To mark my final month in my 30s, I set forth several intentions and commitments for October. I also joined Rachel Hollis’ “My Last 90 days” group which focuses on setting goals to finish the last 3 months of the year healthy and strong, instead waiting until the beginning of the year to start over after overdoing it during the holidays. This has brought me to my first struggle, “How on Earth do I juggle all of this?” I have a tendency to over stress about my commitments, but I think I have come a long way from the actual “overdoing it” behaviors of my past where I have taken on too much to the point of forgetting important chunks of information and missing events. That is like pregnancy brain without the pregnancy. I know the difference now between actually doing too much and the worries, anxieties and fears of not being good enough or able to manage positive stress. By positive stress, I mean being busy with activities that I value.
I am better able to distinguish the thought of “ I have taken on too much” as being one of the false stories my mind likes to use to stop me in my tracks and give up due fear of not being able to handle things. In the past, anything having to do with taking care of myself was the first thing I abandoned when stressed. Actually, not only did I give up on healthy behaviors, I engaged in unhealthy coping, like emotional eating, drinking wine, not exercising or washing my face at night. I know the not washing my face does not sound like a big deal, but this all begins to add up and before I know it, I am not putting on makeup and wearing t-shirts and sweat pants each day. I put children or work first and of course, my mood continued to declined.
Mindful Moment. I noticed my physical stress signals when running behind schedule in the morning. I noticed the thoughts “hurry up and get in the stinking car” (toward kids) and “hurry up and come out here and give me the routine kiss goodbye so I am not late to work” (toward husband). I calming and soothed with a quick arm squeeze and deep breath and said to myself “Chill out. We will make it in one piece. Be grateful your husband wants to give you a kiss goodbye each morning.” That was my attitude of gratitude.
Day 2: The struggle to not react when frustrated. This one usually comes between Wednesday and Thursday of the week, but today is Tuesday and, well it got me. And once again, it was as I was rushing in the morning and the worries about my busy day were in the back of my mind. I am not proud of this, but I literally caught myself yelling a the mouth wash because I could not get the cap off. Not one of my finer moments. Luckily, the others were on the other side of the house and did not hear (at least I hope not). I defused this one by putting it in a jokester voice “Oooh. You terrible mouthwash. Shame on you for not opening when I am already behind schedule.”And I felt the anger boil up again when I go to assist my son in brushing his hair and making sure he brushes his teeth after he just finished getting dressed after sitting there for past 30 minutes. And then I see that the my other son (who is sitting in the car on his phone) left the room lights on, drawers open, and stuff he used all over, after I gently reminded him of these important steps. I breathed through that one. Mindful moment: well all of this basically. I talked calmly, told myself I will get through the day regardless of how busy. And although I didn’t have time to eat until late afternoon, I did make sure to drink extra water, and I did get through it.