Sometimes the summer holidays aren’t all that fun. Normal routines get messed up and it can be hard to fill the day. Lots of the normal places you go are either closed for the holiday or packed out with terrifying marauding older children. Everyone else is posting pictures of blissfully relaxed family holidays and you’re there tearing your hair out!
By the time you get to the end of the day you have completely had it. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as being able to get away from it all when you have babies or toddlers, as unless you are really lucky, it’s not like you can put them to bed at 7pm and walk away and chill out for the next 12 hours. Even if you have a good sleeper there are still all the other jobs that need doing. This can become overwhelming if you let it and you can feel your stress levels rise.
Don’t forget: You are allowed to have a wallow.
If you need to have a cry or a sulk, go for it. Negative emotions are just as valid as positive ones and if you have been holding it together all day and need to vent, you absolutely should. There seems to be a huge pressure on people to feel positive all the time, which in my opinion is unrealistic and harmful. Of course you are going to feel like crap sometimes, everybody does.
But if you are fed up of feeling shitty, what can you do to feel more positive, quickly and easily?
1. Switch your focus. When you think about the problem it becomes bigger and bigger in your mind, until it’s all you think about. Your mind is a wonderful thing because it can filter out all the millions of bits of information it is taking in every second, and direct your attention to one thing only. Are you noticing the temperature of your left little toe right now? Your body is taking in that information, but it doesn’t bother you with it – imagine what it would be like if you were conscious of everything your body does and everything coming in through each sense! So clearly, while you have had a bad day, and you feel terrible, you can switch your focus to everything and anything that is NOT the problem. There are literally millions of things going on around you right now that are NOT the problem.
2. Put things into perspective. How bad is it really? How many good days have you had compared to this one bad one? Has it really ALWAYS been like this? Take a piece of paper and write down three things you are grateful for in your life. Practising gratitude is hugely beneficial – instead of having a moan on social media, how about putting the three things you are grateful for as your status? See what happens.
3. Breathing and grounding. If you are feeling stressed out and tense, some deep breathing will really help. Focus on your breath and take a deep breath in, feeling the air filling your lungs all the way down to your bottom. Pause at the top and notice the stillness, then slowly and completely exhale. A few of these will tell your body that it is relaxed, and the production of the stress hormones will stop. Place your feet on the floor as you do this and imagine roots growing out of the soles of your feet, spreading deep into the ground beneath you, feeling that connection between you and the world and everything that matters to you.
4. Posture. There is a really interesting connection between your body’s position and how you feel. (You must be aware of the politicians’ “Power Stance”! Silly as it looks, they are doing it to make themselves feel more powerful.) If you put yourself in a sad shape: head down, sad mouth, slumped shoulders, you will feel sad. Straighten your spine, shoulders back, look up, chin up, and SMILE! Your body will tell your brain that you are happy and confident, because that is how it feels. Fake it till you make it and you will start to feel better!
I hope that gives you a few ideas to try – these are simple tips that can be done anywhere, anytime, when you feel things are getting on top of you. If all else fails, and you just can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, ask for help. There will be someone in your life who can help you.
You have survived 100% of the bad days so far – put on your favourite song really loud and celebrate!