By Amy Larson, Mom Fuel Empire
There are pages and pages of books and blog posts dedicated to what people usually refer to as “self-help”. All of them promise the next best way to solve all of your problems, to help you have a better life than you have right now.
Don’t get me wrong, some of them are really good! But if you’re anything like me, you devour books and blog posts and podcasts and Pinterest, and then when things don’t work out as the author or speaker promised, we get disappointed. When all of our efforts don’t seem to produce much change, I often feel like giving up. But I am often reminded that I’m stronger than that, and even more than that, I have the strongest power in the universe on my side: God.
My husband is a pastor, and one of the things he says often is, “God loves you exactly as you are, but way too much to leave you that way.” There are times in life where we need to push forward and strive to become the best version of ourselves we can be. Actually it’s a lot of the time. But there is also a time where it’s necessary to recognize that it’s OK to not be OK.
Life is hard. And when you recognize how hard life can be, then it’s time to turn to the only real source of strength: God! Do you see a theme here? God is THE theme. He is our everlasting source of strength. And, momma, God wants you to be OK.
This list contains some suggestions to help you calm some stress and anxiety and, ultimately, help you be more OK. Not all of these suggestions will work well for you, so try them and take note of which ones you try and which work best for you. No two moms have exactly the same life, and what a beautiful blessing that is!
1. Go Outside
Make some time to go outside today, either on your own or with your family. Fresh air and the Vitamin D-rich sunshine are so very beneficial to our health. Mom life can get pretty chaotic and we often forget to simply go outside. Take a walk with your kids, start and tend to a garden, find a water table toy for your little ones (I found a great one for about $30 at Aldi this summer), do whatever you like to do … just do it outside. Add 10 minutes of outside time a day and add more time if you feel you need it.
2. Eat & Drink
Before you get too excited, I don’t mean to eat French fries and drink wine. I wish I did mean those things! Drink water and drink a lot of it. Make sure you drink water throughout your whole day and make sure your kids drink water, too. We are busy moms and we may not have time for a perfect diet, so simply make sure you are eating some real and nutritious food. Try to get the majority of your groceries from the outer aisles (produce, meat, dairy) and avoid or limit some inner aisles (super processed foods, pop, etc.) Unless you are intentionally fasting, don’t skip meals during the day. I know it’s hard to find time to even think about eating most days, but your body and brain need fuel, momma. And no one wants to live life “hangry”.
3. Journal or Color
Stay with me here even if you have zero clue about how to start journaling. I remember in Jr. High a theology teacher gave me a blank notebook and said “here, journal”. In my mind, I thought “Nah, hard pass.”
Journalling isn’t only writing your thoughts on a blank page. Some moms can easily write their thoughts out in a blank journal, but some moms need a little bit more structure and guidance. Many journals at your bookstore or online have prompted journaling questions to help guide you through the process of journaling.
Adult coloring books are all the rage right now. I’ve got a stack of them ranging from The Nightmare Before Christmas to The Lutheran Catechism. Find a coloring book that makes you happy and grab your closest Mr. Sketch smelly markers or Gel pens from Jr. High. Coloring encourages calm and creativity.
Here is my current mom hack: journaling and coloring all in one! It’s like a 2 in 1 body wash and shampoo that washes away stress and the dingy, dark feelings of anxiety. This coloring book hymn journal creatively guides me to a deeper connection with the hymns I know and love while guiding and encouraging my walk with Jesus.
4. Read the Bible
Reading the Bible is a simple and effective way to get yourself out of a “funk.” God’s Word provides so much wisdom and so many blessings. If you are looking for a more guided way to read Scripture, find a daily devotional book that you enjoy. Daily devotionals are a great way to make a habit out of studying God’s Word daily. The daily devotion book I am currently reading is called Grace Looks Amazing on You by Amy Seiffert. Each daily devotion is short and sweet and packed with God’s Word and blessings.
5. Talk About It
Sometimes when we are having a hard day (or week, year, decade, etc.), it is helpful to talk through and process your thoughts and feelings with someone else. The hard part is deciding who to talk to. Choose to talk to someone you trust who you enjoy talking to, someone who makes you feel good about yourself. It’s totally fine to begin your conversation with “I don’t really need advice about this, I just need to vent.” Or, if you DO want advice, find someone with wisdom and opinions you respect. Practical advice and validation are both things we moms need in our lives.
6. Make a (Simple) Plan
Simple Plan isn’t just the name of a semi-popular pop-punk band from Canada, it’s also a great concept for moms to use in their daily life. Make a plan and keep it simple. If you’re struggling with healthy eating, make a plan to have healthy meals and snacks, put together a shopping list, and stick to it. We often find ourselves in a panic because we didn’t plan properly. If you’re having trouble finding direction during these days of shelter-in-place, make a fun daily and weekly schedule to keep things moving and keep things interesting.
Most importantly, work what’s working. If you find it easy to keep track of plans on your phone, do it there. Tell Siri or Alexa your shopping list and reminders. Planning allows us to more effectively and efficiently use the (limited) resources we have, and if things are running smoothly we’re freed up to be able to enjoy life!
Sometimes we aren’t OK and it doesn’t seem like there’s much we can do about it. It doesn’t mean we need to blame ourselves, others, or that we should give up. When we recognize that things aren’t OK, that things aren’t as they should be, we can look at the big picture and see that God is still in control, Jesus loves us, and so do a whole lot of other people. Once you’ve accepted the fact that you aren’t OK, you can start to get down to the business of either changing your circumstances or changing your perspective–and enjoying life!
Amy Larson is the founder of the Mom Fuel Empire. This blog was originally published at https://www.momfuelempire.com/what-if-youre-not-ok-right-now/. Photo by Dương Nhân from Pexels.