Sunday, July 19, 2020

Weekly Inspiration: Lift Up Your Spirits

I haven't had much time for this blog lately; life at my house has been busy, chaotic, stressful, and exhausting! Both adult sons are living at home, one just started his new job this week, we are still struggling to care for my 95-year-old father-in-law who has sharply declined in recent months, and my older son and I had an out-of-state doctor's appointment for him this week (about 5 hours in all for us). Whew. Oh, and this week, I was also trying to take an online course I'd signed up for a while back about running Amazon Ads for my book: I've been working on it all week (in between all the rest), and so far, every single one of the 12 or so ads I've submitted has been rejected. Why? Because using the words "chronic illness" is "unfairly targeting customers based on their personal characteristics"! Yeah, really! Anyway, all the activity and stress finally caught up to me, and I crashed badly on Thursday. Luckily, my crashes now don't last long.

All of that is a long way of saying that I often need a mood boost! Anything that makes me laugh or smile or lifts my spirits can help. This is especially true in these challenging times we are all living in; the constant barrage of news, politics, and conflict can really affect my mental and physical health. Sometimes, I need a break from it all.

So, here, I thought I'd just collect a few of the sources I turn to to lift my spirits. Please share your mood-lifters in the comments or on social media. I'm on Twitter and have a Facebook page for this blog, and I often post uplifting things in both places, so there's your first tip!

Chronic Illness Boosters

There are large, supportive communities for chronic illness on social media. I have a separate Twitter account and Facebook page for this blog, and that has worked out well. Those chronic illness communities are like my "safe spaces"--the places where I can go on social media to (mostly) avoid politics and conflict and instead find kindness and support. So, you can start by "liking" my Facebook page and connecting with me on Twitter, and from there, you will find others who are like-minded. A few particularly positive and uplifting people/accounts to connect with:

ME/CFS Self-Help Guru
(aka Julie)
Julie and I worked together for years for the ProHealth website (she edited their Inspiration Corner page, which I frequently wrote for), and she has very active social media accounts, all focused on optimism, support, positivity, and lifting the spirits. You can follow her on Twitter or like her Facebook page or visit her blog and in all of those places, you can always find joy, comfort, and kindness. She offers free courses and videos, as well as daily posts, all focused on self-care and inspiration. This post of hers was particularly helpful to me this week, and I shared it to my own Facebook page:

Not Just Tired
This is another of my favorite chronic illness people to follow online. She is well-known for her #MyDailyThankYou and #JoyinSummer (or whatever season we happen to be in) posts, and lots of people join in! This creates a whole supportive environment of positivity and kindness that I always find soothing and fun. You can follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page, or visit her blog (her latest post is actually about those two hashtags above and the positive impact they have had on her life). Then, join in the fun! Post your own gratitudes and joy with the hashtags, and you will find an entire community filled with uplifting posts.

One of my own recent #JoyinSummer posts

To Make You Laugh or Smile

Sometimes you don't need chronic-illness support, you just need something to lift your spirits and take your mind of all the bad stuff going on (or your own symptoms). A few things have caught my eye recently:

The Far Side is Back!
Gary Larson fans rejoice! The renowned cartoonist, famous for his many years of irreverent and hilarious The Far Side comics, is back from retirement! I guess he figured with all that's going on in the world, we needed a good laugh more than ever. He says he is now experimenting with digital cartooning. He kicked off his renewed career with a cartoon called The Taxidermist, which you can see at the link. From the home page of his website, you can laugh your way through plenty of classic Far Side cartoons or check out the section called New Stuff. A great place to visit for your daily laugh or to immerse yourself in silliness for a bit.

Seniors Pose as Classic Album Covers
I just saw this one this morning on the Today show, and it is so cool! A group of seniors in a retirement home in the UK posed as classic rock (and a few contemporary) album covers. They are all just awesome and guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Here's a sample below, from a David Bowie album, but you can check out all of these amazing seniors here. This is an especially good lift if you've been feeling old lately!

Hoda's Morning Boost on the Today Show
Each morning, at about 8:05 am (Eastern time), the Today show does a happiness boost after their 5-min overview of the day's news (which is just about all the news I can take these days). I look forward to these daily lifts, which can vary from a reunion that brings happy tears to your eyes to something sweet that makes you smile to something that will leave you laughing out loud and sharing with everyone you know. You don't even have to watch the 5-minute news recap first--you can find a whole page of Boosts on the Today website. As an example, this was one of the boosts that made me laugh like crazy and run downstairs to show my husband (turn up the volume):

Comfort TV and Movies

Sometimes, you just need to totally withdraw from the world, wrap yourself in a blanket, and comfort yourself with some good escapist TV and movies. This means different things to different people. For some, it's trashy reality TV (both of my sons are currently obsessed with Trailer Park Boys). For others, it's rom-coms or favorite old movies. And for others, it might be silly sitcoms. Me? I get my comfort TV from shows about high school students. I don't know why, but I love watching shows about young people, preferably those with a sense of humor mixed in with the drama. Maybe it's because teens' problems are so very different from my own.

I was a huge Glee fan and still turn to it when I need extra-comfort--it's not only got teens, drama, and humor but also awesome singing and dancing to lift your spirits. If you've never watched it before, I highly recommend it (currently available on Netflix). A more recent TV show with similar "feels" is Zoe's Extraordinary Playlist (on NBC website, Peacock, Hulu, and Amazon). It's a silly premise--a young woman can hear other people sing their feelings--but I loved watching it this spring because it's fun, colorful, funny, and filled with music and dancing (my review at the link above).

I was late to the game with Freaks and Geeks, but once I discovered it, I loved it. Unfortunately, it is no longer on Netflix (where I watched it) and is currently unavailable anywhere, due to some music copyright issues, but hopefully they will sort that out soon. For now, it is only available on DVD.

My recent comfort TV choices (and I have needed a lot of comfort TV lately) have been Never Have I Ever (on Netflix), about an Indian-American girl struggling to fit in (loved it!) and my current go-to, Atypical (also Netflix), a really awesome dramedy about an 18-year-old boy with autism and his family. I love this show! I am totally hooked on it. Besides being entertaining, it is an excellent portrayal of life with autism and also how a child with a disability affects the entire family (something we can certainly relate to). It's just really well-done. I am also watching an old favorite of mine, The Bold Type, about 3 best friends in their 20's who work for a fashion magazine in NYC.

What's your go-to for comfort viewing?

And what are your favorite mood lifters?


ME CFS Self-help Guru said...

Hi Sue, Thanks for including me in this post and your lovely compliments. Just wanted to let you know that the image you've attributed to me was shared from another page. Ashok Gupta's the meaning of life. Not sure it's original to them though as I've seen it running around many times before. Hope you are as well as possible and being kind with your expectations of yourself. Love, Julie

Sue Jackson said...

Oh, my gosh - thanks for the correction on the attribution of the Resting post, Julie - I should have asked you first! Thanks for straightening that out. I so needed to hear that last week!