When Life Gets In The Way
Lately, it seems no matter what project I start or if I just plan to do something, life just keeps getting in my way. Responsibilities to my family come up, or work, or just plain everyday life. The tasks of cleaning, cooking, paying bills, mowing the yard, taking care of the dog, homework with my son, afterschool activities and the running of my blog, life just keeps happening and some days never let up until I go to bed. Recently the car broke down, the dog threw up and my hair dryer literally caught fire while I was using it. Life happens. We all experience it. We all live it.
There are some days and weeks I just feel stressed to the max. As a single-mom, the demands of running a household and taking care of my family sometimes really drains me. Life’s demands begin to pull on me causing me to feel really stressed and not a very happy person. I begin to feel like I’m carrying around a one hundred ton boulder on my shoulders. I become grouchy and irritable and sometimes depressed. And when this begins to happen, I know it’s time for me to have a little me time.
Following is a list of some of the things I have learned to do to help alleviate the stress of life and being a single-mom when life keeps happening. These tips really do work and believe me it’s so worth it to do. You’re family will thank you for it just to see your constant frown turn into a radiant smile that say’s Mama’s happy.
1. Schedule in time for yourself. I know what your thinking. Where am I going to find the time to do that. Well, let me tell you ladies, you’d better. And you know why you should? Because you’re worth it. Making time for yourself should be a priority in the same way you make sure there is food and milk in the house and the bills are paid. If you become drained and run down, who’s going to be able to step in and take your place? No one will, or at least really want to do your job as mom. So the #1 task you should do is schedule some time for yourself once a week to get out of the house and go get your hair done, or a mani or pedi. Or just splurge and have a spa day once a month. The goal here is to relax and have fun. To so something for yourself that does not involve anyone else. So do whatever it is that makes you happy at least once a month.
2. Show yourself love by finding time in your day every day, to read a book, spend some time on a hobby you enjoy, take a bubble bath or just get on the web and hang out with your online friends. I am part of a blog forum where I have met lots of ladies who I’m enjoying talking to on a daily basis. Just being able to talk about my day and what’s going on my life is a huge stress reliever. Or if you have a friend that lives close by, invite them over for the evening or just a few hours to hang out talking. If you have younger kids, just put them in the stroller and take a walk with your friend. There’s just something so therapeutic about talking with a friend and sharing the ups and downs of life together. Just make sure to take some time for yourself today, no matter what it is you choose to do. By doing this you are loving yourself and teaching those around you to love and respect you too. And hopefully, your children will pick up this habit and incorporate it into their lives when they become adults.
3. Write in a journal, whether it is online or a real journal, spend some time each day to write out your feelings, your worries, your dreams or whatever it is you want to write down. The key is to focus on your inner-self. I’m not some kind of new age person. In fact, I’m a traditional Christian and for me, I find that if I take time to write out my thoughts on paper, and writing out my prayers along with doing some Bible Reading, it refreshes my soul and gives me the energy to keep on going no matter what I’m facing in life. So a few times a week, or right before bed, spend a little time with yourself to write in a journal. Write down your innermost thoughts and feelings that you would never share with anyone else in the world. This helps me so much. I talk out my prayers in my journal and it gives me the perspective I need to face whatever it is I’m going through. It renews my innermost self and helps take the weight of the world off my shoulders. You will be surprised after a few months or even a year and you look back, to see all the progress you have made in that time. You will see the things you were so worried about ended up working out after all. It gives you some perspective on life and helps you to realize no matter what you’re going through, life will go on. You will make it through it. And the great thing about doing this is you are leaving behind a legacy of written words to pass on to your children if you feel comfortable doing that. So spend some time with yourself everyday. You’ll be glad you did.
4. Give yourself permission to have fun. I tend to be a serious kind of person. People can be around me laughing and having fun. Telling jokes or just goofing off, and I’ll have serious look on my face and will be lost in thought in what I should be doing instead of having fun, or what I need to do later that night. I’m just one of those people who is always thinking about what’s next on the list and I’ve been trying hard to change this. I am learning to be in the moment. To experience whatever is going on around me at the time, instead of worrying about later or tomorrow. So have fun and if you have a hard time doing this like I do, give yourself permission to have fun. All that work you need to get done is still going to be there later. Those lists of the all the things you need to get done, still going to be there to. So today try to just have fun no matter where you are or what you’re doing.
5. Learn to say NO! Just the simple two letter word, NO! When someone asks can you….Say NO! Will you….NO! Saying No is empowering. It’s not mean, I promise. Saying No gives you the ability to take back control of your life so that you will have more time to do the things you want to for your family and yourself. Now, I’m not saying say No to everything that someone asks you to do, but what I am saying is really give it some thought and be realistic if you can fit one more responsibility into your life or your families lives. Will it be the straw that broke the camel’s back? Will it be the one thing that will make you just lose it on your family, because once again you overextended yourself? So just learn to say No! By saying No you will free up the time necessary so that you can schedule some me time. Time just to focus only on yourself even if it just for one hour, because you are important and I am important. And when we do this, we are teaching our children to know that it’s okay to love yourself and to make time to do the things you enjoy in life. Life shouldn’t always be about the daily responsibilities we have to do. It shouldn’t just always be all about work. It shouldn’t always be about us doing for our families. There should be some balance in life. And to accomplish this you have to learn to say No and that it’s okay to do so.
I want to challenge you today to do just one thing for yourself. To really try out these ideas and see if you don’t see yourself smiling again and laughing again. Your family and friends will thank you for it. And you’ll feel a whole lot better when you have to return to the responsibilities of life once again. Remember, this is a life-style change. It takes time to incorporate changes in your life where they become eventually become second nature.
Some parting words: This past week has been crazy for me. Everything and anything that could happen did happen. I’ve been frowning all week and feeling a little overwhelmed, so tonight I’m going to practice what I preach and take off and spend a little me time with myself. My family will be okay. Any responsibilities I have in the home can wait. It’s time for a little me time and I already feel myself smiling.