Be Your Own Sunshine: changing your environment and what’s going on inside of you

“You cannot expect to meet new goals or move beyond your present circumstances unless you change.” Les Brown

Sometimes you have to be your own sunshine. We can’t fully control our environment and what’s going on around us, but we can change what’s going on within us. Ugly weather, pandemic, dealing with grief, loss, depression, anxiety, and a million other things make life so darn hard. Everyone is affected by something.

I was feeling the weight of all of the above. I thought about doing my run on the treadmill, as the local trails were being used by hunters and the weather has been sort of depressing. Acknowledging what was going on, what I’ve been feeling, I decided that I was going to change two things. My environment and my emotions or attitude.

Running outside verse the treadmill. I couldn’t run trails, but I could still choose to run on a quite road. I could get some light from being outdoors verse my garage lights where my treadmill is located. I could get fresh air, which was a bit on the cold side, but would help me feel more present and regulate emotions.

I’d make the change within myself. As I got dressed to run along a country road, I chose to wear the brightest shirt that I own, my highly motivating Badwater 135 crewing shirt. I have a mindset rule for myself when I wear a Badwater shirt, and that’s to have a good attitude and don’t be a wimp. I’d not only be visible to vehicles on a cloudy day, I was my own sunshine.

Another thing that helps reinforce making change is doing self-reflection. What are your “whys” and reasons? Don’t just think about them, list them, journal about them because they will be more concrete. I have my reasons for running typed up and they’re good to revisit and share with others. One of my many reasons for running is to finish Badwater 135. This goal is highly motivating. It helps me take charge and make needed changes. I’m going to choose to behave in a way that reflects progressing towards my long-term goals.

When you’re recognizing signs of grief, loss, depression, anxiety, etc… and don’t like what’s going on around you, make a change. It’s not healthy for us to remain in a low spot for long, things can worsen if change isn’t made. What can you control externally and internally? How can you help yourself? Do self-reflection. Write about your “whys.” Do things that will put you closer to reaching your goals.

Be your own sunshine when times are gray.

If you’re feeling stuck, reach out to a mental health counselor for support. It’s okay, really.

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