Recently I've found myself feeling out of sorts.
The most fitting words I can use to describe this feeling are tapped out.
Thankfully it only took a few days of this for me to realize I needed a plan to turn things around. I needed to find a way to get back to me and take care of myself in my present circumstances. Sometimes we think we will feel better when the kids are older or we earn more money or lose weight or find the perfect partner or whatever other excuse you'd like to insert here. Read: I'll be happy when ________________. We're waiting for someone or something out there to make us feel better when really it needs to come from within. The good news is we are in control of our inner environment. The bad news is that means we're responsible. As in, no more excuses! The idea is to find a way to support ourselves so that we can stay calm and centered no matter what is going on around us. We need to refill the well.
There is no one "right" way to do this. I'll share my process and I'd love to hear yours too - please chime in in the comments!
My steps for Refilling the Well:
1. Gather supplies and carve out time. My most crucial supplies are simple - silence, pen and paper.
2. Let it all out. I grab my journal and just write. As I so eloquently said in one of my therapy sessions recently, do a feelings dump. Lovely, huh :-) Pour it out. Forget about grammar. Or tact. Channel your inner whining toddler or pissed off teenager. This is for your eyes only, so don't hold back. Here's a real-life example from my own journal:
My brain is overloaded. My house is a mess. I have nothing written for my website - how embarrassing! It's been like a month (easy - maybe longer). I haven't blogged. I also feel sad that Lainey's getting so big. She stands up now! What is it that I want? I guess I just hate feeling like I am so wrapped up in surviving - getting through the day - that I miss enjoying my life. Maybe it goes back to intentions and attention. What do I want to gain from this day? From this life! After all how we spend our days is how we spend our lives. What is important to me? What is my purpose? My focus right now?
3. Identify the core issue and explore it more deeply. The question that seemed to be central to my struggle: What do I want my days (my life) filled with? Work through more journal writing, paint or collage about it, meditate on it, or talk it out with a friend. I decided to create a list to help me sort through my thoughts.
I want my days (my life) filled with...
- a creative way to capture memories
- time spent in nature
- time spent reconnecting within
4. Create a plan to make it happen. How can you support your own needs? What supplies do you need? What rituals and routines can you create to support your goals? Continuing with my example:
- family: turn off my phone and the tv and be present with my loved ones
- a creative way to capture memories: write in my gratitude journal using the My Daily Journal app on my iPhone, take pictures using my iPhone camera, write in my journal, spend time with my self-care basket (holds my visual journaling supplies), start a binder a la project life to record our days
- spend time in nature: take walks at a consistent time (before Lainey's nap, after lunch, before bed are some of my favorites), look out the window and talk about the weather and seasonal changes with Lainey (helps me pause and truly notice)
- spend time reconnecting within: relax during one of Lainey's naps (journal, meditate), go to yoga class, possibly sign up for 21 secrets to encourage more art journal time, schedule an artist date
- reading: put a basket of books I want to read next to a comfy chair, read in the evenings instead of watching tv
5. List specific action steps to get you there. Things you can do immediately to move you toward your goal. These are most helpful if they feel easily doable and you are excited to put them on your to-do list. For me to bring my days more into alignment with my ideals, I listed:
- schedule a few hours to myself asap
- purchase binder inserts
- register for 21 secrets
- schedule yoga classes for April
- find a basket and fill it with books
Within days of writing my list I carved out time to spend an afternoon in Starbucks sipping a chai latte and writing. I ventured to Target and bought some supplies that I plan to use to record our days. While there I discovered they had Smash journals! I have been dying to get one so I treated myself and I also got a few fun accessories for my self-care basket! I looked around the house and found a basket and filled it with books. I put it next to the rocker and I've already spent time there reading. I feel refueled already. Small steps truly do make a big difference!
It all boils down to taking the time to pause and reconnect within. To step back and simply notice. How are you feeling? What do you need? Are you content with your life? Are you moving toward your goals? Really listen. Figure out what it is you want and then craft a plan for making it happen. One baby step at a time.