I’ve had a couple of really rough days recently. I’ve been waking up on my days off and instantly feel overwhelmed. It feels like there are so many things to do and I have so little time to do them. Not to mention, I’ve gotten poor sleep and I’m still drained from working the day before. Then, I feel guilty for not appreciating time off with my daughter and it turns into a complete cycle of negative thinking. My body and mind have been begging me to make some changes, so I did and for the first time in a really long time, I woke up feeling good today. Here are a few of the positive steps I’ve taken.
- Cold showers
I’ve noticed a lot of buzz about cold showers recently, and after watching the first episode of “The Goop Lab” on Netflix, I was inclined to give it a try. I decided I would commit to taking one cold shower everyday for a week. Today I’m on day four and I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. Taking cold showers just wakes me UP in so many ways. It causes me to breathe deeply and focus my mind. After getting out I feel so relieved and relaxed. On days that I work, I typically take one in the morning, but yesterday I skipped it since I slept in a little later than normal. Honestly, all day at work I was looking forward to taking one when I got home, and it felt so good to cleanse my mind after a mentally exhausting day.
2. Less alcohol
I recently realized that I was drinking a glass of wine every night. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with this, but I wasn’t drinking because I wanted to. It had become a habit to just pour a glass of wine at night and some nights I would pour it and realize I didn’t really want it but I’d just drink it anyways because it was infront of me. Finally, last night I got home from work and I did not drink any wine (I made this decision after getting out of my cold shower…coincidence?)
This morning, I woke up feeling better than I have in a long time. It’s funny how obvious it is that if you drink every night you’re not going to wake up feeling your best in the morning, but somehow I didn’t realize this until I broke the cycle. It’s also obvious that when you’re in an emotionally sensitive state, drinking alcohol (a depressant) probably won’t help much! So, I’m going to be more mindful about drinking, and make sure I really want to be drinking before I do so. Also, hot tea or golden mylk are pretty soothing at night and don’t come with a morning headache.
3. Reframed thinking
I’ve been at war with negative thought patterns since I got pregnant and had “pregnancy brain”. Something about having brain fog just made me less grounded. Still to this day, I’m working on getting back to the grounded state I was in before pregnancy. One way I’m working on this is by reframing my thinking. For example, when I notice myself thinking something negative (such as: “this is annoying/frustrating; I hate this; I’m overwhelmed”) I ask myself what is causing me to feel this way and whether these thoughts are true. I basically look at the source of the negative feeling. If the negative feeling is true, I accept the negative emotions and try not to resist them, but also try not to feed into them anymore than necessary so that they don’t continue to spiral. If the negative thought is false, then realizing this typically makes me feel better.
Example: I’m feeling overwhelmed because I have a lot on my plate, that’s true. I’m a mom and I work a physically and mentally exhausting full-time job. Often on my days off I have a list of tasks that I “need” to get done, on top of the fact that caring for my daughter takes up the majority of my time, on top of the fact that I rarely get restful sleep, on top of the fact that my job is draining. Woo I’m getting exhausted just typing this. Well, these are all facts. Yes, I do have a lot on my plate and that is OK. A lot of the things that “need” to get done aren’t really that big of a deal. I accept where I am in life. I love being a mom and quality time with my daughter is the most important thing. One thing I do need to do, is savor this time with her. Also, I’m much more productive when I take action to get things done, rather than spending my time worrying about those things.
4. C R E A T I V I T Y
I’ve recently started to channel my creative energy again and it has felt SO good. This blog is the result of this step and I am so grateful to be here! Losing out on “me” time in the early days of becoming a mom caused me to put creative hobbies on the back burner and even kind of forget about some of the things that I used to love doing. A few months ago, I started feeling like I needed to start creating something, anything. I started journaling and brainstorming. A couple Instagram posts with long captions were the beginnings of me putting myself out there as a writer. Amidst a conversation with my sister, I told her I had been thinking about starting a blog and she recommended that I just do it, just write something and post it and keep going. I took her advice and here we are! It’s easy to be fearful of the opinions of others; I’d be lying if I said I never felt that fear. But it also feels so liberating to just let it go and be who you are without worrying about what others think. I definitely recommend it!
Overall, all of these steps are simply the result of increased mindfulness. I’ve asked myself what I need, listened to my body and tried to honor it. I’m also staying patient and trusting the process because I know that no change happens overnight. It will take trial and error, and many ups and downs still lie ahead because I’m only human and that’s okay!