Some days, I dread getting out of bed. Like, really dread it. I lie there with this deep pit of anxiety in my stomach, thinking about all of the people and things that are counting on me, and I want to cry.
This morning was one of those days. I woke up with my mind racing through all the things I had to take care of as a mama who works from home. “I have to respond to those emails. We're almost out of diapers. I have to fold laundry. My 6 month old is going to wake up any minute. I’m still so tired. I have to make myself breakfast...and actually sit down to eat it. I need coffee. I should eat first. And probably drink some water. What should I make for dinner tonight? Do we even have anything in the fridge?”
I was overwhelmed the very second I got out of bed, and do you know what I did?
I got back into bed and sat there dreading the day, pushing it off. (Spoiler alert: getting back into bed solves nothing.)
Often times on days like today, I either don’t know where to start and nothing gets done, or I move about the day wearing myself dangerously thin. Both of those options are less than ideal, because both ultimately lead to me snapping.
I become a very unpleasant person to be around when I'm stressed. It really isn't fair to my husband, my kids, or myself. I become emotional and short-tempered, and then I get frustrated with the way I let such a "normal" day get to me. It makes me feel weak.
So, since crawling back into bed just isn't a viable option, I aim to start my day with something I love doing, then let the rest of the day sort itself out. I've learned it's much easier to knock out my to-do list when my mind is clear.
Here are five better ways to start the day than collapsing under stress:
1. Go outside and take a walk. Turn off your notifications. Turn off your reminders. Better yet, leave your phone at home. Strap the baby to your chest, load up the stroller, do what you gotta do…and go for a walk. Breath in the fresh air that hasn’t touched your messy living room or been riddled with the screams and cries of your kids. The air that flows swiftly through trees and whispers, "You're going to be okay."
2. Make a list. Write down EVERYTHING that is causing you stress. Not even just things you need to do. Sometimes all I need is to get it down on paper. Writing it down allows me to let go of it in my head, because I know the paper will remember it for me. If I need to come back to it, it’s right where I left it…on the paper. No more jumbled thoughts.
3. Take a shower. Sometimes this is all I need. A hot shower, maybe with some lavender oil diffusing in the bathroom. Unfortunately this isn’t always an option, because you know, kids. But if you have the chance, a steamy shower has this way of extracting stress right from your pores so it can run down the drain. Plus, who doesn't love starting the day with clean hair?
4. Skip the coffee. Go for some herbal tea and an actual breakfast.
Believe it or not, coffee can make the day harder. There’s nothing worse for me than being tired and stressed, and then drinking caffeine first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. I don’t need caffeine jitters fueling the fire.
5. Talk it out. Whether it’s a friend, your husband, your mom, your sister, or if you want to stop and pray for a minute, sometimes you just need to bounce your thoughts off of someone who will sit and listen to you.
And mama, if you are reading this and thinking you really just don’t have the motivation to do anything at all, and you find yourself in that place often, know that you’re not alone. I've been there plenty of times, and I encourage you to reach out ask for help. You weren't made to do life alone.
There is life outside the stress you feel stuck in. You can do this.
What are your favorite ways to take care of you?