I know the title is ridiculously long, but 2020 has been kind of ridiculous, right?
For many of us this hasn’t been an easy year. What it has taught me is that I need to continue to show and give love to those around me and those close to me…even if it has to be done from a distance.
While trying to adjust to this “new normal” with five kids hasn’t been the easiest, it has allowed me time to work on myself, so that I can be a better mother to them. I have realized just how important it is for me to take care of my own mental health. If I am not mentally fit, there is no way that I can be of any use to them.
I will say that having this level of self-awareness did not come easy, nor did it come quickly. A month and half into the seven of us being home together I realized that I was losing it. It wasn’t healthy for me, nor was it healthy for my children to see their mother slipping into depression.
It wasn’t just about making a choice to be happy. That’s something we say when we really do not understand (or want to understand) what someone is going through.
For myself, it was about making sure my children were happy. At the end of the day, that’s all that will ever matter to me.
Their being happy is priceless. As for me, and probably most people, When you are happy your day goes better, and when your stress levels are low, you have a better outlook on life in general. There are little things that we can do everyday to enrich and enhance our lives without spending a single dime.
I have been using the Calm app for about a year and half. Since the spring however, I have made sure to use it more frequently. Sometimes I use it three or four times a day, especially if I feel my anxiety kicking in. At night I love listening to the relaxing stories, or just the soundscapes to help me drift off to sleep.
If you want to give it a try sign up here for a free 30 day trial! Just a heads up, this isn’t sponsored in anyway, and I pay for the yearly sub out of pocket. I just really love the app!
Also, if you have children, I highly recommend checking out Moshi. It’s essentially the Calm app, except the content is geared towards children.
1. Embracing those I can, and finding creative ways to embrace those I can’t:Everyone loves a good hug and kiss. Showing and receiving affection are ways to let someone know (as well as letting you know) that you are loved and appreciated. A good hug and even a good cry, can make you feel better. While it is easy for me hug my children and kiss my husband, I can’t hug my mother or niece and nephew. So it’s pretty neat to come up with creative ways to greet them, and in some cases come up with our own special greetings. I love being able to see my niece and nephews faces light up as we do our secret “air” handshakes!
2. Out with the old: Or at least the completely unnecessary. Cluttered spaces usually equal a cluttered mind. The less mess you have around the less overwhelmed you will feel.
3. Try something new (or revisit something old): We all need alone time. Whether you enjoy reading, sewing, scrapbooking or photography; having something to do during your downtime usually can help you feel productive. I have recently found a love for things that I never knew I would enjoy. Like sewing! Or even yard work!
4. Yoga: Without a doubt yoga or some form of meditation always seem to lift my spirits. I enjoy being able to sit in a quite space and free my mind from all the cares that I have. I love being able to take a few moments and relax during my favorite yoga class. Plus I can follow it up with a meditation. For me it has been a great way to end the night.
5. Pen Pal: Who doesn’t like mail? Yes we have email now, but with good old fashioned snail mail becoming a lost art (well not really), its a great way to connect with new friends or even old ones.
6. Picnic in the park: This has been one of my favorites as of late. We don’t always have food, we may just take a blanket and lay out in the sun. Either way it is definitely relaxing, plus it is a fun way to connect if you decided to take along a your spouse or kids. Just remember to stay six feet away from other people.
7. Dance: My 16 year old can attest to this one. Dancing just makes you happy. Couple that with a good song playing (or in her case there is usually no music playing), and its an amazing way to let lose and just be silly.
8. Take a Walk: I enjoy walks around the neighborhood with the kids. Being able to take a nightly walk around the neighborhood as a family has been so much fun. We just have to make sure we avoid the bears!
9. Take a trip down memory lane: Have old home movies or pictures to look at? Why not take sometime and just flip through or watch them. Being able to rehash the past can at times make you feel better. But I do caution you…there have been cases where you can spend hours on end doing this and not even realizing it.
10. Just sit: Pretty weird huh? Well sometimes just sitting and doing nothing can bring happiness. Maybe with a good cup of coffee or even a glass of wine.
Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.