Shifting Back Into Balance And Positivity

Well, here we are in month seven of the whole COVID situation. How are you doing?

For me, my answer can depend on the day (or sometimes the minute), but overall lately I’ve been feeling much more balanced and at peace with life. Here are some of the things that I think have been contributing to those positive feelings:

I’ve been paying more attention to the way I talk to myself. For me, it can be so easy to get into the routine of living in a really demeaning space mentally. I start to question my worth and my abilities and, well, any little thing, seemingly. It can be so easy to let those thoughts spiral into a dark place. BUT, when I can recognize that I’m in or approaching that dark space and work to pull myself out of it (and it IS work), I’m usually able to turn things around. Something that always helps me is asking myself this question: “Would you say or think these things about someone you cared about?” The answer, of course, is always, “No!” Why, then, should I be talking to myself that way? That perspective really helps to shift things to me to a place where the more positive and rational part of my brain can step in and take over once again.

I’ve been limiting my time on social media. I’m not absent from Instagram or Facebook by any means, but I’ve noticed that my tendency to spend waaaaay too much time tapping through Instagram stories in particular wasn’t doing anything for my overall well being or confidence. It can be easy to start the comparison game, for one — especially right now where there are fewer defined routines in general. And even when the comparison piece isn’t the issue, it can just start to be a numbing space — one I realize I go too deeply into when I don’t want to deal with what’s REALLY going on in my life or how I’m feeling at a given moment. So I try to keep story time a bit more restrained, and to spend more time in the here and now.

I’ve added some things to my plate. I know — this one sounds counterintuitive! But adding in a few things — not an overwhelming amount, by the way, which is key — is helping me bring more structure back into my life, which is good for me. I’m doing more freelance writing, and I’m saying “yes” to more opportunities in general. This is helping me feel more like me.

I’ve been trying to get back to simple things I love daily. I found I’d really gotten away from them in the past few weeks! (Some of that has had to do with early pregnancy.) I’ve been cooking and baking more, including trying new recipes, which is something I love. I’ve also been reading more and listening to podcasts (and also diving back into working on my own podcast more). Also taking the time to be present in those moments — even if I’m just taking a few moments to enjoy a cup of tea in silence or with a good book — is so hugely helpful.

I’m well into in my second trimester now. This, obviously, only has to do with timing, but boy has it made a difference! There are still days where I don’t feel my best, but I’m SO thankful to have the first trimester behind me, along with the extreme exhaustion and food aversions.

I connected with a therapist. I actually haven’t even had my first appointment yet (it’s next week!), but just the act of “meeting” her over the phone and getting that first appointment scheduled has helped me feel better. I knew I wanted someone who had lots of experience in perinatal support, since it’s so strange to be pregnant right now and I wanted to bring in a strong team to help me navigate it. I found someone I think will be a great fit, and I look forward to getting those sessions going.

I’ve stopped linking my mood to my productivity. Even though I’ve added things to my plate, as I mentioned above, which helps a ton with overall structure and routine, I’ve been able to get to a place where I feel SO much less tied to being “productive.” (I put that in quotes because it’s often so nebulous to begin with!) A day can come to a close and feel happy and complete without me having to prove to myself that I’ve accomplished X number of things.

I’ve spent more unstructured time with Maggie. Whether it’s playing at the park, baking together, exploring our backyard, or just reading tons of books snuggled on the couch, I’ve loved this special bonus time with my girl. Though sometimes it can be overwhelming to be sure, so often it’s just plain sweet, and I’m doing a better job reminding myself of that (rather than feeling defeated by our situation).

I’ve distanced myself from some of the things I know will make me feel angry. Anger has been a dominant emotion for me over the past few months, and while I believe some of that anger is warranted, it doesn’t make it feel any better or more healthy. Justified or not, I don’t like feeling that way so frequently, and so I’ve worked to try to pull away from some of the things I know will trigger that emotion for me.

I’m focusing on the incredibly long list of things I have to be thankful for. It’s easy to dwell on the fact that there’s so much to grieve right now, but it’s also true that our family has so very much to be thankful for. (It’s crazy how much we have to be thankful for, in fact.) And so I’m doing a better job of being conscious of that side of things as much as possible, which leaves me feeling so much more content, calm, and grateful.

Note: This is not to say, of course, that I don’t still have my moments where I feel like everything is hard or too much or I just feel SO OVER IT with this whole pandemic situation, but I realized I’d been in a much happier space recently and wanted to share some of the things I’d been doing to help myself get there. What about you? What have you been doing to help yourself thrive lately?

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