Here we are! Only 30 days remain! Have you been able to keep a positive mindset about life these past two months despite the obstacles? Now that summer feels like it is finally here, the last third of this exercise should be a BREEZE!

Reward Yourself

Day 30: Reward Yourself.

It’s the last month of this positivity mindset ritual. Can you keep the momentum going?

You’ve made it through what might be the toughest 60 days of 2020. You deserve a medal. You’re not going to get one, but you deserve it.

How would you like to reward yourself this Victoria Day milestone? Here are a few on-budget ideas:

  • A special dinner using your family favourite recipes.
  • An afternoon bike ride or leisurely stroll, or enjoying your favourite craft or hobby.
  • Coffee tailgate on the driveway to catch up with friends and neighbours you’ve been missing.
  • Netflix and popcorn.
  • Chocolate anything.
  • An evening soak in the tub complete with bubbles and soft music playing.

However you choose to reward yourself for getting through these past two months, take the time to think about how amazingly resilient you are, and how much more you appreciate your wonderful life now.

Prepare for Launch

Day 29: Prepare for Launch.

Physics eluded me in high school but fascinates me now. Everything is energy.

Think about that. What we call ‘real’ matter is such an infinitesimally small amount of actual particles it shouldn’t “exist” at all! (If you feel the need to chase this white rabbit, here’s a great article… https://www.turnerpublishing.com/blog/detail/everything-is-energy-everything-is-one-everything-is-possible/)

There are many reasons to mention this concept, but here is the primary one: Since everyone has been “on lockdown” for so long, and even re-opening has to be staged, there is going to be a lot of pent up energy that will need to be dispersed.

Much like the arrow being drawn back before it can launch, we – travelers, businesses and tourism operators – were ‘pulled back’ because of the sh**storm of this spring.

When that arrow launches – the need to travel, explore, spend, visit, get-the-helloutta-Dodge – the leap forward will be incredible.

Things will remain close to home and quiet through the rest of 2020… but next year everything could be even BETTER than before!

There are no guarantees of course, but if this spring taught us anything it’s to plan for the worst, and hope for the best. If your plans – personal or business – can cover off those two extreme scenarios, you’re well equipped for whatever comes your way next.

Choose Your Words

Day 28: Choose Your Words.

“Choose your words wisely, for they shape your reality.”

Words can heal or they can hurt. They can uplift or they can beat down. They can carry deep insight or shallow insult.

The best quote found when researching this subject was “Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out.”

The words we speak – to others and to ourselves – have such incredible power. Like yesterday’s introduction indicated, words too have energy. The words we speak, write, post, text, they all carry significance. The most off-the-cuff remark in your opinion can cut someone else in half. And you might never know you did it.

Too many people talk to hear their own voice. Their words ring as shallow as their heart, without thought and without consideration. Too many attack with little regard to how their words are received and perceived by others. Too many are so busy loading up their verbal machine gun with more ammo having never really listened to the other person. They’re just looking for an opportunity to start getting their gun off once again.

Before you speak, ask yourself: Is this something I would want someone to say to me? Would I speak to someone I love this way? Is this going to help the situation?

If the answer is no, then do yourself and everyone else a favour and keep your comments holstered.

Watch the Content of Your Cup

Day 27: Check the Contents of Your Cup.

Sharing something I saw on Facebook because this is too good not to include.

Imagine you are holding a cup of coffee and then, someone bumps into you or shakes your arm, and you spill your coffee everywhere.

Why did you spill the coffee?

“Because someone bumped into me!!!”

Wrong answer.

You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup.

Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea.

*Whatever is inside the cup is what will spill out.*

So, when life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out.

So we have to ask ourselves…

“What’s in my cup?”

When life gets tough, what spills over?

Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility?

Anger, bitterness, harsh words and reactions?

Life provides the cup, YOU choose what’s in it.

Today let’s work towards filling our cups with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation; and kindness, gentleness and love for others.

(Shared from a friend whose cup is full of goodness and inspiration.)

Plan a Stay-cation

Day 26: Plan a Stay-cation

A lot of new terminology has come out of the crisis this spring. While we are sick to the gills of a good deal of these terms, one that can get us at Everything Olds excited is “hyper-local”.

Listening in on the Travel Alberta webinar yesterday about the Research and Insights on the Tourism sector in Alberta and across Canada, it was clear that the majority of Canadians will not be venturing too far for the balance of 2020. That means the focus will be on what we have to enjoy close to home.

We are so fortunate to have a lot of variety and diversity here in Central Alberta. Particularly now that things are slowly re-opening, we can poke around a bit more to see what is in our own back yard.

These will be some of the catch phrases that we will be using a lot over the next six months. Explore Local. Explore Your Own Back Yard. Explore MVC, and as always our hashtag #myolds as we claim some of the cool sites and experiences, shops and eats right here at home.

PSSTTT… are you a part of the visitor economy?

May 24 – 31 is Tourism Week in Alberta. This sector has been hardest hit by the events of this spring, and Travel Alberta is working on their (re)Bound strategy. Check out their sneak peek video on ideas and inspiration from our tourism sector as they look ahead to how they can best out the other side of this experience.

Travel Alberta is hosting five virtual events next weeklook here for all the details and links to register.

Geocaching

Day 25: Go Geocaching.

To carry on the Stay-cation theme from yesterday’s post, going geocaching could be one of the best ways to #explorelocal and #exploreyourbackyard

If you’re new to geocaching, it’s like a treasure hunt. Using a mobile app from geocaching.com you set out to find a cache of various sizes, contents and themes. It’s a great way to explore the community!

The app lets you know if the container for the cache is outside. A description, details and hints are provided before you look for it. It provides levels of difficulty, what the terrain is like to access it, and the approximate size of the cache.

To step up the level of interest, you can find caches with ‘trackables’ in them. Trackables are physical game pieces that move from geocache to geocache. They could be geocoins, tags, t-shirts, anything!

When you download the app and start your account, you set out to find your caches and record the ones you locate. You can opt to move trackables or not. As a member of the geocache community, you can participate in events and challenges, such as the Memory Lane Souvenir Challenge that starts June 1 and goes through to January 3, 2021.

Let’s hope for sunnier weather this weekend so we can get out and find some treasures!

Have a Picnic

Day 24: Have a Picnic.

There are health benefits to going on a picnic with the family this weekend, including:

  • Being in nature reduces stress and boosts your mood.
  • Vitamin D from the sun helps our bodies absorb calcium. (Not so fun fact: 93% of us have a Vitamin D deficiency! Too much screen time!)
  • Fresh air freshens the blood
  • Family bonding and communication time.

When was the last time you packed up the kids and went to a park or a riverside, claimed a picnic table or dropped the tailgate, and enjoyed an al fresco style lunch?

We found some suggestions to make the packing and unpacking a breeze:

  • Pack spices in straws for easy transport.
  • Use a muffin tin to hold BBQ condiments (onions, relish, ketchup, pickles) or an egg carton for sides like boiled eggs and chocolate-filled strawberries.
  • Use muffin liners to keep bugs out of open glasses – invert over the top of the glass, push a hole through the liner and viola!
  • Use individual mason jars for portioned salads and desserts.
  • Always pack dessert. A simple one is strawberry-brownie kabobs, but if your picnic is doubling as a birthday party, this looks like a must: https://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/cake-batter-truffles

Bring lots of water to drink (and wipes, of course). Have a refreshing lunch and enjoy some time in the great outdoors.

Manage Expectations

Day 23: Manage Your Expectations.

When we set expectations, we tend to be disappointed.

This is because reality rarely meets our expectations. We have “ideal” scenarios that play out in our minds, but more often than not, they are unachievable. The gap between our expectations and the outcome defines the depth of our disappointment.

Those of us who juggle large projects or manage others feel like orchestra conductors, keeping all the plates spinning merrily along. As long as the plates keep spinning (everything going smoothly and people all cooperating and doing their part) life is good.

But if someone isn’t able to keep up the tempo, or a plate loses its balance on the pole, that one comes crashing down. Quite often, when one goes down, so do others. Result? Disappointment. The performance did not go according to plan.

People with high expectations tend to be ones who expect a lot from themselves, which then spills over into their relationships. If not managed reasonably, they can be prone to perfectionism. Let’s be honest: that’s the epitome of unrealistic expectations.

Expectations can be good because they can motivate us to take action and make positive changes in our lives. We simply need to be mindful to make them realistic expectations. Expect people to be doing their best, not yours.

We are coming out of this isolation and we will need to keep in check our expectations of how we think things “should” be. The term “revenge trips” are already being planned. People are starting to gather. Some are wearing masks, others not. Some want the Canada/US border opened in June, others want it to stay closed.

It’s guaranteed that your expectations will not coincide with reality at some point. Take a moment to decide how you will bridge the disappointment gap.

 

It's OK to Not Be OK

I struggled with this post. I had something completely different planned for today, and it will appear next week.

Then I had this big long post written about my own personal battle with depression and how things have been tough so I know what you’re all going through. That’s sitting on a file on my desktop instead.

It is hard to write about crap emotions. But they are there. So let’s talk about them.

This weekend I finally broke. Even after all my warm, fuzzy, syrupy posts to keep everyone’s spirits up, I fell apart, despite my best efforts to keep my sh** together.

Keeping positive vibes going when you’re struggling with your own mental health and feeling attacked for simply trying to contribute something uplifting – well, it’s bloody exhausting.

There’s a lot going on and we are all feeling pressure in many areas of our lives – work and business, home and family, not being able to do the things and go to the places we SHOULD be able to.

So rather than sweeping our sh** under the rug again, and “putting on a brave face”, let’s be honest: This f**king sucks. All of it. Yeah, things are opening and activity is picking up… but the negativity also just levels up in order to drag us back down.

The bottom line of all this is: Don’t hold it in. Find a way to let those tears flow. Let it out – without causing you or anyone else any harm! Release the pressure valve. Allow yourself to have a blue day.

I know how hard it is to keep getting back up and walking with your head up when a pack of Rhesus monkeys are throwing their feces at you and cracking your kneecaps with clubs. But you have to get up and limp along. Ask for help if you need it. As Winston Churchill is quoted as saying, “If you’re going through hell, KEEP GOING.”

You are meant to be here and you are going to make it. As a friend lifted me up from the darkness this weekend, she shared a quote from “A Course in Miracles”:

“Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists,
Herein lies the peace of God.”

Since I use humour both as a shield and as a coping mechanism, I rely on it to lift my mood, because laughter truly is medicine. Thus, I simply cannot leave this post on a down note.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the Dammit Doll. It will be in production next weekend. (Click on image to enlarge.)

Dammit Dolls

Just Keep Swimming

Day 21: Just Keep Swimming.

Who doesn’t love Dory? The happy, loveable blue tang with the short term memory issues.

Dory’s little song – that is definitely going to get stuck in your head just by looking at her picture – reminds us that even when life gets us down, we have to keep going. It’s a lesson in fortitude and resilience.

For her, it turned out to be a personal story too. In this interview, after she came out as a lesbian in 1997, her show “Ellen” got cancelled as ratings dropped, and she couldn’t get any other gigs. She lost everything.

“Nobody wants bad things to happen to them, but … I look [back] at that now and especially that low point, and … I am nothing but grateful for it. Because it gave me layers that I wouldn’t have had.”

So when we feel overwhelmed, or distraught, or emotionally exhausted, we can’t give up. You can do it. Be like Dory and remember that all ya gotta do is just keep swimming. You will grow from the experience.


< Days 40 – 31: Read here.

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