Last week I had a really hard day. I stayed up, pretty much, all night with my sick daughter. She was so hot that she wouldn’t even put on pyjamas. She wouldn’t eat anything, not even the big bag of treats I bought her. It was a loooooong night. By the time morning came I was exhausted, but I still had to look after both the kids. Kora was on me everywhere I went and if she wasn’t, Wolfe was.
Days like those don’t come by very often but when they do, they’re HARD. The hardest part is that I can’t lose my cool. I can’t yell at a toddler, I can’t leave, I have to stay as calm as I can. Which is VERY hard. I don’t look down at people who snap at their kids, looking after children is HIGHLY stressful and not everybody has the ability to handle extreme stress – healthily.
I have developed some techniques that I use in order to keep my calm, and I would like to share them because they have helped me a lot.
This may be seen as a form of escape, but I like to think of it as looking at the larger picture. I like to visualise, in my mind, my ideal future. I plan it out.
I think about the back yard and what I’d like it to look like. I think about what kind of timber I’d like the deck to be, I imagine a hot tub, a fire pit, raised garden beds. I make very detailed plans. Once the plan is there, it is always there in my mind waiting for me to come and visit.
I think about where I’d like to be in 5 – 10 years. What the ideal situation would be for myself and my family. I do these visualisation every day. At any time, whether I’m doing the dishes or changing a nappy, I can go to these places and either create more layers or just enjoy them.
It calms me while at the same time giving me clear goals to work toward. It allows me to breathe easier before I return to reality.
2. Remember that it is only temporary.
This seems so obvious, but sometimes when I’m in the midst of a horrible day I become so trapped in what’s going on that I lose all positivity.
I have to stop and remind myself that this is only a moment and that once this is over – it’s gone. I try to learn whatever lessons I can about the situation, let it go and forget about it. There is no point holding on to bad feelings about a bad day. Down days are unavoidable, but what we can control is how we let them affect us.
Every dawn is a new beginning.
3. Take the pressure off yourself.
Life is hard enough without us putting more pressure on ourselves. If you don’t get everything done, that’s ok. If you snap at the kids, that’s ok. The more pressure and negativity you put on yourself, the harder it will be to change the situation. Just accept that everything is as it is, relax, laugh at how crazy it is! Just allow the moment to be. Tomorrow will be better, if not tomorrow – the next day.
If you don’t want to cook, get takeaways. Stop putting pressure on yourself to be perfect. Nobody is perfect every day, NOBODY.
4. Stop and Breathe.
Just STOP. The kids might be crying and needy, but they will be ok. Take 2 minutes to put yourself first. Find your safe zone – probably the bathroom. Don’t go on your phone. Just sit, close your eyes and breathe.
Feel all the negativity inside you, all the pressure. Breathe in new air and breathe out the stale. Allow all those low thoughts and feelings to just exhale away.
You can do this at any moment. Maybe you will only have time to have 5 breaths. Any length of time will help. Allow yourself to shut the world out and find a moment of balance.
5. If all of these fail GET THE HELL OUT OF THE HOUSE.
I either take the kids for a walk, or chuck them in the car and do laps of the suburb. Who cares if the house is a mess and dinner isn’t ready. Those things can be fixed quite easily, your mental health, on the other hand, needs constant upkeep.