how to get out of your head and find the joy within
All too often we, as mums, tend to put others’ priorities before our own. Ask yourself, “How many “hats” do I wear?” Mama, wife, entrepreneur, employee, Girl Guide leader, soccer coach, the list goes on… With this many hats, your mind starts to wander to things that don’t always involve you or sometimes to the negative aspects of your life.
Is there a hat that says “time for me?" When was the last time you stopped to take care of yourself, to put a little time into something you wanted to do for yourself? As mothers, we do everything we can to keep our family healthy. But how are those habits working for you? As a busy mum, your focus is not always on you. Between preparing snacks for the little ones, to nap times, to play dates, to everyday chores and errands that need to be done in between it all - things can get a little hazy.
You are trying to keep it all together and think you are doing a pretty good job, until that moment those little voices in your head come to light. Those conversations you had with the other mums at soccer practice or on that playdate. How often have you heard “my kids nap at the same time every day for 2 hours each time” or “my kids eat everything I give them” or (my personal favourite) “my house is a mess" when you know it really isn’t!
Your mind then starts to wander and wonder what you can do differently, what you are doing wrong? You are doing nothing wrong. Your first instinct is to compare yourself (and your life) to others. If that’s the case, stop! Get 'what you think your life is supposed to look like' out of your head. Get 'what you think is wrong with your life' out of your head. From now on, focus on what you do have, what you are grateful for, and what you love about your life and your family.
No one else’s opinion matters. Stop letting your mind wander, wondering what others will think about you if you live a certain way, dress a certain way, or eat/exercise a certain way. Eliminate all judgements and take a deep breath.
Here are 6 things you can start doing now to get out of your own head and to stop letting your mind wander:
1. Stay positive
It’s hard sometimes, but it’s important to stay positive even when you feel everything is upside down. Keep in mind that things will work out and that everything will come together in time. At the end of the day, what harm will come if, for example, the laundry isn’t put away immediately or the dishes have been in the sink all day. Just think of the fun you had with the kids that day, the smiles on their faces, and the sounds of their laughter. Those are the little things that can help you get through your day. One way to reassure you on these positive thoughts is to take some time in the evenings to write in a journal. Write down 5 things you are grateful for and 5 things that went well in your day.
2. Stop Comparing
The worst thing you can do is compare yourself to others, whether it’s your physical activity routine, your eating habits, or your every day “mum life”. You and your life are perfect just the way they are. What works for you will essentially not work for someone else. Everyone acts and reacts differently to everything in life. It may be frustrating sometimes when you hear how well someone else is doing on their healthy habits, but that’s what works from them. Only you can make the best possible choices for your health and your life when you are ready to make those changes and you are in the right mindset to make those changes a reality, then everything will fall into place.
3. Be Mindful
Give yourself permission. Permission to love your body. Permission to treat yourself to a coffee and a nice book. Permission to take time for yourself without feeling guilty. I, like many mums out there, struggle with taking time for me. For being “in the moment”. For not putting myself on my own list of priorities. Be mindful of what is actually going on in the present time and the importance of the same. Focus on placing attention on the positive aspects of your life and the power of being grateful for what you have right now. Being mindful is especially important when you are spending time with your kids (they grow up fast!) One thing you can do is plan a weekly family activity. It can be as simple as playing outside in your backyard, a walk in the park or having a picnic.
4. Be Confident
When you start to believe in yourself, you exude confidence. Think about the common excuses you make on a daily basis as to why you don’t want to do something. For example, taking your kids to the pool and not feeling comfortable to wear a bathing suit (comparing yourself to others). Even though you have been making some positive changes in your life, you are not quite where you want to be just yet, so you start limiting yourself on what you do (for yourself and with your family). Start placing emphasis on changing those negative thought processes into positive statements. Start believing you can do anything you set your mind to and the confidence will start rolling in. Positive statements can quickly change your mindset and increase your confidence.
5. Don't Strive For Perfection
No one is perfect. No matter what anyone says or thinks. Not everyone has it all together, despite what they want you to believe. Live your life and make healthy choices for you that are most suitable for your lifestyle. When you are making any type of change to your lifestyle, set goals that are realistic for you. Break those goals down into smaller more manageable pieces, and focus on one small step at a time. You can’t do it all at once, but you can do a little at a time and focus on completing that one step before moving on to the next.
6. Don't Sweat The Small Stuff
Do you get stressed out if something doesn’t go as planned during your day? Many mums would say yes! But that’s one habit you have to get out of. Sometimes the smallest of things can be stressful, from the kids not napping for a long time or at all, to not getting everything done that you wanted to accomplish, to buying drive-through meals for the kids because it’s been a busy day of errands. Life happens and you can’t let the small and sometimes stressful things, bear weight on your mind. Not every day is going to go as planned and that’s ok. One day of poor eating choices or no physical activity will do little harm on your health, as long as these days are few and far between and they don’t become a habit. Nor will one day of your kids having a treat or your home being a little messy do harm to your overall well-being. Enjoy every moment of your day and (as my 3 year old sings daily) “Let it go”! Not all positive health changes need to start at the beginning of the week. If something didn’t start as planned today, there is always tomorrow.
In life, the best you can do is to be yourself. Be inspired to learn and grow and be confident in the choices and decisions you make. It’s not about how much you have (materialistic or monetary) or what car you drive or what classes or school your children are attending. If you have the money to hire a maid to clean your home or a babysitter to watch your kids a couple times a week, that’s great. But if you don’t, that’s okay too. If you want to make a change to your health and your family’s health, then take one step at a time. If a healthy lifestyle change is what you desire, get into your own routine that suits your lifestyle, be grateful with what you have and what you can do, and focus on taking one baby step at a time in order to reach your ultimate goals.