A Contentment Challenge During this Difficult Time

I Matter Contentment on Over 50 Feeling 40

Discovering contentment during difficult times is a topic of discussion you will find in many places right now as the stay-home measures linger on across the country.  So, I want to give you a challenge to think about.

Let me begin with a disclaimer.  I know for those who have lost loved ones during the pandemic…who have lost income during the shutdowns…this is beyond a difficult time.   You are not dealing with contentment issues, but survival and true grief and I understand it.  Of course, you are allowed to be upset , sad, and discouraged.  We have friends who are without income and know medical workers who are tired, weary and sometimes fearful. 

Today’s post is for the ones whose lives have been “interrupted” and are a bit disgruntled over it.  Martha Washington said, “The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.”

So often contentment is a mindset, a choice, or a changing of perspective.  Let me ask you to look at the first picture of my coffee on the patio.  What comes to mind?  Do you think…Ah, morning coffee on the patio, how nice? Or do you look beyond it and think Pam really needs a gardener! That dirt is so ugly!  Do you focus on the negative or on the positive?  There are so many negatives associated with this pandemic that it is easy to get caught in a mental trap with them encircling us like snakes.

Of course, I am missing so many parts of my life and experiences before this all began.   However, I am choosing to love the blessings in the interruptions as well.  For example, previously,  I spent at least 1-2 hours a day in heavy traffic back and forth to work.  To have that time to decide how I will spend it, is glorious!

A CONTENTMENT CHALLENGE

Flowers on my desk on Over 50 Feeling 40

What I want to challenge you with today, is to join me and find just five things to be contented about in your life right now…today!  I am going to tell you my five things, and when you are ready to comment, then share with us your five things!  Remember, this is about perspective.  Can you look at parts of your life that make you discontented and disgruntled and find blessings in those parts as well?  Give it a try….change the way you think.

  1. Flowers on my desk – Since coming home to work, I have enjoyed my desk at home with its window and fresh flowers!  It is not fancy by any means, but I really like facing the outdoors I can see through the shutters and love having fresh flowers to greet me each morning.  Behind me is some clutter, and pictures which STILL need to be hung, but I am facing the positive and not focusing on what makes the office…less perfect?  I am inspired here, so while I ,like all bloggers, am experiencing loss of revenues, I am attempting to use this time to discover new ways of going forward.  One day at a time…is the only way to do this. 

Working out on the stairs daily

2. Using the Stairs for Workout – When I first arrived home, I saw the stairs as my nemesis!  I knew I would be going up and down and up and down and up and down often every day.  My office is upstairs.  At the end of last week, I decided to turn them from enemy to friend.  I made a declaration to Mr. B that every time I went up and down the stairs I would do it with a weight…I started with 10 pounds…two five pound weights on each side.  I think the balancing of weights is the safest way to do this.  But, you need to stand up straight and carry them like you would with a traditional farmer’s carry.  I am now using this kettle bell, but I need to buy a second one so I can balance the weight.  Let me tell you…the difference I feel in my hips and leg strength is amazing after just one week.  Now the stairs are my helper and not an enemy! 

 

The beauty of the San Antonio Riverwalk on Over 50 Feeling 40

3. Appreciating the beauty of peace –  A co-worker shared this photo of the San Antonio Riverwalk last week.  This is a time when we would traditionally have seen it packed with tourists celebrating Fiesta, but right now, like so many other places, it is quite.  Instead of focusing on how sad it is to see it this way, I choose to focus on the beauty of the peace and the quite.  It will return to activity soon, but moments captured like this are so lovely.  It brings me peace to look at it. 

Spring Flowers on over 50 Feeling 40

4. Spring flowers are blooming –  I walked out of the house last weekend and the lantana in our front was blooming summer sun yellow!  Meet Malachi, my garden bird.  My local grandchildren often greet Malachi when they come over!  He is a member of the family.  I cannot think of a spring in years that I have enjoyed so much, because I took time to notice.  So often, my life is rush, rush, rush. 

Importance of exfoliation on over 50 feeling 40

5. LOVE this gentle exfoliate for the shower – when I went to purchase a body scrub a few months ago, I grumbled just a little that at the time I did not have a more expensive one in the budget.  But I thought I would give this one a try…well, I LOVE it and am on the second jar.  The aroma is awesome…especially in the shower and my skin feels great afterwards.  Highly recommend and have in the slideshow below. Before this time, I was in and out of the shower in lightening speed…trying to beat traffic to the office in the morning.  Now, I am actually enjoying shower time and great products have played a role…especially when they smell so good.

OK, there you have it.  Five reasons I am contented today…now how about you?  Focus on what you are blessed to have…and not what you don’t. 

“At some point, you gotta let go, and sit still, and allow contentment to come to you.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Pamela Lutrell for Omron Healthcare

Why is this an I Matter post?  Because your personal contentment, and joy for life matters to your mental health!  Contentment is a gift from God that He wants to give all of us.  Ask Him for it today. and choose to change your perspective. 

 

 

 

TODAY’S REMINDERS

Giveaway on Over 50 Feeling 40

Remember to enter the Lilla Rose Hair Accessory Giveaway, HERE.  The winner will be announced on Friday.  And remember, to enjoy the Fabulous Find Slideshow below…today with beauty products to help us feel….contented!

 

Remember, in our social distancing world, your smile is the way you send hugs! 

KEEP SMILING and hugging!

 

By Pamela Lutrell

 

28 Comments

  1. The first thing I thought of when I saw the first picture is ‘coffee on the patio! Wonderful!’ I personally think you have a beautiful yard, but I did see the coffee and the table and it was outside – so a major win there! I love this idea, and I agree with Martha Washington (and you). I read a book about her which was interesting as so little is really known, but what we do know is that she faced a mountain of challenges and met them with grace and humor and a positive outlook. So she was a good example to use! I have more than 5 positives, like I know you do, but here are mine:
    1. My family members are all healthy, we are in touch, and I even get to see my youngest son and daughter-in-law, and when my kids call me or text it is a huge positive blessing in my day. My sons are Mama’s boys (they admit it) so they call often! My grandsons even text me. Huge blessing there!
    2. I feel very good and positive that I am able to continue my workouts even though the gym is closed. I have added walks outside to work on those pesky quarantine pounds, and there is nothing quite so uplifting as being outside without distractions where I can think or just let my mind wander. (Incidentally, I once lost 10 pounds by going up and down the stairs for 30 minutes at a time each day. It was boring but boy did it work. And you carrying weights is really a good idea since you are doing it safely.)
    3. It’s getting warmer outside, gradually, but it’s happening. This is tremendously uplifting.
    4. Should have put this first, but my faith sustains me. I know that God is in control of everything, regardless of what happens around me, and that is a good place to focus. If I’m looking at and trusting God, my outlook stays positive.
    5. I have a wonderful relationship with my sister and we end up laughing together every time we talk. We go out for (drive through) coffee to catch up and are planning our annual shopping trip out of town, and if that’s not fun to think about, I don’t know what is!
    I could go on. I’m glad you asked us to think about this Pam. Sometimes we take things so for granted that we stop seeing them as positives but just the way things are. I’m going to use this exercise to be more mindful of counting blessings!

  2. chuckling, now i have the song about putting the lime in the coconut in my head….
    My number 1 is during the pandemic, the airlines i work for, offered an early out package that included health insurance, which hasnt been offered in several years. I jumped on that and now i have the luxurious gift of time.
    second, my husband had needed a hip replacement for some time, we were able to get that done right before they cut off elective surgeries.
    third, the lack of traffic, here in south florida its a bear, but lately i havent been screaming any epithets and that feels good.
    fourth, i may have a small house, but its continually disheveled, so theres always something i can keep busy with.
    fifth, i love to read, and i am really getting time for that also.

    1. Awesome, Sheryl…so glad you got the package offered to you for the early out! But…..now, I have that song in my head! Thanks for joining in.

  3. Thank you Pam & ladies! I am at my kitchen table with my latte practicing I Matter time while I listen to the rain here in Minnesota. Your words touched my heart! My cup runneth over with blessings!

  4. What a wonderful way to start the day.
    1. Spending time with family, some days a little more than I would like, but not having schedules, and things that we have to do, we are spending more time at the dinner table, watching movies, etc.
    2. Working out with my favorite Jazzercise instructors virtually. They really jumped in with both feet and are doing 2 classes a day that we can tune in and take classes.
    3. Time in the garden, both planting and enjoying.
    4. Cooking and baking. My 8 year old grandson is with us and we are baking cookies (I am trying not to eat too many. ) making candy and cooking dinner. It is a time that we will never get again.
    5. Long walks with my dogs and sometimes other family members. Being outside, getting some fresh air and seeing neighbors (from a safe distance) that we normally see out riding bikes, walking, and just being.

    1. Thank you, Tina, for sharing. I love to see so many people out walking in the neighborhood and lay eyes and smiles on people I have not seen in awhile..I agree that has been lovely!

  5. When I saw your coffee cup outside, I thought how lovely it would be to enjoy a cup of coffee on the patio. I never even noticed the background until you mentioned it!
    I would say that what is keeping me content (sane, really) is just trying to enjoy the things I miss when I’m working. I love going for long afternoon walks. I’ve even started braving the elements and walking on not-so-good weather days. Having time to read whenever I can feels like a gift. On a sunny day, even if it’s cold, I bundle up and sit outside with my book..heaven! I’ve caught up on house projects that were long overdue. I’m looking forward to getting outside in the next few weeks and planting some flowers. I’ve not been in a store for over 6 weeks, but there is an outdoor nursery near my house that I’m hoping to safely navigate. I had a few weeks where I didn’t have a plan for the day written down. Beside Zoom meetings for work, I was truly floundering which was starting to impact me emotionally. I’ve been doing better with that and if I have a plan, including what I’m cooking for dinner, it gives a routine and purpose for the day. I do need to be better about reaching out to friends who make me laugh and feel better. Finding contentment in these troubling times may sometimes be difficult, but certainly not impossible. I do love the Martha Washington quote!
    Have a wonderful day!

  6. I am so much happier having learned to let things go. “You’re about as happy as you make up your mind to be,” is a quote attributed to Abe Lincoln. We a so very lucky in so many ways. I no longer set goals, as I was finding that to be depressing, self defeating and stressful as I never seemed to measure up to my own expectations of myself. I’m retired. Who do I have to please but myself? However, if I do have a goal, it’s to live in the moment. Enjoy coffee outside for 10 minutes and just listen to the birds and not think about the dishes that need to be done. I still have a hard time seeing the flowers for the weeds, but that’s always a work in progress and always will be.

  7. What a lovely article. It’s positive pieces like this that truly speak to me.

    As a shut-in on the regular, I’ve learned to experience everything as blessings & “because I can” moments.

    * I’m thankful for washing dishes because I can. *

    So enjoy following your blog. Thanks for focusing on the wonderfully optimistic & positive in life!

  8. The first thing I saw in your photo was the pretty cup your coffee was in & that your patio table looks like mine. I didn’t notice the other things you mentioned at all. My contentment list:
    1. Noticing the daily changes in the leaves & blooming plants. I live in a condo & am not a gardener, but there is a beautiful flowering crabapple tree outside my gate that I can see from my kitchen table. The trees are getting their leaves, & they are a lovely shade of spring green.
    2. My family is well & employed.
    3. I can have the windows open a lot, & I wake up to the birds chirping & singing.
    4. Although I miss sporting events, I have other things to do. I love to read, listen to music & am journaling more.
    5. My church, like many others, offers online worship services. They are also offering other opportunities to come together virtually. We were unable to have our annual pancake breakfast & Easter egg hunt, but some members filled goodie bags with the candy & other items meant for the egg hunt. These were then delivered to four area hospitals for our heroic medical personnel to share. The thank you notes that were received were so heartfelt & brought such joy.

    1. Love this, Becky. We have really enjoyed online church and been there every week. So happy to have it as an alternative during something like this.

  9. Hi Pamela,
    Excellent post! I am healthy, and living in a resource rich home, with books and art supplies and a fine deck. My heart goes out daily to those who have lost someone, to the medical personnel I know, and to the many businesses that may not reopen. That said, I agree with you completely about finding contentment. So here are my five.
    1. Flowers are a constant source of joy for me, outside and inside. I love it when there are some in every room. At the back entrance right now, there are some pink beauties and in this room lovely yellow, out on the deck some deep red.
    2. A daily walk along our river front, or at the beach, or just around my neighborhood.
    3. Battling clutter for 2.5 years now, I was able to carve out a place in my developing creative space to paint. It’s not perfect and there is still a lot of work to do, but it is a space in which to paint!
    4. Tea. I have a lot of teas and it is a pleasure to have tea in a wonderful cup, versus in a travel cup on the run.
    5. I mentioned books, art supplies and a wonderful deck — being able to sit on the deck in a lounge chair and either read or use some really messy art supply that will get all over my art apron are pleasures impossible to describe with words.
    It is the small moments in our lives that bring us our greatest joys.
    Jane

    1. Love your last line, Jane..”It is the small moments in our lives that bring us our greatest joys.” So agree..and a little jealous of your river front to walk along!

  10. I enjoyed your post and now I am thinking about my blessings during this unprecedented time. BTW, I noticed the positive in your picture – not the negative. My glass is 90% full!
    1. We are both retired, so our lives have not really been impacted short of not eating out. We are grabbing a Whataburger and eating it in the parking lot!!!
    2. Thankful this is happening in the spring into summer so we can get out and enjoy the beauty and activity in the warmth and sunshine. (TX)
    3. Being awakened by tweeting birds.
    4. While my gym is closed, my yoga and Total Body Conditioning instructors are doing classes online. I love working out at home but miss the chat at the gym.
    5. Thankful that no family or friends have been impacted healthwise, thus far.

    I do miss sports and pray football season goes on as scheduled! The Cowboys did well in the draft, so hopefully……

    1. I think my whole family would grieve if there was no football season…we all love it. We were paying attention to the Cowboys draft and yes to Whataburger! Thanks for joining in, Terry!

  11. I loved your positive article. Your garden looks beautiful. Once while facing a family tragedy, a friend asked me to keep a thankfulness journal. I looked at her like she was crazy, and she looked back at me with knowing eyes. I did try her suggestion, and was amazed that I could find things to be thankful for during that time of despair. Money could not buy most of them!

    Yet another friend told me that everything was either an anchor or a sail. One can say that one cannot enjoy many of the good things in life because of the loss of a loved one. OR one can say one will enjoy those things FOR the loved one!

    Both these wise friends changed how I looked at life and death! In case somebody out there is hurting the same way, I hope they find comfort like I did

  12. Inspired by your post as well as all of the comments.
    1. My husband and I are still employed which also means we didn’t lose our health insurance.
    2. Started taking short walks on my lunch break and photographing the beauty that was right in front of me (that I never took the time to appreciate).
    3. Less traffic ( my commute each way is now 30 minutes instead of 60).
    4. God is on the throne and in control. …I am a daughter of the King!!
    5. My family is healthy and we are all looking forward to when we can be together again and touch each other.

  13. Thank you for such a positive post.

    1. I am so thank full that our business is still going, we own a wholesale bakery and most of our customers are closed down, we had to lay off 43 employees…. We are working at about 25% of what we were but, I am so grateful to see our employees on the front lines coming in three days per week.
    2. I live on a gold course and I have been enjoying seeing the sunsets, birds, and just nature in general here in the desert, in Palm Springs, Ca.
    3. Enjoying my walks and being able to go little further each day, I am now up to one mile. I have really bad feet.
    4. My children who FaceTime me so I can see my grandchild and talk to my babies, ages 4- 10 months all five of them.
    5. It was our anniversary on April 2nd, my husband brought me home everything to make a garden, zucchini, tomatoes, basil, cilantro, jalapeños, and a lettuce mix. Grateful to have the time to enjoy and watching my garden grow and my dear husband.
    Thank you Pam.

  14. Thank you for reminding us to count our blessings even during difficult times!
    1. Even though everything around us has changed, my trust is in a faithful God who never changes.
    2. Spring has finally come to the Canadian prairie!
    3. I’m one tiny step away from achieving an exercise goal that I didn’t think possible until recently.
    4. Hubby and I have been enjoying going for walks together almost every day.
    5. We enjoyed the first fire of the season in our backyard fire pit this evening and were able to share it (6 feet apart, of course) with our next door neighbours.

  15. Oh I so enjoyed reading your post today, Pam, and all of the awesome responses.

    I am 61, and for the first time in my life I have been furloughed and am collecting unemployment. It’s a shock, but I have much to be grateful for:

    1. For the first time I am able to drink my morning coffee at my leisure and not have to adhere to a schedule.
    2. I can take long walks around the neighborhood and enjoy the outdoors more often.
    3. I am thankful that my family is healthy and we are able to use social media to connect with each other.
    4. I can spend time with my cat — he loves me being around.
    5. I can cook and bake and have fun in the kitchen. My husband likes this one!

    1. Thanks for sharing, Beth. I know the way this is happening is difficult, but so glad you can see the blessings through it. Now, you have me wanting to BAKE!

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