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So yesterday, in typical Monday morning fashion, I dropped my boys off at school and came back home to a ‘to do’ list as long as my arm. Usual for a Monday and likely to be the case for a lot of us who have jobs, look after children, and the fifty million other things we pile on our plate. So I sat there, and I sat there and how much did I achieve? Zilch, not a thing, not anything worth writing home about, unless watching another video of a cat doing something tremendously stupid counts as a productive Monday.
So what did I do?
I caught myself getting frustrated. This is my time to get ‘stuff’ done, while the boys are at school, in-between seeing my clients, but it just wasn’t happening.
I had a choice.
I could continue to beat myself over the head with a proverbial stick for not being able to find the Go Karting party my nearly 8-year-old has insisted he wants to have. Or not being in the right frame of mind to add some copy to my website. Or I could look at what I really wanted to do which I hardly ever get the opportunity to do, which is take some time out for myself, proper time out, doing something I enjoy.
So I went to my Pilates class, did something for me, with no interruptions, no checking of social media and left my phone at home.
It was only an hour, but it was the best hour of my entire day.
I came out feeling refreshed, invigorated and feeling good about myself as I had chosen to do something positive about the way I was feeling rather than dragging myself into the negative doldrums, which would have been so easy to do.
And then my afternoon was fantastic.
I had a great session with a really lovely client, and felt sooo much better about everything, I felt I could cope better, think better and life came back into balance.
Because it is not all about the tough stuff. It’s not all about the hard slog. If we are churned up with guilt that life is not going the way we planned and everything is balanced precariously with the risk of it tumbling down around our ears. If we have those negative thoughts that we are not good enough, that we cannot get stuff done because we are not motivated enough, we start to feel worse and worse and end up at rock bottom.
Are you there? Do you feel like you have so much going round and round your head that you are completely unproductive, and when you do get 5 minutes, you can’t see the wood for the trees. Time out to do something you want to is a dim and distant memory, and this, in all honesty can make you feel pretty resentful (even taking a break to go and get your hair cut needs the organisation and negotiation skills of a pro).
If it feels this hard it is because your mind, and your thought patterns are dragging you down, and sometimes it just feels like you are drowning.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
What if you could clear your mind of all that necessary clutter, know that to look after yourself, put yourself first, even if it is just for 10 minutes (I know for a mum going to the loo in peace is a feat enough to be awarded an Olympic Gold medal). What if this means that you can then look after everyone else so much better. Less shouting, less resentment, and a feeling of overwhelming peace and calm.
Yeah right, that’s hippy talk for those who have dreadlocks and drive camper vans.
It isn’t. It’s for people who have chosen to face their fears, admit there is something not feeling quite right, and taking action to do something about it.
When we know better we do better.
Enjoy life as it is now, in this moment, and stop feeling like you are launching from minute to minute on a knife edge, falling apart inside but not knowing what you can do about it, and thinking it is all your fault.
Do one thing for me. Choose something you like doing, one small thing. Even if it is having a hot cup of tea without a toddler clinging to your leg. Ask for the time to do this, husband, parent, friend, just to give you some breathing space, to give your mind and body a rest.
I can guarantee it will make you feel better, calmer and less fraught, and you can then go back to the demands of everyday life as that calm, zen mum you always planned in your own head that you would be.
A little bit of action means a lot.