6 Ways to Spice Up Your Life!
It’s the spice in life that gives it flavour.
But where do you find your spice when life is feeling like unsalted porridge?
Beige, boring, lumpy and claggy. Life and hot oats become pretty dull when we strip out the fun and spice. It’s not that we ever wake up thinking ‘ today I am going to turn off the fun’, it just seems to happen over time bit by bit until we wake up and the groundhog day we’ve been living is too heavy and we need a change.
I know this happened to me when I was stuck on the treadmill of raising small kids, running a business and dealing with the grief, or not dealing with the grief I should say, of losing our third son. But I’m noticing it could happen again fairly easily now the kids are older, we have fewer demands on our time and there is so much Netflix to churn through!
So I’m writing this with both my present-day self in mind and also me of 15 years ago whose biggest wish was for 7:30 pm to roll around so I could put the kids to bed and not see them again, hopefully, till daybreak the next day.
So where can we find spice so our “porridge” is delightful and our days pack the punch that makes us smile on the inside?
This one sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? Spice up your life by getting still! Sounds a bit wrong but it’s so right for lots of reasons. Many of us race from pillar to post all day long that we lose our ability to just be still and present in the moment. We don’t actually need to ‘do’ anything to find more spice because it’s all around us all the time, all we need to do is tune in.
But I will suggest this stillness thing is done very nicely when accompanied by a warm beverage. A great coffee, brewed tea or spiced chai gives the experience a focal point and some yumminess.
The invitation is to brew your bev then take yourself somewhere you can be still. It may be your backyard or front porch, somewhere close at hand you can go prop for a few minutes and just be. This activity sounds like the easiest thing to do, but my friend I tell you it’s harder than it looks. While sitting still look around you and notice something that brings a smile to your face. Allow your brain who is tapping you on the shoulder to add x,y and z to your to-do list to back off just for 5 minutes while you drink in your surroundings and your brew.
The Japanese have shared with the world the idea of forest bathing, and it’s a spiciness that excites all the senses. The idea is that you take your bathers into the bush and ……no, it’s ok there are no bathers required for this one.
Find a spot in the bush. This in itself starts to spice things up for many. How long has it been since you’ve been out in the bush and had a picnic, walk or bathe? This could turn into a half-day adventure which turns the spiciness levels up to an 8 out of 10! After finding your spot in the bush, begin to notice how you are feeling on arrival and where you are. Take in your surroundings. You may like to walk or sit. In forest bathing, it’s not about a destination or completing a hike but a being in the bush to replenish your sense of wellbeing.
Moving your body here friend, not moving house, just in case you begin to get worried!
Well, moving house can spice things up too, but we don’t need to go to those extremes to bring in some colour and dismiss the beige.
This one is very much about choosing your own adventure. It doesn’t really matter what you do for your choice of activity as long as it requires you to move your body to achieve it. Think dancing, walking, swimming, gardening, tai chi, tennis, hiking, petanque or even pickleball (look it up, it’s a hoot!) The spice arrives in the form of happy hormones, the ones we generate when we move. It’s a virtuous cycle, yes the good kind of cycle that keeps on giving.
Before you tell me you haven’t got an artistic bone in your body, let’s just throw around a few ideas. Spending time in creative pursuits means we get to use a different part of the brain, a break from the rushing here and there type of activity we can get caught up in.
It’s restorative for our soul and helps us learn so much about ourselves in the process oh and it can be fun too! Your creative pursuits can involve your hands in art-making like: ceramics, jewellery making, scrapbooking, crocheting, mosaicing, paper mache (I’m just listing out the things I’ve delved into over the years!) to your voice like: singing, spoken word, to your brain (hmm pretty sure you need your brain for all of them, but let’s just let that slide) novel writing, journaling, poetry, your body: dance, acting and the list just goes on!!
The spice has arrived when you find the time has whizzed past and you can’t believe you’ve been immersed for hours.
Whether it’s in the school canteen, donating blood, cooking the sausage sizzle at the footy club or becoming involved in your local neighbourhood project doing something for someone else makes you feel great and has an impact on those you help.
At times we can become too focused inwardly and it’s when we look out at the bigger picture in life we can know greater joy. Giving back to your community in a capacity that is reasonable is a great way to spice things up.
Be with others. We came into this world looking to connect and belong. Spice and flavour tend to be in abundance when we are in the company of those who fill our cup. Positive peeps who share our passions and interests are great to spend time with. For more on who to surround yourself with you might like to read my blog ‘5 People To Have In Your Corner’.
In all the activities above, consider inviting a friend to come along for the ride, or if you’d rather do those solo, jump on the phone and have a chat about what you’ve been up to with a friend. Continued social activity and positive connections have been shown to improve our overall health and help us live longer, what’s not to love about that!
Lastly, remember the adage “variety is the spice of life”.
If things begin to dull then look for something else within these 6 areas to change slightly to add a bit more variety and to raise the spice level again. Trialling and experimenting is a big part of the fun, so lean into creating some change because your porridge is about to get a whole lot more interesting.