So, yesterday I had a horrible day. Had frustrating experiences with co-workers that felt all-consuming. I felt stuck in a bad mental place.
My new approach to each time I feel stress or a set-back is to ask myself -- how can I use this as a time to practice what I preach? So I took out my "SOS checklist" and started practicing self-care, slowing down and looking for micro-moments to feel grateful for.
I had to do around 10 of them before I felt anything click, but then it did. I noticed the smile on the kid's face who bought my cookies at the bake sale. (Let's be honest, my mother-in-law made those cookies. Yes, I even outsource baked goods.) I filled up my loyalty card at my coffee place. And, I noticed what a gorgeous fall day it was.
This is our goal. It's not about never stressing out, or not having bad days. Hell, we are working moms, those are inevitable. It's finding ways to bounce back quicker than we have in the past, so that those bad days don't consume us.
Create Your SOS Checklist
When we are in a bad place, it's the hard to think clearly and remember what works best to help ourselves. Your goal is to develop a checklist you can turn to be on autopilot. Each of ours will be different - experiment with what works with you. Each time you have a bad moment, try something new until you've built a list of 10 to 20 things you can turn to. Write them down.
Here are some ideas:
Journal. Spend 10 minutes getting my thoughts about the issue down, including a 5 minute brainstorm on concrete things I can do to solve it. This shifts the locus of control from the problem to me.
Rub the tips of your fingers together. Tiny, but super powerful for me.
Aromatherapy. I have been shocked about the power this
Enjoy a cup of tea or savor a small piece of chocolate. Really pay attention to the taste.
Create a "Happy Playlist" of favorite songs that bring you into a happy place
Look through your favorite photos or Instagram feed
Go for a walk outside. Notice the little things while your out.
Enjoy some fur therapy. Pets are so good for us!
Call a friend. Experiment with not talking about the issue dragging you down, but about good things in each of your lives. Rehashing can just bring you down even more.
Get a massage (even 10 minute chair massage helps!)
Get your nails done. I often get pedicures done during the day when I need to knock out a deck -- my type of multi-tasking!
Get a blow out. Again you can multi-task this one. I always feel so much more confident with amazing hair.
Take a bath
Play with your kids. Tickle fights are the best for that -- laughter is contagious
Go for a run. Even 10 minutes can help change your hormones
Take 5 deep breaths. 6 seconds in, 8 seconds out.
Meditate. Headspace has a few SOS meditations that are 3 minutes.
Reframe. How could this situation actually end up being something good for you?
Gratitude. Think about 3 concrete things you are grateful for. Bonus points for being grateful about things related to the issue at hand.
Smile for 60 seconds. Our actions dictate our mood. Act the way you want to feel.
Do something kind to someone else. Even little things like holding the door for someone can change our mood.
Slow down. Are you running a mile a minute? Can you take something off your plate over the next couple of days. Even canceling 1 meeting can help you feel more in control.
What works for you? Would love to keep building this list!