You remember when you were a kid and there always seemed to be a reward for hard work? It made the long trek worth it. There was ice cream at the end of that arduous hike. There were those weeks of studying for tests, but then there was always summer break to look forward to. You got lollipops at the doctor’s office and an allowance for doing chores. There was always something to help pull you through to the finish line when you felt like giving up.
But then you got older. Maybe you or your loved one was diagnosed with an illness and things just got hard. There were no rewards.
Here’s what I learned. As adults, no one’s going to do it for us so we’ve got to do it for ourselves.
Sometimes there are positive consequences baked into difficulty. We get the thrill of finishing a race or applause from giving a presentation. Or we venture out of the house and attend a party. Even if we stayed for only an hour, we risked discomfort and gained courage and confidence from facing our fears.
But if you’re running the midnight oil and there is no end in sight, you could be heading for burnout or even depression and anxiety. Set up self care stations to keep you motivated in the short and long-term.
Maybe this looks like planning an exciting vacation every year with friends or attending a yoga retreat solo. Maybe it’s about scheduling the one thing that brings you joy or spending the afternoon doing nothing.
Make it as important as anything else you’ve prioritized. Yes we’re meant to do hard things, but we’re also meant to enjoy our lives.
If summer is your least favorite season, discovering new activities may help shift your mood. Going ice skating or taking a trip to somewhere where it’s winter. The possibilities are endless if we look outside the box.
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