Image source: Despicable Me Wiki
I’m having a bad, bad day.
The house is a mess, kids are already bored, you’ve been hit by a summer cold, and your better half’s on a business trip. Gru’s not the only one about to go off the deep end if he doesn’t get his way… especially if the matinee’s sold out AGAIN.
Flip the switch.
June’s been our cruelest month this year. It started with a Very Hungry Caterpillar party for our youngest, ended with a SuperHero party for our oldest, and in between I got laid out by a back injury and yet another pesky virus, had to deal with a crotchety old neighbour, attended far. too. many end-of-year concerts/field trips/graduation parties, and was shocked by the theft of our beloved double stroller from our porch. At ten o’clock in the morning! And a non-crotchety younger neighbour confronted the guy and he STILL took it and fled. Despicable.
So, between the exhaustion and the stress, it’s been kinda hard to stay positive. But, imagine you can hear my big sigh of relief here, it’s now July. So we get a reprieve from the school lunches, school runs, school events, school work… basically from school. I’m taking a minute to smell the fresh-cut grass and enjoy the breeze blowing through the house, and it’s got me thinking about how to break outta the negativity rut. Here’s what to do if you’ve got a frown to turn upside down:
- Cut back on junky food. Feeling grumpy means less will-power, more chocolate, and a vicious cycle. I always have room for diet tweaking… once the birthday cake’s finished, natch.
- Sleep. So simple, so effective, and yet so hard for me to convince the night owl within.
- Reduce the caff and the red. I’ll stick to one morning coffee and skip my nightcap to avoid being crankier than our birthday boy was at his party (definitely a CRUNCH for another day).
- Amp up the H2O. If I don’t track it, I won’t remember to drink my daily seven glasses. Well, I’ll remember, but between “Wow, she just learned to crawl and she made it all the way to the stairs!” and “I need a wipe,” you know what’s getting ignored (Hint: It’s NOT the baby about to attempt her first Everest). I’m not talking a tracking app here peeps, I like to old-school it to keep it simple.
- Meditate. If I’m extra irritable I’ll stretch for ten minutes beforehand (which also helps my back… gotta love taking out two birds with one yoga ball).
- Improve that exercise regimen. Seeing as how I worked out a grand total of three times during the month of June, this shouldn’t be too difficult.
- Lean on… everyone. Hanging out with a friend always makes me feel better, and sending the kids for a sleepover at Grandma’s is a win-win-win.
- Peruse that positivity journal. Reading something hilarious my kids said a year, or even a month, ago… awesome.
- Skip the chore chart to get something else done. A recent playdate coincided with a crazy long baby siesta, leaving me relatively child-free for a few hours. My options were to clean yet another toilet or to build the spice rack I’d been dreaming about. It still makes me smile when I walk in the kitchen.
- Eliminate any triggers that can be controlled. Much like not buying junk food will get you a little further in not eating junk food, not holding onto stuff that gets your back up will help you… not get your back up. It’s as easy as Goodwilling that toy vacuum cleaner that’s louder and more annoying than the real vacuum, or recycling that stack of House & Homes that seem to be laughing at you whenever you walk into your very un-H&H home. For example.
- Make a rule for when those crummy thoughts start to creep in. Guys, this is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing to keep in your back pocket if you want to flip any bad-habit switch. As in “When I can’t get the stroller-stealer-jerk out of my mind, I’ll go tend to the tomato plants,” or “When my neighbour gives me the stink eye, I’ll start singing with my son,” or even “When I feel sorry for myself because my life is just so hard, I’ll remember Steve Biko.” The list of names with the Cry Freedom credits… gets me every time.
When you’re stuck, it helps to get back to basics by eating right, getting enough sleep, and taking a break. But when the basics aren’t enough, figuring out what distraction techniques will work before the problem hits means you know exactly what to do when it all starts to go downhill. No steamrollers or freeze rays required.
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