Some days my heart feels heavy. I feel the weight of daily tasks. I’m not talking about when I have lots of chores, errands or appointments. Some days it’s just the simple, repetitive things that weigh me down.
A part of me feels like this is absurd because deep down I’m always incredibly thankful for my life, my health and my family. There are however, some days where I need to work a bit harder at seeking out joy. Joy doesn’t just happen. It’s not dependent upon a string of circumstances all falling into place. It in fact can be attained and felt in spite of things not going according to plan or amidst that somewhat boring daily grind.
Each morning I open all the curtains, remove night time nappies that are close to leaking, semi make beds and make our morning drinks – the girls a vitamin packed, plant based milk drink and myself a coffee. Then there’s getting dressed at some point and making breakfasts – a little plate of fruit, nuts, crackers and dip usually. Every other day there’s that load of washing to put on and hang outside. Honestly, there’s nothing too overwhelming amongst my list of things to do, but nevertheless repetitive and boring enough to get me down some mornings. I know I’m not a great morning person to begin with, so add to that some sleep deprivation and being woken before I’m ready, and my mental state certainly needs some help.
So, I’ve come up with some basic pick me up strategies…
1) Meditating. For me it’s the night before as there’s not the opportunity in the mornings. I find when I’ve been consistent with this I usually start off in a better place emotionally each morning. There’s loads of great meditation apps, I currently use Headspace (Find it here. )
2) Being more mindful. As I open the curtains I let it be a cue to pause, to pay attention to something simple like the weather and appreciate the sun’s rays, the rain or the blue skies. Just to actually notice something as simple as the weather can help centre me and bring peace to my soul.
3) Cuddles. While the kettle is boiling and the girls are gathering with me in the kitchen, I stop, kneel down and give them big hugs. Really looking at them and physically connecting with them gives me a love filled, grounding focus and clearer perspective.
4) A glass of water. Crazy simple, I know. It hydrates me – before I undo it with a coffee – and the act of drinking a glass water causes me to slow down and feel calmer. I have the tendency to try and get everything done all at once, which only fuels any stress or pressure that I’m already feeling.
5) Coffee. Or whatever your morning drink of choice is. It’s not so much about the coffee, but allowing myself to sit down while I drink it while the girls have their breakfast or play. I might check my phone, read a book (currently Alfie Kohn’s Unconditional Parenting), begin writing an article if I’m feeling inspired or just watch the girls.
Obviously there’s some mornings where we need to move a bit faster to get to whatever we have on, but there’s still time for that basic routine. It’s really more about doing a few things that cue me into a way of thinking and move me towards the emotional place I want to be.
Throughout the day I try to remind myself that I can choose to find joy and seek peace amidst the daily grind. It’s worth it.
* It provides opportunity for us to enjoy those moments with our little ones that will be gone before long.
* It allows us to pause before reacting when we are feeling pressured or triggered.
* It models to our children a positive and empowering way of approaching life.
Think about what little routines or daily practices you can implement to help keep you calm, centred and seeking joy amidst either the mundane or the chaos.