“You are a feeling ‘being’ to the core of you, and so it’s no accident that every part of your human body is created so you can feel life!” ~ The Power, by Rhonda Byrne
But sometimes, we don’t feel good. All the demands of mothering have a way of overwhelming us, sometimes so quickly that we don't even notice the shift from feeling good to feeling agitated, anxious, and uneasy. The fact of the matter is, our feelings go through a natural ebb and flow like everything else in nature. Sometimes we can't get enough of our kids and love our jobs as mothers; then other days, we might feel like we want to shut ourselves in a dark closet and sleep the day away (Oh...is that just me?).
Whenever you feel in a slump, kinda sluggish, tired, irritable, easy to anger, and out of sorts, you've caught a "soul fever." See it's not just our physical bodies that can get sick, we can get sick emotionally. Remember, we are feeling beings! We feel on both physical and emotional levels; and neither is immune to feeling a little "off" once and a while.
How do you know if you have a soul fever? Well, you'll feel overwhelmed, stressed, and at odds with your true self (Kim John Payne, Simplicity Parenting). Motherhood can be a fertile breeding ground for soul fever "germs"-- constant busy-ness, excessive multitasking, unending demands, and little time for rest. I personally have found myself catching more soul fevers as a mom more than at any other time in my life because there is so much to do... for other people. It's so easy to completely neglect myself and my needs. Whenever I do this, I neglect to honor my purpose-- nurturing and connecting to myself.
If you’ve been feeling boredom, irritation, disappointment, worry, anger, guilt, hate, despair and fear more often than feeling good, it’s time to give yourself a couple good doses of soul medicine-- attention, gentleness, and compassion.
Step 1: PAY ATTENTION TO HOW YOU FEEL
The most important mindfulness tip is just noticing…noticing how you feel all throughout the day. The more you practice paying attention to yourself, the better you’ll get at meeting your needs before you develop a full blown soul fever! So start to tune into your feelings throughout the day. Just notice how you feel right upon waking. Notice how you feel as you get ready for your day. Notice how you are feeling while driving to work or carpooling the kids to their events or school. As you prepare dinner, how are you feeling? As you settle into bed at night, what are you thinking about? How are you feeling?
Simply notice the tendency of your thoughts and emotions. Do you tend to feel more frantic than at peace, more rushed than calm, more anxious than content, or more happy than sad-- and when? Just start to notice patterns in your emotions and how they coincide with the routine of your day. Once you start to see some patterns, you'll become aware of what parts of your daily routine might need a little tweak to honor yourself and your needs.
Step 2: GET INTO THE HABIT OF ASKING YOURSELF, “WHAT DO I NEED?”
I LOVE this step. It's so simple, yet so very effective.
Try this: for the rest of your day today, tune into yourself and how you feel every hour (seriously) by silently asking yourself, "what would feel good right now?," or "what do I need right now?" I've found that just tuning into that quiet voice tells me exactly what I need to do to stay balanced and feel good. Sometimes (actually, a majority of the time), I don't need much. It might be a yummy coffee drink while I'm taking my daughter to school, a glass of wine while I am preparing dinner, or to just sit on the couch with my girls while they are watching a video (instead of cleaning the bathroom). Meeting these seemingly simple needs does SO much to help me feel good consistently.
Step 3: CREATE "WIN/WIN" SCENARIOS (everyday!)
A "win/win" situation is where everyone's needs, including yours, are taken into account. It's not selfish to meet your needs ALONG with meeting the needs of your family, mama. This is how everybody wins. But the key here is being aware (aka-mindful) of what you need. Remember, no one knows you as well as you do. If you want to feel good, you must get creative about honoring what you need along with the demands of everyone else's schedule. So if it's Wednesday, and the weekend to-do list represents all the things you have to do for other people, you need to throw on the breaks and schedule in some time for yourself. Win/Win. Practice integrating your needs while you meet the needs of your family. See how this feels.
As moms, we habitually put everyone else’s needs before ours. And that's fine, as long as our needs are next in line...at the very least on the line. And get this...sometimes, our needs actually need to come first (as in the event of a loss of cabin pressure in an aircraft!). Truly. When it comes to meeting needs, I follow the “one for you, one for me” principle. Balance, mama, balance! That always feels great!