Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Small Changes, Big Payoff

I'd like to wake up one morning (the sooner the better) with no pain, no fatigue and no dryness. I am realistic enough to know that that is not likely to happen, no matter what I do. There are things I can do to make the life I have more comfortable, and some of those things are very small changes.
My husband and I like to lie in bed and snuggle for a few minutes before getting up in the morning. He has a beard that feels like sharp sandpaper when he lays his head on my shoulder. It leaves a red irritated area on my skin that lasts for a few hours. I had a brilliant idea yesterday morning, after 14 ½ years of marriage. I folded a piece of Kleenex and put it between his beard and my shoulder. Voila! Small change, big payout- my skin did not get irritated.
Too often, when we don't like our circumstances, we complain and argue, cry or sulk, or suffer in silence. Instead, we can step back and look at the situation, and try to find a small change or two that would make things better.
Here is another example. One of the tasks I do when we are at our cabin is maintain a trail I built on our property. In the past I used to try to keep it clear of growth. I would spend several hours a day out there, then be sore for days after. I worked on the trail about 1 ½ hours Sunday, for the first time this season. Rather than trying to clear the trail, I just pulled up the taller plants. Monday was in the low 90's and humid. I did not work on the trail at all that day. I don't tolerate heat well these days, and a cleared trail was not worth the soreness. The change? I am less obsessive about the trail. The downside? The trail is not as clear. The payoff? My body is much happier than it would be, but the trail is still passable. Definitely worth it. (This example also fits with my recent post on giving yourself permission.)
Jars have been getting more and more difficult for me to open. I no longer try to open them with my bare hands. First, I went to using a rubbery square thingy that gives me better grip. Now I use a jar opener that is shaped sort of like a nut cracker, that has 4 semicircular rubber lined sections in graduated sizes. You fit the jar lid in the size opening it best fits, and the opener gives not only traction with the rubber, but also leverage. Jars open easily with the help of this device.  There are other styles of jar openers available.  I still use the rubber square to hold the jar itself sometimes, but usually don't need it. The change? The right tool for the job. The payoff? For a few dollars, I can do a common task much easier, with less strain on my body.
Now its your turn. Pay attention as you go through your day. Is there something that annoys you? Frustrates you? Is difficult for you? Hurts you? What can you change about it? Remember that asking for help and saying 'no' are legitimate ways to change a situation. So is learning to accept that there may not be anything you can change, other than how you let the situation affect you. (With the trail, a big part of my change was accepting that: a. I could physically no longer maintain it as I used to, and b. That was okay.)  

1 comment:

  1. I find the “b” section of that goal much harder than the “a” portion. Accepting that “it’s okay” can be hard when one has allowed the pursuit of perfection to get into one’s head. I’m getting better tho, promise.