I've been fragile this week. Between the windy spring days, dealing with multiple family expectations for the Easter holiday coming up, and a miscommunication with my spouse, today I found myself in a swirling negative thoughts mindset that I haven't visited for a long time.
Thankfully at this point in my life I have some self care tools and I thought you might like to know what I do to move through this kind of feeling.
Today I wanted to be the happy mom dyeing eggs with my kids, and instead I was feeling like the insecure and sad mom with a messy house and no motivation to deal with the dishes, the kids or any of it. My anxiety level about various family interactions, my family responsibilities and basic tasks was rising higher and higher when I remembered the RESTART I used to do when the kids were little and I felt my day spinning into chaos.
Here's how I restarted today.
How to R.E.S.T.A.R.T.
You must take care of yourself in order to care for anyone else, but self care can feel like a tall order.
Luckily it doesn't need to be complex. A short pause in your day may give you the ability to shift perspective. When a day is chaotic, or when it's started out all wonky and you're not sure where to go next, pause. You're allowed a do-over. You're allowed to restart.
RESTART is: Rehydrate, Eat, Step-outside, Thankfulness, Action plan, Realistic next steps, Take a deep breath.
If you do these items in order it should help you clear some of the mental sludge and find a new perspective so that you can restart. Yes, it would be awesome if I found a shorter acronym, but that's a task for another day. At least it starts with REST, which is the most important part 😉 if you can remember that you're half way home.
- Rehydrate – drink a glass of water.
- Eat a snack that includes protein like celery with nut butter, lunch meat with tomatoes, or a trail mix. This will balance your blood sugar which is critical to help you be able to get calm and think straight.
- Step outside – barefoot if possible Look at the sky. Breathe.
- Thankfulness – Think of three things you're grateful for; shifting your mind towards gratitude can help interrupt negative thought cycles.
- Action plan – You need something to focus on instead of trying choose between the hundreds of should-dos. Ask yourself: what is the next transition in your day that you must take action on? (nap time, picking up a kid from school, meal time, work deadline)
- Realistic next steps – Now that you know what you must take action on next, make a list of the top three realistic things to do. These may be as simple as: make myself a cup of coffee, give children cheese sticks, let the dog out to go pee. Sometimes we just need to let go of our glorious and complex plans. There are parts of my life where I've had to let go of plans again and again and again. Young children in particular are very unpredictable. Plans shift and get wrinkled and spit up upon – that’s normal. It helps to remember you're the grown up and you get to make a choice on how to proceed.
- Take another deep breath and get going again. You've got this. You're awesome.
Many of the most difficult days are caused by my own expectations of myself. Sometimes we need to restart and reset our expectations. Trying to be perfect is a lose/lose game and you don't have to play it. We can all tell ourselves a hundred stories about how we could be doing better, but in the end those stories are crap. This is about what you need right now for yourself and your family. Start from there.
(And yes, the eggs got dyed in the end; I managed to stop being the the scrooge of Easter.)
All my best,
Want more encouragement? You may like these posts:
- Best books for inspiration when you're sick of parenting
- 10 phrases to build yourself up and get rid of your negative inner critic.
- How to Pull it Together When You're Parenting on Empty – fantastic post by my friend Amanda Morgan. Pin it to return to when you need it.