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Is it just me or is it sort of like a new chapter begins at the start of every new season? For whatever reason my perspective is a lot more clear and I can step back and look at the bigger picture. The promise of a fresh beginning is always so motivating when it first presents itself. But what happens when things don’t fall into place quite like you’d imagine they would? What happens when things are hard? Do you push against the hard or do you quiver up and retreat?
My past battles with depression have shown me that in the dark depths of the hard my instincts are to retreat. However, my role as a mother, a wife and a functioning being in society have taught me that I can’t quite wave the white flag like many do. Instead I go into autopilot and retreat in ways that allow me to be present without truly being present.
As we trudge on through the middle of summer, I find myself looking back at the Spring. Why? Well because I’m realizing that it was probably one of the best seasons I’ve had in a while. Not days, not months, but an entire season! I won’t sit here and deny that it wasn’t one of the hardest that I’ve had, because it was, but ‘bigger picture’ wise it was instrumental in my recovery. Work travel, weddings, momming and extra-curricular activities for Remy – all of it was far from a walk in the park. Yet it was also incredibly rewarding.
So how did I get through it? First off, I took some time and effort to plan ahead. Sure, there were moments I didn’t prep properly for and had to figure things out in real-time, but getting most of my tasks and responsibilities done ahead of time was beneficial to maintaining a healthy mental state. I also set realistic expectations for myself. This meant looking at my calendars (work and personal) and prioritizing my commitments and saying no to opportunities (again, both for work and my personal life). You have to get explicitly honest with yourself – what do you have the time to do at 100%? How often do you make a to-do list, check things off but realize later that those tasks got done at 20-30%? Wouldn’t it be better to commit to doing 2-3 tasks at a 100%? Lastly, I let myself revel in life’s daily victories. If I had a good day, or parented in a manner that didn’t require screaming, or went into a store and stuck to my budget, I gave myself the kudos I need to continue on with this ‘good behavior’. But not everyday is a good day, that part is not promised, but don’t let that discourage you. That only means that you must be patient with the process, you must follow through and don’t cutting corners.
So if you’re having more bad days than good, are you giving yourself pats on the back for the day’s you smile more than you frown? Are the expectations you’re setting realistic or are you trying to look busy for the sake of living a certain kind of lifestyle? Do you plan your days/months/year to set yourself up for success? As I begin to prep for the the months ahead and write out my goals, I realized that these are the questions I asked myself at the top of every new season. I want encourage you to do the same any time you feel yourself out of sorts. From personal experience, I can say that these questions help keep me on track to a happier version of myself.
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