Parenting: It’s not for the faint of heart. There are moments of pure joy, yes; and there are moments when you feel you cannot possibly endure another minute of this torture. And then you feel like crap for feeling like crap because we’re all supposed to be puffy clouds of bubbling gratitude each and every moment. But who can really live like that?
One of my favorite bloggers, Glennon Doyle Melton of the fabulous community Momastery, talks about the two different kinds of time that we all experience: Chronos and Kairos. Kairos is that perfect moment when the kids are sleeping and you feel wonderful and you’re snuggled up with your husband on the couch, and the universe seems to be shining its glory directly on your perfect little life and you are full to the brim with deep happiness and gratitude. Time is standing still in utter beauty as you observe your life from this glorious place.
Then there is Chronos. Chronos is regular life, when it has been a DAY and you’re counting the minutes until someone relieves you from caring for these grumpy little humans. You’re losing patience by the second and running out of ideas for survival.
This post is for those moments of insufferable Chronos. For anyone in the throes of a struggle day. Those days when you’re so depressed you can’t think clearly. When you’re so anxious you can’t swallow. When you’re too tired and overwhelmed to find the line between your true self and your present misery. If you’re close to giving up and completely losing your ever-loving mind, here’s a ten-question checklist that might help you get back on track.
- Have you engaged in self care? Have you showered, maybe thrown on a little makeup? Have you made yourself a nice lunch or a great cup of coffee? Show yourself a little love and you’ll be able to ask more from yourself.
- Have you gone outside? A walk always, always helps my mood. Something about physical activity works really well to realign my brain and my body.
- Have you eaten a real meal and had enough water? Basic, but extremely important.
- Have you gotten enough sleep? Even if the answer here is, “No, and I don’t know when I will ever feel well rested again,” sometimes just acknowledging that you’re exhausted puts things in perspective and reminds you that things might not be as bad as they feel in the moment.
- Have you laughed? They make cat videos for a reason. I know it sounds silly, but laughing provides a great burst of happiness for your brain.
- Have you asked for what you need? Call your husband and tell him you don’t have it in you to make dinner. Text your neighbor and suggest a spontaneous playdate. Call your doctor. Stop by and talk to your boss. Think about making the next right action.
- Have you connected meaningfully with someone you love? Get your best friend on the phone. Not a text–make an actual phone call.
- Have you found a good distraction? Try listening to a podcast or your favorite album or a compelling audiobook. It helps to get out of your own head for a bit.
- Have you named your feelings? Sometimes, writing a short journal entry about how I am feeling changes my whole mood. It’s an act of grace to give your emotions space in the physical world. If you don’t have time to write, it can even help to talk to yourself for a minute. “I am feeling sad today. I am feeling hurt because of XYZ that happened today. I am deserving of love and good things. Tomorrow will probably be better than today.”
- Lastly, have you faced the demon? What is really weighing you down? Try to get to the heart of the matter. Is it a big project you haven’t started? A tough conversation you’ve been putting off? Is it time to be honest with yourself about something? Make some progress toward your goals. Focus on what you CAN control, and then take action.
Any other tips for breaking the spell of a bad day?