While this season should be our most treasured (or at least we are told so commercially) of the year, we often find ourselves stressed, burnt out, and giving the scraps of such a life to our kids and partners. Me & you… we are going to turn the tables this season. Let’s fight back against what has become the season of BURNOUT and STRESS and offer our best to our families and ourselves.
While the idea sounds hopeful, I know it is easy to walk away from this screen and in an hour life will be back to the status quo, despite our best intentions to bring joy back into the season.
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The opposite of stress and frustration is JOY. How can we actively work to bring joy back into our life and home? Joy is a choice, no matter the month of the year. It’s up to YOU to be “in the thick of it” and CHOOSE to turn to joy. It’s a choice to put things in a greater perspective than yourself.
One way I have added joy to my home in a tangible way is by putting up classic yellow sticky notes. I placed them in the places I am often stationed (mirrors, kitchen window, fridge, etc.) On those sticky notes, I have reminders to choose joy or do better as a parent. I write quotes that resonated with me from podcasts, books, or Hobby Lobby signs because we all know those signs make us better people, lol.
Then, when I am stationed in that location fixing lunch, loading dishes, or applying mascara, I look at them and do a heart check. This is a tactic I only just started this fall and it has helped me stay centered as a mom and walk with more joy and less frustration.
While I fear a society that is completely self-centered, there is a lot to consider about ourselves when we are overly stressed or burnt out. I am not talking about basic self-care where mommy blogs tell you to sip wine and take a bubble bath. Let’s take this a little deeper. Consider who YOU are. Look at your Enneagram numbers, your Myers Briggs, and/or your Love Languages. You can find simple personality tests online if you are starting this conversation from ground zero. Now, with the knowledge of who you are, cater your self-care to YOU.
Maybe, as an Enneagram 1, you love a perfect matchy-matchy wrapping paper and instead of wrapping being stress-inducing, that is comfort-inducing for you. Do it. Set aside time to be perfectionistic in your wrapping style this season. Maybe your Love Language is quality time - use that to feel loved this season. Set aside time to sit with your kids and read. Meet a friend for a lengthy coffee date or invite them over for one if childcare is an issue. Tis the season to indulge in things that bring you joy and knowing who you are at your core helps fuel you and create added joy instead of stress.
Let’s talk about perspective. If we can shift our minds to a posture of gratitude, it helps increase our “joy-meter”. Have perspective that though we may be in a hard place financially (or otherwise), at least we have XYZ because we know others don’t have the bare essentials of what we do have. It is one thing to consider this mentally, but what about putting your feet to this? I encourage you to get involved in a volunteer opportunity this season to help remind you that your problems (albeit big to you) may be small to others. Volunteering doesn’t have to look like serving in a soup kitchen, but it may. It could also look like gifting something to the local homeless guy, donating to a great cause, buying some toys for a charity drive, volunteering time to help families “shop” for toys for tots, etc. Perspective.
Okay, I saved the best for last… it is the BEST thing you can do to create change in yourself and your home, but it's the hardest. Fair warning.
Break up with bad habits. You might say “I don’t really have bad habits… I could stop biting my nails, but how does that help stress and burnout?”
We are going to think deeper. I am encouraging you to break up with things like yelling at your kids (no matter the reason: over stimulation, frustration, kids' behavior). I am urging you to break up with wine o’clock if that is what you are working towards every single day and you can’t handle the fridge being without it. I want you to break up with staying up late just to recover and have alone time. I encourage you to break up with things that are keeping you from being your best and generating a healthy self and home. You may feel wine and Netflix until midnight is what you need, but it’s setting your tomorrow up to repeat the same miserable cycle you are trying to break. Put the nightly glass down and go to be early for a few days and you will likely see an improvement in your daily parenting routine. You will have more to give because you didn’t start your day depleted of energy. Of course, these aren't the only things you could break up with, but do some reflection and decide what you need to give up very intentionally for a season or for forever because it will be better for you and your home.
Back to happy notes. We really want the best for you this season. We want you to have joy and share it with your family and others. We also know that, no matter what, parenting is hard. It doesn’t have to bring us to our knees every day. We can do this, but guess what? We are adults and change starts with us. Even if you just add sticky notes to your life this week, I would encourage you to make a move toward progress. If you need a “moment” to unplug or write those sticky notes, grab our free coloring pages when you sign up for our VIP email list. You ca set the kids up with a coloring activity while you enjoy your “moment”.
Wishing you the best today, tomorrow, and next year. Small changes lead to big waves of change. Start somewhere.