Connect. Create. Learn. Move.

By: Susan Imhoff Bird, LCSW

These four activities can actually change your life.

Human beings have a tendency toward complacency, toward settling for what is—whether we find pleasure in it or not. A great way to shake ourselves free of this often-unhelpful habit is to adopt the understanding that you are in charge of your experiences. No one else can make us feel an emotion, and we always have a choice in how we react to situations. 

Therefore, when we’re confronted with painfully uncomfortable or difficult circumstances—such as a global pandemic—it’s up to us to decide how we will respond. We may not be able to control external circumstances, but we have power over our internal experience.

By taking charge, we empower ourselves. And a simple way to take charge is to commit to activities that benefit us. When we structure each day to include experiences of connecting, creating, learning, and moving, we give ourselves expanded opportunities to feel not only empowered, but productive, engaged, joyful, delighted, and loved. We all benefit from such experiences. 

Connect

Reach out to extended family members, to a friend you haven’t visited with in a while, a neighbor, a colleague, literally anyone. Make the effort, extend yourself. Daily.

Create

Write a poem, cook a new recipe, draw a picture, knit, whittle, compose a song, journal, build a snowman, make bubble sculptures. Google creative activities if you’re stumped, but get those creative juices flowing. Daily.

Learn

Watch a TED Talk, take an online course, read about another country/religion/sport/idea you don’t know about, watch a video to learn how to repair something in your home, pick up a historical novel or a history book. Daily.

Move

Stretch, take a walk, go for a hike or run, ride your bike, participate in an online yoga class, do jumping jacks, jump rope, go skiing — there are countless options for adding movement to your life. Find something you enjoy, or learn to enjoy something you haven’t yet tried. A commitment to moving is vital to your physical and emotional well-being. Move. Daily.

Connect, create, learn, move — four activities crucial to your mental health. Give yourself the gift of understanding that you are in charge of your own experience: make it be what you want it to be.