It’s come to my attention, through the mouth of my husband, that I’ve been more irritable than usual lately. Now before you start making any assumptions about women and the changes our bodies goes through in a 28 day time period, let me just agree that yes I can be the most impatient and unpleasant woman in the world for a day or two every month. (Or maybe even a week or two every once in a while…)
But that’s not what we’re talking about here. I’m talking about the irritability and frustration that comes from not following my daily prayer, gratitude, and writing routine.
When someone (usually the hubby) points out that I seem a little out of character lately, I go down my health checklist. (Yes, I’m a total nerd and have lists and checklists for everything. I even have pros and cons lists too, but that’s for another day.)
- Have I worked out lately? Yes, a few times this week.
- Have I been eating foods that me feel like crap? Some pizza and birthday cake…oh yeah, and a donut and kolache the other morning (Getting warmer)
- Have I written my Gratitudes lately? Yes, but I missed two days this weekend
- Have I been doing my daily prayer? Yes, but again I missed two days this weekend
- Have I been doing my daily reflection writing? Yes, but I’ve missed a few days
*Obviously, I need to work on eating better and making time for my daily writing and prayer.
This may sound silly, but I’ve learned to rely heavily on this checklist to determine what in the world is wrong with me and how to remedy my mood. Most of the time it’s poor diet choices and lack of prayer. Sometimes it’s not being able to workout for a week. Sometimes all of these boxes have been checked and I’m still out of whack. When that happens, that’s when I really dig deeper to figure out what’s going on.
I hope this helps you evaluate your mental, physical, and spiritual health. We all go through cycles of ups and downs, but staying in the “down” too long can lead us on a dark path. Please take care of yourself today!
In. Out. Deep Breaths.
This is how I get through tough times throughout the day. This may sound silly, but don’t discourage the idea until you’ve tried it. I’m amazed by how often this one simple thing completely calms me down or at least distracts me enough to chill-ax a little bit.
Many stress factors affect us daily. Our jobs. Our kids. Our families going through a tough time. Taking time to care for ourselves. And many other situational stress points that keep us tightly wound if we’re not concentrating on breathing.
The metaphorical sense of taking a deep breath is just as important as the physical one. What I mean is that sometimes we need to a step away from the situation more so than we need to take a breath. Maybe your “deep breath” is walking into the other room and sitting quietly for a minute or two. Maybe it’s taking a walk around the block. Maybe it actually is stepping outside and taking a deep breath of fresh air.
There’s a reason why “I need to get some fresh air” is a thing. Removing yourself from a situation and taking in a deep dose of oxygen can invigorate your brain and help you think more clearly.
Be aware of your own self. Know when you need a break. Know when removing yourself for some fresh air will do everybody good. Take long and slow deep breaths. Fill your body with energizing air that will clear your mind. Remind yourself to be present in the moment. Allow yourself to admit you need a break. Then, come back recharged and ready to go.
This Holiday season, I’ve felt motivated to give more. Give more time. Give more money. Give more service. I’m not sure if it’s gratitude or perspective that’s got a hold on me, but I feel extremely blessed.
I feel blessed to have a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. I feel blessed that my husband has a good stable job, that he actually enjoys. I feel blessed that both of my parents are alive and very involved with our family. I feel blessed that the few friends I have are there for me when I need support. I feel blessed that my children are all healthy. I feel blessed that my husband and I work together as a team, no matter the obstacles we face as a married couple. I feel blessed to be loved. I feel blessed to be alive.
Blessings, gratitude, and perspective don’t come from material things. I hope that you can find the blessings already present in your life today.
One day at a time…
Let me tell you, finding gratitude when you’re hungry, tired, and impatient is an extremely hard thing to do. How do I know? Recently, I attended a birthday dinner at a nice restaurant (with three kids mind you). The thing lasted three hours, when we could have been in and out of there in an hour and a half! Talk about testing your patience.
There were tantrums, melt downs, complaining about the food not being ready, and those were just from me. The kids really did an excellent job of eating bread and throwing crayons around the restaurant, but I quit caring about forty-five minutes in. It was almost like an ultimatum to the wait staff. “Okay, you get these kids fed or else I’ll be forced to give them each a bread stick and have them reenact a light saber fight by the bathrooms.” Zzzzzsssshhhhhrrrrroooooom….zzzzsssshhhhrrrroooommmm.
Anyway, the point of this whole thing is to say I’m grateful for the people I was stuck with for three hours. There were people I’d never met, people I hardly get to chat with, and my immediate family (minus one brother) was all in one place. I couldn’t think of better people to be stuck with. (Especially the sweet lady sitting next to my son claiming she has six grandkids and she knows how kids are. Thank God for that lady!)
You can find something to be grateful for in every situation. Every single one. You may have to look harder when it’s cold, wet, rainy, and you’ve lost your umbrella. But I promise you they are there.
Do you ever have a horrendous night of sleep that you know will drag you down the entire day? I’m talking about babies screaming and crying, kids kicking you in their sleep, the dog barking in the middle of the night, and weird dreams that jolt you panting into the darkness of your bedroom?
Yeah, that happened to me last night. And I’m trying my hardest to not let all of those affect my mood for the entire day.
So how can I turn this around? Just like you turn anything else around…get some perspective and focus on gratitude.
I’m grateful that my kids want to sleep with me when dad is travelling. I’m grateful that we have a large enough bed to hold our family all in one spot. I’m grateful for air conditioning and fans so when I have two other little people’s bodies pressed against mine I don’t sweat to death. I’m grateful for waking up this morning with a tiny face right next to mine. It reminds me that they’ll only want to do this for a few more years.
I hope you can learn to always take difficult situations or even just a bad night of sleep and turn it into something for which you are grateful.
I don’t take medicines unless I’m burning up with a fever or the pain somewhere in my body has finally got to the unbearable threshold. I’ve always been this way. Vitamins, supplements, and the occasion vitamin C are my daily pills.
But there are people who are dependent on medications they truly need (not the ones that are toxic and destructive). If you asked one of these people how important their medications are to them, I’m sure they’d tell you they are a completely different person without them. They need them. They physically and mentally don’t feel like themselves unless they get the proper dose each day.
This is how I feel about gratitude and prayer.
Sure, I can live without doing it. I won’t die. I’m not going to collapse one day because I forgot to get down on my knees and pray to God above. But I know I won’t be myself. The signs won’t show up immediately. It’s okay if I miss a dose once or twice ever so often. But it can be detrimental to my well-being if I don’t get my “meds” for several days.
I turn into a person my family doesn’t recognize. I turn into a person I don’t even recognize.
Gratitude and prayer are my stabilizers. They keep me grounded and my head clear. Their ability to steer me in the right mindset has proven more effective than any dose of anything else.
Try it some time. I promise it can do wonders for your mind, body, and soul.
Imagine a woman in hair rollers with her bathrobe on, a glass of whiskey in her hand, and her constantly screaming at her kids. Now replace the hair rollers with a pony tail, the bath robe with yoga pants and a tank top, and the whiskey with her third cup of coffee. What do these two women have in common? They still scream at their kids. To my own sadness, I’ve become the latter one.
I’ve learned to manage a lot of things in my life that I hadn’t been able to control before. My ability to show gratitude, my willingness to help others more, and being empathetic to people going through tough times has dramatically changed my life. But patience and perspective, I still struggle with these every single day.
Sometimes I think, “Maybe I need a shock collar. As soon as I start yelling, I need someone to zap me. That’ll break the habit pretty quick.” This alone is a much bigger improvement than previously thinking the kids needed shock collars. Don’t worry. I never tried it. I knew they would have them figured out in a nanosecond anyway. 🙂
So how do I stop yelling at my kids? How do I forgo becoming this hideous beast of a monster? The answer is simple: take a deep breath. Don’t be so reactive. Don’t say the first thing that pops into your head. Don’t let the kids control your emotions. Don’t let the dog control your emotions. (He gets yelled at a lot too. He’s lucky he’s a puppy and adorable.)
Goal for today and the rest of this week: NO MORE YELLING! Oh wait, sorry. no more yelling.
Progress not perfection. One day at a time. Deep breaths. Patience, Love and Tolerance. (My mantra I will be repeating anytime I’m about to lose my shit.)