So many days I wake up to someone calling for help. My day starts off rushed, my thoughts barely collected as I jump out of bed to be a hero. It leaves me feeling scattered and unfocused. I quickly turn sour towards those who ask for help, even if it is something as mundane as needing a drink of water. The load feels heavy and overwhelming. The first hours of the day pass quickly, with little time or mental energy to step aside and give focus to what I want for the day. I feel I have no time to do anything and I’m much more likely to eat Doritos than attempt to salvage the day.
If, on the other hand, I wake up to a quiet house and give myself five minutes to focus on gratitude, positive affirmations, and goals for the day, I find myself in a completely different place mentally. If I fill my bucket first, if I allow myself the grace to intentionally claim the day, I can make more of it, or at least be more pleasant and feel more in control.
As a caregiver and a mom, I often feel I lose control of my day. Demands come from all angles, not just from caregiving but from other family, friends, jobs, household duties, everywhere! It’s like I’m being attacked by a pack of hungry wolves, none of which seem to know I’m hollow on the inside.
It’s an easy complaint for busy anyone, especially caregivers to make… there are not enough hours in the day. However, when I look hard, I find small pockets of time are often wasted in thoughtless acts. Scrolling social media, worrying about an upcoming meal or event, paging through gossip magazines. I think I need a mind numbing activity to calm the stress and tune out the world of worries. And what it leaves at the end of the day is little personal fulfillment and more exhaustion.
What if, instead of turning off, I turned inward? What if I laid out guided intentions for our day, positive affirmations to reflect on, visualizations of a better self to fill our minds and hearts? Pray, meditate, breathe; what I do with my spare three minutes here and four minutes there can have a direct impact not only on my attitude, but my mental capacity to fulfill my duties AND my heart.
Here’s a trick I learned long ago from a show called Seinfeld. Try this with me. Start tomorrow with a simple affirmation or reminder that brings you peace.
If you’re Kramer or Frank, your line is “Serenity Now.” Other examples include: I am strong. I am capable. I am enough. I am doing my best. I’ve got life by the balls and ain’t no one gonna stop me now. Whatever speaks to you, you do you.
Now, when anxiety is creeping in and your instinct is to scroll everyone else’s life highlights, instead, close your eyes and repeat your affirmation. Focus on the words, on your breath, and the air and sounds around you. Be present. Serenity Now! Insanity later, perhaps, but that’s coming either way.