What to do when it all gets a bit too much.
Our hectic lives can sometimes leave us feeling pretty flat and exhausted. This has a knock on effect on our family and working lives. In 2017/18 stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 44% of all work-related ill health cases and 57% of all working days lost due to ill health (Work related stress depression or anxiety statistics in Great Britain, 2018). Parents are particularly good at neglecting themselves. Of course we believe flexible working options could go a long way to helping reduce these figures. When you feel low, achieving a positive mind can seem pretty difficult. But it can be done with the following easy steps.
Signs You May Be Running On Empty.
- Tasks become overwhelming to the point where you ignore them. Sometimes even simple tasks become difficult.
- You get headaches (of course there are many reasons for headaches but stress is one of them)
- Eating a poor diet – motivation to eat mindfully and well just isn’t there but the takeaway number is! Chronic stress can lead to obesity or weight loss.
- Getting all snappy and shouty at the kids for no real good reason.
- Constant guilt and worrying, about everything.
- Lack of focus
- Gastrointestinal problems
Source: NHS Website
How do you switch from a negative state of mind to a positive one?
Here are a few simple things which could help you on your way.
#1 STOP and BREATHE
In a stressful moment, when things seem like they are getting out of control, step away. Stop and breathe, breathe from deep down at the bottom of your lungs. Sometimes all you need is that few long deep breaths to refocus and judge the situation for what it is.
#2 Be Realistic
Ask yourself ‘can I change this problem?’, ‘Is it my job/position/role to solve this problem?’, ‘Is there an actual answer?’. If the answer is ‘no’, then don’t waste your energy trying. Some things can be solved with time and effort but others simply can’t.
“Sometimes all we can do is surf the wave until we reach the shore, where we can walk forward once more.”
Focus your thoughts and energy on the here and now. Let’s face it, energy is in short supply when you have a young family. Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t and you will be well on your way to achieving a positive mind.
#3 Use Positive Affirmations
Nothing beats some positive affirmations or positivity quotes. Speak it and you will believe it. Why not put up some positive quotes around the house in frames, make them a piece of art.
#4 Take Some Time Out
As much as we love our family and friends we all need some time out. This may just be an hour away or maybe a night or two away. It may be on your own, with your OH or friends. We certainly all need some guilt free down time, for our mental and physical wellbeing. Honestly, you are allowed!
#5 Go For A Walk
Going for a walk can do wonders in achieving that positive mindset. Firstly, the fresh air, the green and gold of nature. Secondly the exercise. No work, pots or washing in sight. Check out these bloggers favourite days out for some inspiration. Unsurprisingly, the outdoors topped the list.
#6 Down Tools, Write A List
You’re rushing around, therefore losing focus and direction. Everything needs doing – NOW! But, it doesn’t. Stop what you are doing and write a list. Prioritise, what needs doing today and what can wait. It’s actually quite cathartic to tick things off a list. Can any of the tasks be simplified. For example online shopping, a quick call instead of a lengthy email?
If you find it difficult getting to sleep at night because you are worrying about things you need to do then write it all down in a list. Then put it down, read a book or watch a bit of Netflix and go to bed knowing that you have prioritised tasks for the next day.
#7 Speak To Friends
Sometimes you just have to unload with good friends. Friends don’t need to have the solution, just a pair of ears to listen and pair of arms for a hug! Sometimes just talking about issues out loud can lighten the load so much. Thus often putting things into perspective. Don’t let mum guilt get in the way of you taking a little time out to see friends.
Reading can really help you to unwind. Yes there may still be a full basket of washing needing doing or a toddler that may wake any second but this is your time, the washing can wait and the toddler might not actually wake.
Sometimes the focus needed to do craft can take your mind off whatever it is bothering you. Maybe a bit of baking instead.
#10 Exercise Your Way To A Positive Mind
Exercise can drastically improve the health of your mind as well as your body. Therefore helping you to focus and see clearly. It helps you stay positive and be better at decision making. Once a week maybe enough to see these benefits. Of course if it’s weight loss you’re after that requires a bit more effort!
#11 There’s An App For That
Check out this list of apps, all aim to set you on your way to achieving a positive and healthy mind.
Do you have any ways to unwind, refocus or regain a positive mind? Do you suffer from letting everything get on top of you? Let us know in the comments.
On A More Serious Note #ItsOkNotToBeOk
For most of us, these steps may be enough to find our happy place again. However, for some more help is needed. Maybe you aren’t sleeping (and it’s not the kids fault) or constantly sleeping. Maybe you are shutting yourself off from loved ones. Perhaps the anger or snappiness is getting worse. Perspective doesn’t even come into the equation and you can’t explain why you feel like this. As a result you feel like your life is overshadowed by a dark looming cloud. Possibly leading to suicidal thoughts, feelings of self loathing and worthlessness…please, please if this is you…talk to someone, anyone.
#12 Get Help
A very important but sometimes difficult step to achieving a positive mind. You are not alone and there is help out there. Above all DON’T suffer in silence. TALK. Make sure you get the help you need and deserve.
Samaritans 116 123 (Free phone)
SANE 0300 304 7000 4.30pm – 10.30pm daily
MIND 0300 123 3393 9am – 6pm Monday – Friday
MIND 0300 123 5999 (BlueLight Service) 9am – 6pm Monday – Friday or Text 84999
For some other parenting relevant helplines see this list here