Someone’s Gotta Say It


This Month: Try the Walking on Sunshine Challenge

By Marina Sampanes Peed
Executive Director of Mosaic Georgia

This is for all the helpers out there.

Those who step up to support others, but struggle to act for their own well-being. If the concept of making time for yourself feels like an indulgence, or a sign of selfishness, please keep reading. The whispers to keep juggling it all, to stay constantly busy, to never be still (and chill), to measure your worth by your productivity – they are old tropes. Maybe your super-hero cape is tied too tight. Your compassion for others is legendary, but do you extend the same grace and kindness to yourself?

Research psychologist Kristin Neff, PhD, a pioneer in self-compassion, has shown the practice not only benefits your physical and mental health, it also increases your capacity to care and share. It’s a win-win. I encourage you to learn more at Self Compassion website.

Someone’s gotta say it, so let it be me: You are not your best when you are running on empty. You’re not fooling anyone – maybe just scaring them a bit.

The truth is, excelling in your endeavors – whether in work, volunteering, school, raising children or caring for senior relatives – requires you take periodic breaks and be as kind to yourself as you are to others. You’ve heard this before: You can’t drive on an empty tank/battery. You can’t bike far on deflated tires. You get the picture.

This is also true: You will not lose your compassion and commitment to helping by experiencing lightness and joy. Indeed, you NEED the lightness to be reminded WHY the work is worth doing.

You, dear reader, are cordially invited…

to join me in the Walking on Sunshine Challenge – a personal action plan to rediscover the lighter side of life to recharge your awesome self. This is supposed to be fun – no pressure to fit one more thing into your overflowing schedule. Instead, let’s focus on simple wonders, humor, and joy that lift us up rather than weigh us down.

Here are some simple ideas to get you started:

Embrace Nature:

  • Take a leisurely stroll through a nearby park or nature reserve without listening to an audiobook, podcast, or music. Gwinnett County has many parks with varied walking trails. See if you can visit all of them this summer!
  • Listen to the birds chirping (how many do you hear?), feel the sun warming your skin, and marvel at the beauty of the natural world.
  • Find the moon every night for 30 days.
  • My favorite: walk barefoot on the grass, lie down and gaze at the clouds.
  • Rainy day? Get out there, jump in a puddle, and laugh.

Humor Journal

  • Start with one week: make a note (yes write it down) of every amusing observation or experience. It could be something you over-hear at a restaurant, store, or restroom. You may even start thinking about things that make you giggle – write it down. After one week looking for it, you will find humor all around you. (I take pics of signs that amuse me). If you enjoy it, keep going. This can be a private hobby, or you can invite others in on your secret humor investigations.

Get Creative:

  • Write fortune cookie messages with friends,
  • Channel your inner Julia Child or Joe Randall or Ming Tsai or Jamie Oliver and prepare a dish in your kitchen as if you are on a cooking show. Set up a video cam or photo of an audience to keep you on task.
  • Go to an art museum, botanical gardens, or art galleries. Drink it in. One birthday I went to Atlanta Botanical Gardens by myself. I wandered as I pleased, stopped and smelled the roses, and used all my senses to be alone with beautiful nature and my thoughts. It was lovely.
  • Go listen to live music or a theatre show or comedy or spoken word show. Seeing other humans express themselves creatively is a gift.
  • Create a new playlist of music that makes you happy or lifts you out of your seat to jam.


  • Connect with friends you’ve been meaning to see. Go old school and make a phone call. Have your calendar ready. Make a date for coffee/tea, a bite to eat, a walk in the park.
  • Get a friend or two to do the Compassion Challenge with you. Each at their own pace. Some of these ideas you may choose to do together.
  • Host a Movie Night: Gather your friends or family (in person or virtual) for a movie marathon featuring your favorite comedies. Laughing together can be incredibly therapeutic, easing tension and fostering connection.

By making time for humor and joy, even in the midst of life’s challenges, you can replenish your mental and emotional reserves, returning to your tasks renewed and refreshed. So go ahead, give yourself permission to unplug and unwind. You deserve it. And everyone around you will appreciate it.

Let me know how you are Walking on Sunshine this month. Email me at with Walking on Sunshine in the subject line. There may be a prize for the experiences that really impress! Photos are bonus points.