December was supposed to be my month. My month to write all the holiday blogs I’ve always wanted to write, to conquer holiday shopping like a boss, to send out cards and learn to cook new recipes. My month to create all that cute Christmas content and take my kids on new adventures. Just listing all that “stuff” had me exhausted. And that was my exact problem. I had created this vision in my head on how the month was going to go, and it didn’t occur to me that I was setting up completely unrealistic expectations. Why do we do this to ourselves? Take social media out of it for a second. We as people, especially parents, set up the most magical time of year to be the most stressful. Why? Who’s winning?
Spoiler Alert: No One Is.
I had a problem. I was no longer motivated to accomplish any of the things I set out to do. My lack of passion had me thinking “Was I not cut out for this blogger stuff? How can others do this, but I just can’t?” And then it occurred to me that there was nothing wrong with my level of passion, but my list of priorities. I did not want to sacrifice my sanity to finish some silly tasks. I didn’t want to miss out on moments that mattered, simply to get the shot “for the gram.” I needed balance. So, I went online and googled how to fix my problem, because that’s what we humans do. I found a TON of articles, many unrealistic to my lifestyle. Sorry, don’t have 12 hours to meditate or access to funds to take a “me” trip to Costa Rica. I did however, find some helpful advice that I broke down into five key points to focusing on when trying to regain balance back into your life. These drastically helped me get back to a much better place, and I hope they help you too.
Get Enough Sleep
Seriously, I know this sounds super obvious. But it’s the one thing I put by the wayside the most. I work at night from home, and my youngest is turning three this month and still nurses. So sleep is already a tough thing to come by. When i do get a full 6-8 hours, I’m a completely different person. I’m pleasant, patient, and present. If you are like me, and can’t get a consecutive 6-8 per day, try your best to find time for a nap during the day. You’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle your life with a much better perspective.
Work That Bod
Get your body moving in some way, but with intention. That means, if you’re chasing your toddler around all day, that doesn’t count as a workout. You need to get your heart pumping at a high enough rate to release those good endorphins you feel from working out. Not an athlete? That’s okay! Just put some cute workout clothes on, open your front door, and take a nice walk around the neighborhood. Put those earbuds in and rock out to your favorite tunes while you’re at it! You’ll release some stuff that has you feeling blocked and come back a brand new person.
Find Time For A Greater Power
This can mean SO many things. I grew up in a religious household, but not one that was smothering about it. We attended church on a regular basis, and I was a part of its youth group. I had a complicated childhood, like most people, so having God in my life was a way to feel safe during a time I did not. To this day, when I’m feeling at my lowest, I head to church. I’m the one in front crying over nothing, because being there is straight therapeutic. This is my story. I know not everyone is religious, so finding a greater power can simply mean closing your eyes and finding peace in the silence. Meditation is such a powerful tool to finding balance again, although it takes a bit of practice. Whenever i hear complete silence, my mind starts racing and I can’t turn it off. So this method doesn’t work for me. Between meditation and prayer, you’ll find what works for you, even if it’s a mix of both. With all the noise of our world, silence is truly golden.
Write Down Your Gratitudes
It is so easy to head down the path of negativity when you’re dealing with anxiety or stress. You feel like the world is against you, so why not add to the list with more negative thinking, right? The way to combat that is to literally write down what you’re grateful for everyday for 14 days. Each day has to be a completely different list than the last day, but it must be things you’re genuinely grateful for. These things can be as simple as the air you breathe and the water you drink. They can be people in your life, your home or job, etc. There is something powerful in having to think about the positive rather than focus on the negative, and then writing them down. Try this for two consecutive weeks and watch your perspective change.
Get Some Much Needed “Me” Time
Other than the sleep thing, this is the other one that’s hard for me. From the moment my eyes open, my day is filled to the brim with life and work obligations, so when am i supposed to fit in “me” time? You HAVE to find the time. Getting away to somewhere simple like Target without kids can do a number on your sanity. Grab that venti Starbucks drink and walk around a bit. I also challenge you to treat yourself from time to time. Buy yourself those cute pair of jeans or treat yourself to a manicure. It doesn’t have to be too expensive, it just has to be for YOU and you only. Ever since having kids, I got into this habit of spending all my time and money and energy on them. Don’t get me wrong, they’re super cute and all, but I was sacrificing all my happiness for theirs. I was dropping hundreds a year on custom Disney outfits, but couldn’t bring myself to buy the cute bra I saw on sale. I had a problem with rewarding myself. You see, it’s not about the item, it’s about what doing that will do to your self worth. Putting yourself first can create a better mental space for yourself, and that will reward all areas in your life. Maybe you don’t have kids but are a big saver and don’t really treat yourself. Start to shift your thinking just a bit, because life is too short, and you’re totally worth it.
Mental illness affects so many, and in no way is this blog a prescription on how to fix that. I struggle daily with anxiety and stress management, but I realized that eliminating certain things from my life helped create more balance, so this is why i wanted to share. Remember you are loved, and it’s all going to be okay. We all have seasons in our lives, both good and bad. Don’t let it define you. You got this!