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I’m not sure what’s up with this week, but for some reason, I am feeling so heavy, so down. Actually it’s been days, but just here and there for a couple of weeks. Ever get those moments when you lose you? Most days are good. And I really can’t complain. I LOVE my boys. For a while I didn’t know for sure if I would be able to have kids, and now I have the two cutest little boys in the world. And I also love staying home with them. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more myself than in my mom role.
But then there are the blue days. On those days, I feel so run down. I feel anxiety, frustration, overwhelm. I feel like I’m going, going, going, with no reprieve. Like I’m trying my best and still failing.
But worst of all, I feel lost. I just am not myself. I kind of feel like a robot, going through the motions. I’m dealing with bodily fluids and tantrums, and sometimes my reactions even surprise myself. It leaves me feeling kind of empty.
What do you do when you lose you? I have to confess, I give in to it often. But then I’m quiet, sullen, cranky, or downright angry at the world. Instead of letting it go that far, I’m trying to take care of myself a little better, so that I don’t get to that point.
Here are some things that help me feel more myself:
1. Going outside. When I was in college, and feeling depressed, my roommate would encourage me to go outside for a bit, and even though it annoyed me, I’d go. And then I’d feel better. The same thing happened the other night, but with my husband. He suggested I go take a walk, and even though I grumbled – it really did make a difference for my mood. Something about the fresh air, the wildflowers, the warm weather – it’s so uplifting to just get out.
2. Your favorite music. Listening to old favorites makes me feel more connected to the me before kids. It makes me see a bigger perspective, rather than feeling trapped in the everyday. Jamming out to the White Stripes, getting emo with Dashboard Confessional, relaxing to Jack Johnson, and even singing along with Taylor Swift is sometimes just what I need.
3. Dressing up a bit. I shared this last week, but actually washing my hair, putting on a shirt that doesn’t have spit-up or snot on it, and getting out of last night’s pajamas lifts my mood and makes me feel like a valuable member of society. And it really doesn’t involve compromising comfort. I never used to be a dress or skirt person, but now I find them to be the easiest outfit option. This one was sent to me by Pink Blush, and it has quickly become a favorite. It’s comfortable, a snap to wear and accessorize, and I love the trendy little knot at the bottom.
4. A minute to gather your thoughts. This can come in a variety of ways – prayer, mediation, a mantra, an encouraging quote. Or maybe just closing your eyes and breathing. I believe in all of the above, in their power to remove yourself from a situation, and give yourself perspective. Because typically life is bigger than the moment you’re in.
5. Do something mindless. I know – not always the best choice. Not always an option. But sometimes getting lost in a book, a movie, a game, Pinterest can give you a moment of peace.
6. Get your heart pumping. Whether it’s a walk or a yoga pose, getting yourself moving ups your energy and makes you feel less sluggish and more alive.
7. Plan something. Dreaming up a trip, home renovation, career jump, or future adventure is great positive therapy. It helps me feel like I’m not just frozen in a moment or situation, and gives me something to look forward to.
8. Find a scent that takes you back. The sense of smell closely connects us to our memories. I know I can smell the ocean and feel like I’m there. Or smell the scent of the perfume I wore on my wedding day, and feel that joy and excitement all over again.
9. Take some time for you. I talk myself out of getting a babysitter so often, because I feel like it’s putting my responsibility to take care of my kids on someone else. I’ve had a lot of people try to talk me out of that feeling, but I’m still battling it. However, I can’t argue the results. I feel like a new person if I can get out for even an hour. It doesn’t have to be anything thrilling – getting a coffee or window shopping can do the trick.
10. Spend time with friends. Again, it’s something I have to talk myself into. This is because I can feel like I have to take care of my kids first, or because I feel like I’m too tired, or won’t have anything to talk about. But again, the proof is in the results. It is so refreshing to get time with other women, especially moms, to laugh about our kids’ recent antics or some funny video we saw online.
11. Remember your why. Instead of getting caught up in the stressful, frustrating, and/or anxious moment, think of what you have and what you want. As much as I can get frustrated over a defiant moment with my little, or running late because we can’t find someone’s shoes, these are small things compared to how much I love my kids. They pale in comparison to how many blessings I have. When I take time to focus on the good, even though it doesn’t make the difficult go away, it definitely helps me gain perspective.
12. Get to work. It seems counterintuitive, but putting my focus and energy into getting a task done helps clear my head and even relaxes me. I like the feeling of accomplishment, whether it’s something I really enjoy doing, like blogging, or just something that needs to get done. Seriously – I actually enjoy mowing the lawn for this reason. Plus I get to listen to my favorite music (see number two).
Oh, and of course – I’m not a doctor. Sometimes you need help feeling yourself again. Please don’t take this as medical advice, and please get help if you need it, if you feel like you’re in a slump and you can’t get out.
What helps when you lose you? I could use more ideas!