Simple Solution to Keep Positive

mom and twins

Mom and Twins: Photo by Donnie Ray Jones / CC BY 2.0

Awareness is the first step to change. The way we think and speak on a daily basis has a big impact on mood and happiness. Check out this neat graphic about Moms & Happiness.

One easy way to keep positive throughout the day is to change negative language to positive. It is about saying the same thing using different words that keep your brain positive throughout the day.

The following are some examples of how to reword statements to create a positive spin:

I feel tired today after work —- My body needs a break

I won’t forget the diapers today—-I will remember to put diapers in the bag

Don’t hit mommy—-I like when you are gentle with mommy

Not a problem—-Sure, I can help

I can’t do anything right—-I made a mistake

Cleaning up negative statements throughout the day can boost your overall mood.

  1. Start by becoming aware of frequently used “negative” words and phrases (don’t, won’t, can’t, shouldn’t, problem, terrible, worthless, wrong, bad, failure, never)

 

  1. Become creative about changing your daily language like above (I will never succeed—-I will do my best to succeed…This is a challenging problem—-I will work on a solution….I feel like a failure—-I will improve next time)

 

  1. Use positive language when you think and speak. If you catch yourself, replace negative language with positive.

 

Check out this link to read more ideas using positive language in your daily life.

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The Motherhood Paradox

cropped-polar-mom.jpg

Photo by Karilop311 / CC BY 2.0

When a woman becomes pregnant, she often wants to learn as much as she can about raising her child. She may read articles, blogs, research and books. However, she can find herself becoming overwhelmed with the information as she is bound to find contradictions with everything from feeding, sleeping, naps and more.  The deeper she digs for information, the more inconsistencies she may find. Everyone from doctors, research and personal blogs have a different way of what is best.

It all becomes confusing. She may question, what will I actually do when the baby comes?

Personally, I had to take a break for a while from all the information. It was beginning to create anxiety for me, instead of reassurance, which is often the initial intention.

One night while I was still in the haze a few months in, my son’s cries broke the night silence. I sat up and move toward his side. A simple thought crossed my mind. “My son needs me.” All the jumbo of information on co-sleep/cry-it-out/crib sleep/breastfeeding/solids/nap schedules/on demand was lost. It was a simple moment of me as a mother knowing what my son needed.

I have learned how powerful motherhood instinct can be. I still continue to read and educate myself on various viewpoints of raising children, but first trust I my instincts as my son’s mother.

Mamas: it does not always go smoothly, and we will surely make mistakes. Just know this – motherhood instincts and love combined with knowledge can go a long way.

Motivation Monday: Write it down

pencil

Pencil: Photo by Andrew Taylor / CC BY 2.0

It’s Monday, and you have a chance for a fresh start this week. What wellness goal has been on your list for a while, but keeps slipping away?

One way to increase your odds for achieving a goal is to write it down. As simple as it sounds, writing a goal down instead of keeping it in your head can increase your odds of achieving it. Grab yourself a pen and paper.

For example, I have been wanting to begin regularly strength training again. I used to be very effective at regularly doing this, but since becoming a mother it is much harder to fit in to my routine. Creating a written plan that is specific and measurable can help instead of thinking in your head “I want to work out more”.

 

Write down your goal:

I will weight train this week.

Make it specific:

I will weight train 3 days this week.

Make in measurable:

I will weight train for 3 days for 20 minutes each time this week.

Make it timed:

I will weight train 3 days for 20 minutes each time during the week of August 8th – August 14th.

 

With a written goal that you can measure, you will know on August 14th if you have reached your goal or not. This process of writing goals down can help in many areas of your life.

Read more here about the power of writing goals down.

Mindful Moments

lake superior

Mothers become masters at juggling. They care for the needs of children, partners, hopefully themselves along with balancing jobs, caring for the home and more. Stress is part of the chaos and hustle of daily life.

One way to slow down and press pause is to take a mindful moment. Mindful moments are when you focus your attention to the present instead of worrying about your future to-do list or fretting about a past mistake.

I was at a Lake Superior beach (my place of bliss) yesterday with my son and it was a beautiful evening. One of the best ways to have a mindful moment is to focus on your senses.

I saw my son tossing rocks in the lake, the sun moving toward the horizon, and people enjoying the water. I heard the waves breaking on the shoreline, laughter, and birds calling. I felt the warm sand beneath my feet and breeze against my skin. The scent of fresh air and beach was all around me. In a mindful moment such as this, stress melts away, for a brief instant.

When you engage your mind in this manner, it automatically pauses the racing mind. These pauses can be done, anywhere, at any time. It does not have to be in your place of bliss. You could be at work or home when you just need a moment.

First, focus on what you see. What colors are around?

Next, what do you hear? Sometimes it helps to close your eyes.

Focus on what you are physically feeling. Are you seated or standing? Feel the ground under your feet or your breathing.

Finally are there any scents or tastes to take in?

The racing of your mind may pick up where you left off, however, taking a small pause can help take the edge off of an overwhelming day.

If you want to read more about mindfulness, check out these articles:

Back to the Present

The Art of Now

The Space between Reality and Expectation

hold hands

Holding hands: Photo by Daily Sunny / CC BY 2.0

Before becoming a mother, a woman has expectations in her mind about how it will be.

For example, she may think “I’ve always wanted to have a strong career throughout my life.” However, when the time comes to head back to work she is consumed by heart wrenching longing to be with her baby.

On the other hand another woman may have always wanted to stay home with her children, yet three months in she has a realization she would like to go back to work. There are many variations in between. This is just one example of where the space between reality and expectation may fall.

In this space, thoughts creep in such as “I did not expect it to be like this.”/ “Why am I feeling this way?”/ “Does this make me a bad mother?” / “So many other women do it, why is it so hard for me?

I invite you to have self-compassion when you are experiencing this space. The truth is, all mothers are new mothers first and having not been there before, how does one know what it will be like? I assure you that these thoughts and feelings are common. It can be helpful to be aware of the difference between expectations and realities. Letting go of self-judgement during this time is important.

It does not make you a bad mother if want to work or a bad career woman if you want to stay home. Just different than you thought.

You are not less of a mother if it is harder than expected or more of a mother if it comes easy. Just different than you thought.

It doesn’t mean you won’t have a wonderful relationship with your child if it takes time to bond, when others say it was an instant connection. Just different than you thought.

Different than you thought is not “good” or  “bad”; just different.

This article about self-compassion gives a list of 15 times a parent can use self-kindness instead of criticism.

Here is another article about 20 ways to use self-compassion instead of criticism.

Be kind to yourself in this space mama.

Wellness for Mothers: Part 8

flower

Flower: Photo by Tim Green / CC BY 2.0

Creating a Wellness Plan

In the first post of this series the question was posed: Why is wellness so important for mothers? After reading about the six dimensions of wellness, what do you think?

If you need a refresher about the six dimensions, click here.

My answer to the question is this: Mothers are amazing caregivers. For everyone else. Often a mother will leave her health last and end up feeling drained and exhausted.

If you take time to care for your needs and find wellness, you can become a more effective caregiver. Happy mothers play with their kids more. Happy mothers care about healthy relationships with partners. Wellness is not a luxury. Self-care is an essential part of being an effective caregiver. YOU MATTER MAMA. If you read through the whole series, you know that wellness does not have to take a ton of time. It engaging in small activities to create balance in your life.

Create your wellness plan

Step 1: Write down the six dimensions of wellness and try to think of one activity that you currently engage in to enhance the dimension.

Example:

Physical: I walk in the evening

Emotional: I am effective at identifying feelings

Intellectual: I read a couple times per week

Spiritual: I pray with my son at night

Occupational: I enjoy working with people at my job

Social: I spend time with family on weekends

 

Step 2: What is your best dimension? Which could use the most improvement?

Example:

Best: I am doing really well with my emotional wellness

Needs improvement: My physical dimension needs some work (this will be your focus dimension)

 

Step 3: Create a SMART goal for your focus dimension

Example:

My focus dimension is physical. I walk for physical activity but my nutrition and sleep could use some improvement. I will focus on sleep.

During the first week of August, I will be in bed by 11pm, at least 4 days out of the week.

 

Step 4:  Assess your goal at the end of the time frame you set for yourself.

Example:

I made it to bed 3 days by 11pm. I will work on this goal again next week.

 

Step 5: Once you feel your goal has become easier/part of your routine, choose a new goal and focus dimension.

 

The main idea is to be aware of the various areas of wellness and notice when one of them is lacking. When one dimension is deficient, it can affect all areas. We as humans, have the tenancy to hyper focus on certain dimensions, so others are neglected.

For example a common goal among women is to lose weight. A woman may become stuck in a cycle of dieting, exercising, and then losing all motivation. She may find that her motivation for losing the weight stays higher, and therefore have more success, if she creates a balanced wellness plan that does not focus only on the physical dimension.

Wellness for Mothers Series

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Wellness for Mothers: Part 7

balance

Balanced on Water: Photo by Murray Barnes / CC BY 2.0

Spiritual Wellness

Spiritual wellness includes finding meaning in life, living your values and connection. The journey to spiritual wellness is unique for individuals. This dimension often vastly varies from person to person. What fulfills one person may not another. When it comes to spiritual wellness, do what works for you. The following are some ideas to try:

  1. Take a walk outside in nature. Being around a great body of water, sunsets or hiking through the woods can engage your spirituality.

 

  1. Try a guided meditation. This can help with relaxation and connection.

 

  1. If you are religious, engage with your church. Pray and attend services.

 

  1. Spend some time alone simply reflecting about meaning and purpose.

 

  1. Discuss spiritual wellness with a loved one and what it means to each one of you.

 

My spiritual wellness has been heightened since I became a mother. Motherhood has helped me feel a sense of purpose beyond myself. It amazes me that my body was able to create a whole person. The process caused me to reflect on what a miracle the process truly is.

Wellness for Mothers Series

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Wellness for Mothers: Part 6

work

Work: Photo by Sean MacEntee / CC BY 2.0

Occupational Wellness

Occupational wellness is about living your purpose in life. Are you a stay-at-home mom who feels fulfilled by this calling? Are you working in a job outside of the home that you love? If you answer yes to either of these questions, you probably have high occupational wellness. However, if you feel like something is missing in your pursuit of purpose, you could possibly use a boost in occupational wellness.

Occupational wellness is about self-exploration. It is difficult to decide what your calling is if you are unsure of who you are. The following are some tips to enhance your occupational wellness.

  1. Explore your work values. Values tends to stay consistent over time. If you choose an occupation that matches what you value, satisfaction often increases.

 

  1. Take a personality assessment. Personality is a set of traits that stay consistent over time. Again, if you match your personality with a matching occupation, you will feel happier.

 

  1. Take an interest inventory. Finding your purpose that matches your values, personality and interests, can lead to fulfillment.

 

  1. Use your results of your self-exploration to see what is out there. There are so many varieties of occupations that you many not even be aware of. Two great resources are O’Net online and the Occupational Handbook.

 

  1. Read books. Two books that I really enjoyed about finding your purpose are by author Dan Miller. They are No More Dreaded Mondays and 48 Days to the Work you Love.

 

  1. Finally, remember mama, you are already doing the most important job in the world (in my opinion). Raising your tiny humans.

 

Wellness for Mothers Series

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8