Zest. It’s an enlivening pop of citrus-y goodness when bits of lime, lemon, or orange peel get added to a recipe. It doesn’t take much – a tablespoon or two – a dessert or cocktail is transformed.
Zesty people are like that too. Their enthusiasm and energy infuse liveliness into whatever situation or task is at hand. It doesn’t take much – usually one laughing, smiling, energetic person can elevate the energy in a room.
It bubbles up like a spring at the headwaters – zest rises from our souls and feeds the river of our life as it flows towards the sea. One reason clients sign up for coaching is their juicy enthusiasm is gone; they want to get their zest back.
Cultivating Energy and Enthusiasm
Our zest begins to dry up when our lives are filled exclusively with obligations, responsibilities, and “shoulds”. Zest struggles to bubble up in the sludge of the stories we tell: how hard things are, how hard we have to work, how overwhelmed we are.
3 Ways to Get Our ZEST Back:
Create a ‘Jolts of Joy’ list.
It is easy when we are feeling tired and overwhelmed to sit on the couch and watch a little TV. And, while that might be just the ticket some evenings, using this technique exclusively for escape and distraction will eventually fail to light up your soul. When we’re feeling tired and run down it is easy to forget what we like to do, that’s why having a list nearby, written when you were feeling more enthusiastic, is a great reminder. What are some activities which feel playful for you? Walking down the aisle at Walgreens I spied a pink and purple bubble-blowing kit. Guess what I’ll be doing when I need a playful moment?
So you made your list, but how do you get yourself to actually do the things on that list when you are feeling tired and out of sorts? Just 15 minutes. Before you give in to the urge to sit on the couch, encourage yourself to do one of the things on your list for 15 minutes. Pick an easy one to do, like calling a friend, or going for a walk around the block, or go outside in the back yard and do a few yoga stretches. Just the act of giving your spirit room for a bit of playfulness will begin to recharge you; you’ll likely find yourself engaged for longer than 15 minutes.
Tell a better story.
Telling the story of “I get to” instead of “I have to” is a profound shift and can open the channels for zest to flow through a little easier. What could be a privilege and honor instead of an obligation? For example, I was feeling a bit out of sorts cleaning the house on a Saturday until I took a break out on the deck, and sitting there, listening to the birds, and watching the clouds scud across the sky, I remembered, just a few short years ago, how badly I had wanted the life I have now…the guy, the house, the yard. I went back to my “chores” with a renewed spirit.
Living zestfully is an art and practice. While it might come more naturally for some than others, it is and enthusiasm we can cultivate for ourselves. So, get up out of your chair, turn off the computer, and choose a playful-feeling activity. Feed your soul for 15 minutes (maybe even longer). Tell yourself the story of how you are deserving of PLAY TIME.