Do you ever have low days, or maybe a week of feeling out of sorts, or you find yourself in a little funk? I am not talking depression or anxiety, those are serious, medical conditions, and in no way is this post suggesting there are easy fixes to conditions like that. But maybe it's the weather, or things going on at work, or your family are unwell or you haven't been sleeping well, perhaps you had a disagreement with your partner, or the garden is looking sad and grey, maybe it's just feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders, oh, there are many little or big things that can set this off. If you're like me, I don't like it, I work hard to be optimistic, and sometimes I just have to tell myself that it's time to get over myself! Here are some of the things I do:
1. When I'm feeling indignant ("They can't do that to me!") I try not to take things so personally, and realise a lot of things that go on in the world are not about me, per se! Then I remind myself of all the horrible things that are being done to other people in the world, and you know what, whatever is going on in my life is important to me, but it's nothing compared to slave-labour, to child exploitation, to domestic violence, to bullying etc. I remind myself that this is life, things happen, usually for a good reason, and no matter how I feel about what someone else is 'doing to me', I try to empathise with their side of the story, and about their lives. OK, admittedly I might rant & rave for a little while, then I move on...
2. When I'm feeling overwhelmed ("It's all too much!") Some days I power through... I am earth/craft/sole food mama, I am domestic goddess, I am superwife, I am woman, here me roar! Other days, well, there is a lot less roaring, and more moaning (not of the superwife kind, you dirty minds). Nope, there is me feeling like everything is a struggle. So, I remember the wise advice I've received here on this very blog... I ignore 3/4 of the things on the list. I stop looking at the neglected corners of the garden, or the project on the sewing table. I focus on one thing (whether that be some gardening or sewing or just hanging with the kids) AND I remind myself how bloody lucky I am to even have a garden, a sewing machine, kids. I stop looking at the forest, and start hugging a tree!
3. When I'm feeling exasperated ("For goodness sakes!)" Firstly, I wonder why am I a person who gets so easily annoyed or exasperated? I think, well, that's just who I am, and other people have their own personality traits too. I accept that this is who I am, and yes, at times that means I will be the red-faced, frazzled mother, swearing under her breath in the toilet about the daily injustices I find in my domestic duties (which my husband finds amusing... most of the time!) Then I take a deep breath, perhaps have a quiet cup of tea, and let go of the need for perfectionism, or need for completeness. If I am exasperated by things outside of my control, and have at least tried to influence the situation positively, then it may be as simple as trying to avoid the situation that is making me exasperated. I find having someone to talk to often helps these situations, even if that person has been the one laughing at your desire to have the washing up put away in the 'right' places!
4. When I am feeling hurt or offended ("I have an awful feeling in my stomach") This is a hard one, because I try to act all tough and confident, but I am not. I am a sensitive person, and also, a people-pleaser, for some reason I do want approval/ recognition/ to be liked. But I know you can't please all the people all the time! I tell myself all the good things about myself, I have my husband tell me all the good things about myself, and then I hug my kids, spending time with them makes me realise that their approval and their love is what matters.
5. When I'm feeling lethargic & run down ("Can someone do my housework & wrangle my kids for a while?") I am learning that these are the times to do nothing. Yes, sometimes what I need is a good kick in the bum, but I think I've always pushed myself that extra step, when my body & my soul were trying to tell me to SLOW DOWN. A day or two, or three, of ignoring the projects, of ignoring the housework, even of ignoring the kids a bit, and numerous cups of tea (and the odd treat) helps a lot. I give myself a break.
6. When I am feeling upset about the state of the world ("How can this be? This isn't right!") This is the time when I stop reading, stop watching, stop researching, stop taking it all in. You might think this is when I should be taking action, but the thing is, I am often doing as much as I can. I know the world isn't fair, I know there is so much I could be doing, but getting myself in a tizzy about it won't help. Clearing my mind means I have a better chance of doing something positive. It might sound flippant, but I read novels not articles, I watch movies not doco's, and I focus on looking after myself, my family & my community in a 'think global, act local' kind of way.
7. When I am feeling disappointed in myself ("Why did I let this happen?") Because you're human, you silly twit! Because you can't control everything, and because shit happens. Just like Dr Phil recommends, I switch out the negative self-talk, and try to be kind to myself... because calling myself a silly twit is resoundingly positive. Oh well, I'll have to keep working on that!
So you can imagine that if it's a day or a week where I am feeling all these things, that I spend a lot of time talking to myself, having cups of tea and moaning to my husband... oh, and hugging my kids! Lately I am also fond of telling myself, "The obstacle is the path." Now if only someone would sweep that path, and tidy that damn obstacle up a bit, I'd be happy!