Bad day? Turn it around!

sleep

Sleep…: Photo by Kirill Kondratyev / BY CC 2.0

Sometimes a mother’s day to day life is draining. Someone will give you unwanted advice. Everything seems like it is going wrong. You scroll through your social media and everyone seems happier than you.

You are tired, overworked and want to crawl back in bed. Below are some techniques that can help you take back the power and brighten up your day.

  1. Focus on someone else: Try to brighten someone else’s day. Give a genuine compliment or a simple smile. You may notice your own mood lifting.
  2. Gratitude list: Write down five positive things. Even if it seems cheesy and doesn’t work right away, you can begin tricking your brain to move toward positive.
  3. Let go of comparison: Behind those smiling faces on social media is a whole story, which includes individual trials. Things are not always as they appear. Give yourself a break!
  4. Take some time for yourself to take care of your body/mind/spirit: Prayer, exercise, a healthy meal, nature, hobbies, etc are all ways to engage in self care.
  5. Think back: Reminisce about a favorite happy memory.

 

If you like to read and want more ideas to brighten your day, check out this article:

The Happiness Factor

 

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Motivation Monday: SMART goals

We all know Mondays can be tough. Maybe you had fun in the sun with your family all weekend and now it is back to “reality”. Even though Monday typically has a bad reputation, it can be a new beginning to a goal you would like to accomplish.

SMART goals stand for: SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ATTAINABLE, REALISTIC and TIMED. It is important when you make a goal it is all of these things. Here is an example:

Your goal: I will read more.

This goal is vague. How will you know when you achieved your goal? Make it SMART:

I will read 20 minutes per day at least 3 times this week of July 11-17.

SPECIFIC and MEASURABLE: You will know if you reached your goal on July 17th by reviewing if you have 3, 20 minute sessions of reading in.

ATTAINABLE and REALISTIC: If you went from no reading at all to trying to read 3 hours per day everyday during the week, that might not be attainable due to time restrictions. It would not be realistic to expect to go from no reading to 3 hours per day. The goal of 20 minutes, 3 days during the week is realistic and attainable.

TIMED: It is important to time your goals. If you say you will achieve this goal for the rest of your life it may become overwhelming. Make your goals for the week, month or year, depending if it is a short or long term goal. Start small and work your way up.

Tips for goals:

  • Make sure you plan for “life” getting in the way. Avoid setting up for failure by being too ambitious right away. For example, going from no exercise to exercise every single day of the week. Start with 2 or 3 days and build from there.
  •   If you are not successful the first time, do not give it all up. Adjust your goal and move forward.
  • Seek help. Tell a partner or family member about your goal and have them ask you about it occasionally.

    Happy

    Happy: Photo by Carmela Nava / CC BY 2.0

 

Mom Guilt

sad

Sad: Photo by Joe Penna / CC BY 2.0

If you are a mother you know what “mom guilt” is. It is that feeling that you are never doing enough. For example, if you are a working mom, you may feel guilty about missing out on time with your kids. On the other hand, if you are a stay-at-home mom, you may feel behind in the career world. It seems as if mom guilt is a continuum and there is no safe spot to rest.

There is nothing that can be said or done to permanently relieve you of this feeling. However, know this:

You are enough. As is. Even if your to-do list is left undone. Even if you work too much outside the home or never work another day outside the home in your life. You are enough.

Check out these to fantastic photo ops from the CTWorkingMoms blog.

Hugs Not Judgment

End the Mommy Wars

 

Resources for Emotional Eating

baby eating

Oliver and Oats Photo by LB1860 / CC BY 2.0

Many mothers are under a great deal of stress and may struggle with their relationship with food. Linked to this post are two of my favorite articles regarding the subject of food addiction and overeating. I personally believe it helps to understand the science of the “why” of an issue to help recover. The articles are fairly lengthy but helpful.

It’s All in the Brain

Food and Addiction: The Dopamine Made Me Do It

Here is a summary for you:

The brain is a very powerful part of understanding overeating and food addiction. Food can trigger pleasurable chemicals in the brain that promote engaging in a cycle of overeating. The keys to breaking this cycle include some common self-care techniques.

– Move your body: This can be as simple as walking

– Sleep: This is an important restorative process for your brain and tiredness is a huge trigger for an addiction to continue

– Stress relief: What works for you? Meditation, physical activity, reading, etc

– Meditation: If you are new to meditation try free guided meditations at http://www.meditationoasis.com

– Balanced Diet: Keeping blood sugar steady is important in trying to stop overeating triggers

– Self-Awareness: Know your own triggers and plan ahead for them

Move Mama!

Mother Bear

Photo: Mike Dunn, NC State Museum of Natural Sciences Credit: NOAA Climate Program Office, NABOS 2006 Expedition. Photo / CC BY 2.0

As mothers, it can be difficult to take care of ourselves physically. You are responsible for your tiny humans lives and they need to be fed, clothed and cared for. Their needs often come first. Just remember, movement can benefit your mood, your body and increase your energy level.

Even 5 – 10 minutes can be beneficial. Movement can be as simple as going out for a walk or stretching at home.

Here is an at home workout where no equipment is needed:

ACE FIT: At HOME

It includes a full body workout with a warm up, workout and cool down with no equipment.

JUST REMEMBER: Always check with your doctor before beginning any workout program.

A light in the darkness: Scary Thoughts

There is an abundance of information about postpartum depression around us. However, some women suffer from postpartum anxiety and postpartum OCD as well.

If you are having scary thoughts that you cannot control, these are called intrusive thoughts. Please know there is help for you out there if you are suffering.

The following is a great resource for mothers who are struggling:

Postpartum OCD & Intrusive Thoughts: When The Wheels Come Off

 

Go Play Outside

Do you remember when your mother would tell you to “go outside and play”? That is my recommendation for you on this sunny day.

The weather is nice and in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, these days are cherished. Making a point to “go outside and play” each day is great for your total wellness. Sun and nature often have a way of helping people melt away stress.

Ideas for family fun outside:

  • Go to the park with your kids
  • Simple family walk
  • Hike in the woods
  • Find a new beach to enjoy
  • Sit and read on the deck

If you are looking for something to do with your kids during the summer months, check out Playtime in the Park sponsored by the Keweenaw Family Resource Center and BHK:

Playtime in the Park 

What is your favorite summer outdoor activity?

Moms: Do you “should” on yourself?

If you are a mom, you have days where you feel exhausted and unmotivated. (Some of you everyday?)  Well, if those types of days have been around more often than not, I encourage you to look at how much you “should” on yourself.

How many times per day do you think things like:

“I should have the house clean by now”

“I should have lost the baby weight already”

“I should be exercising”

“I should have more motivation”

“I should be more productive”

You can probably add 100 more items to this list. We put intense pressure on ourselves daily with these type of thoughts. It can become very exhausting to never feel “good enough”. That is the underlying message to yourself using “should”.

Here is my challenge to you in three steps:

1: Start by becoming aware of your “shoulds”

  • Write them down. The first step to changing your mindset is awareness.

2: GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK!

  • As a mother, please look at all you do on a daily basis. It is a lot. If something gets left undone, or you have a couple extra pounds hanging on, it does not make your worth decrease.

3: Stop shoulding on yourself for a whole week

  • Any time you hear one in your mind, challenge it. For example replace “I should have lost the baby weight by now” with “I am worthy as I am. I have my life ahead of me to accomplish my goals.”  OR replace “I should have the house cleaned by now” with “I was able to clean the kitchen today. I will focus on the laundry tomorrow.”

 

By changing your mindset and rewording “shoulds” to positive statements, you may find your motivation returning.

This quote from Brene Brown sums it up:

“No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”
Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

Caring for Mother’s Spirit

When it comes to a mother’s wellness, calming and slowing down are challenging. Meditation is a way to help calm your mind/body/spirit after a stressful day. It can take just a couple minutes for a busy mother to take this break. You may have heard of meditation before and have an image in your mind about what meditation is.

Meditation can take on many forms. If you are interested in trying to calm your mind or renew your spirit, it can help. If you are new to meditation, try it when you are ready for sleep, then put o,n a guided meditation.  You may make it through the whole thing or fall asleep. Either way it is okay!  Mothers battling insomnia may find this especially helpful.

A great website to try out some guided meditations is:

http://www.meditationoasis.com/

Click on podcasts, they are free!  The website is full of wonderful information.