips, and large commitments, but also to the small moments throughout your day. Yesterday, I think I sent a million emails. Every time I clicked over to my email browser another email conversation had started. I had a random playlist on and was trying to plow through as much as I could. Then, one of my favorite songs, "Swimming in the Flood" by Passion Pit, came on and I got a huge wave of inspiration to explore some movement (I am a former professional modern dancer, dance instructor, and choreographer).
It feels wrong to indulge, even for 10 minutes. Part of me says, "But there's this email and that document and this transaction to followup on and that phone call..." But my soul says, "Your job is to be whole, happy, and fulfilled. However you find that is valid and beautiful." I have a lot of ways I know I can find that wholeness, happiness and fulfillment-- my support system of friends and family, sunshine, creating, and moving. But the question is if I let that component run my life or if the hustle and bustle component creeps in and takes over.
When I think about that lovely nugget of wisdom - stretch your gratitude muscle - I just think of everything I'm grateful for and how I can spend time with it. Not in a way that is forceful or scheduled, but just listening better to when my soul wants to. I want to spend time with my support system, with the sunshine, with creativity, and with movement. Not to toot my own horn, but I like the wording of 'spending time with _____________.' It makes it sound like we need each other...and we do.
Say no to things but also say yes to things. Take a weekend vacation or have dinner with a friend. Maybe after you read this article, don't click over to your to-do list. Instead, go for a walk or listen to an old album. Stretch your gratitude muscle today!