Riding out the lows.
Some days it really feels like the universe is on your side. And some days… it’s just not. And then there are THOSE days: sick kids, broken appliances, fender benders, you name it. Those are the days when the universe is actually out to get you.
We have the best neighbours. Not the grumpy old man, who reminds us of Mr. Fredricksen on a bad day (too bad he hasn’t helium-ballooned his house outta here), but the family on the other side, who eagerly share their gazillion tools, invite the hood for nightly smores around their backyard fire pit, and gave us a key to do laundry for our DAILY loads during the SIX weeks that our machines were renoed out of commission. Seriously guys, they’re just that nice. So we all felt more than a little heartbroken for them in the summer when the Dad fell off a ladder (building a treehouse for his kids!) and broke both ankles and a couple of vertebrae. He’s been out of commission for MONTHS. But you know what the Mom said a minute after they got home from the hospital? We’re so happy he didn’t break his neck. How’s that for looking on the bright side?
Alex recently introduced Jack to an old fave: Finding Nemo. According to Alex “that lady who plays Dory is really funny.” True dat. She is also always, always optimistic. While other memory-challenged little fishies might refuse to swim out of the seeweed every morning, Dory keeps on keeping on.
If nothing’s going your way and you’re looking for a little somethin’ somethin’ to distract you and get your groove back, try this:
- Finish the phrase “But at least…,” just like our glass-half-full neighbour.
- Do something simple that hits your satisfaction button. Some days cleaning out a drawer might be the only way to feel like you’ve accomplished something. But at least you’ll accomplish something.
- Do something for someone else. I know – you’re doing everything for everyone else every minute of every day. But if you pay it forward to a friend/acquaintance/stranger, you might actually get to hear a thank you. Woot! You can tackle manner-teaching when you’ve got more energy – we all gotta pick our battles.
- Stick to a general routine as much as you can. Letting the dishes/dinner/dirty pile of clothes slide for too long will only make you feel even more bummed and undermotivated. Same goes for exercise. Just because you’ve missed it for a week or three doesn’t mean you can’t get back on that horse, or, er, bicycle.
- Meditate. It’s only about the millionth time I’ve said it, right?
- Try something you’ve been wanting to try for far, far too long. I’m not talking cooking five-hundred and twenty-four recipes to Master the Art of French Cooking: over-committing is a set-up for even more frustration. This summer I went to my first ever Shakespeare in High Park. I’m not even a big Bard buff, but it’s been on my list for FIVE summers now. It was a less-than two-hour time commitment and I walked away totally inspired. Set the bar low and you’ll always be happily surprised.
- Break out those theme songs! Or any non-kid-related songs. Doesn’t matter if you’re listening with your munchkins, they need to learn an appreciation for all kinds of music just as much as they need to learn the world doesn’t revolve around them and their love of Raffi.
- Create your own silver lining playbook containing quotes/affirmations/jokes. Write them in a positivity journal and just try to feel bad when you peruse. I’ve got a zillion faves, from the inspirational (You may never know what results come of your actions. But if you do nothing, there will be no results) to the animated (you got it: Just keep swimming).
- Talk it out if you really can’t shake those blues. Find a listener who’ll listen without interrupting or trying to solve your problems. If no one you know fits the bill, try a hotline, such as one of these ones. They’re not just for emergencies peeps, most callers are regular people who just need a little extra support.
Even Gandhi had doubts, guys. Gandhi! When doldrums set in and your mind gets stuck in that negativity rut, the main mantra to remember is “This too shall pass.” It’s also wise to keep it in mind when you’re flying high – helps you appreciate those highs even more.
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