If I had a dollar for every time someone said to me, “I don’t know how you do it”, well hell, I’d have a lot more money than I do now!
But in all seriousness, I get asked that question a lot over stuff that I consider routine, so I wanted to talk about it a bit and tell you my “secrets” to handling life’s troubles.
A little backstory, in case you didn’t know: right now it’s just me and three kids (4, 9, 12) and three dogs (Saint Bernard, Great Pyrenees and their baby) plus a huge mess of a house/yard, school, yoga/fitness, work and everything else that life throws my way. In the past two years I’ve had to deal with a lot of shit: from a pool liner replacement/resurface and the subsequent company hassle to a bathroom remodel, a litter of puppies, travelling, virtual school, COVID, training, various marital issues, and so on. I could write a whole blog on the things that I’ve endured but that would take too long and probably be pretty annoying. The point is simply that I’ve had to deal with a lot of crap being thrown my way (as most of us do), and aside from a select handful of incredible people that are always there when I need them, I’ve done it alone. Not only that, but I seem to do it with a sense of ease and grace. I never stop and I’m always doing more and more, regardless of what is thrown at me.
Let me start by saying that what you see is what you get, and I don’t sugarcoat anything, so if it seems like I’m handling things well, I am. On the flip side, if I seem stressed and ready to flip out\, I most certainly am. The majority of the time, I handle things fairly well and I simply smile and keep moving forward no matter what. So, how do I do it? Simple.
- I lose my shit, and I let my emotions be front and center, sometimes. I know, right? Honestly though, I don’t think any person can go without losing their shit at least once, and you know what? That’s OK! It’s okay to get angry, to yell and swear, to cry and get frustrated, to be sad, etc. Own those feelings! Take them in, meditate with them, and then release them! Personally, I think that’s where people struggle the most, the part where you need to let go. There is often a tendency (and I used to do this) to live in those feelings and dwell, and that’s what keeps us from moving forward and carrying on. Something else to consider with this, especially if you happen to lose your shit with someone else or they take the brunt of your frustration, learn to apologize and forgive (both yourself and the other party). I lost my shit on my four-year-old this morning. Why? Because she can’t seem to stay in bed for more than ten seconds after I’ve left and she gets up and whines about not being next to me. Now, at 5:30 AM before I’ve had a sip of coffee I’m not going to be the most understanding person, and this happens every day, so I hit that tipping point today. I lost it, I got angry and I yelled at her. And then? I apologized, and I explained to her that I was frustrated because it was early and I hadn’t had my coffee. She hugged me and we moved on with our day. Things happen, frustrations happen and sometimes things do get the best of us, and that’s okay because it’s life. Just don’t stay in those moments.
- Do something that makes you smile, every single day. I’m not talking about a job or hobby here, not the act of physically doing something even. What I mean is find something every day that will guarantee a smile, a moment, however small, of pure joy. Maybe that’s sitting on the back deck drinking coffee with the sunrise, talking to one of your friends, talking to a total stranger, watching your favorite TV show or snuggling your dog. For me, it’s a combination of yoga/weightlifting, listening to music way too loud and talking to some of my favorite people. Those are the things that I choose to do (it might be one or multiple in a day) to bring joy into my day. If I find that my mood is shifting, I find a moment to focus on one of those things and I breathe it in until it’s passed. On the off chance that I can’t accomplish any of those things, I smile anyway. Why? Because you never know if someone else could use it. So, whatever it might be for you, try to counter every mundane part of life (work, school, chores, etc) with at least one thing that makes you smile. The days when you are struggling the most are the days where this will be total bliss.
- Last, but certainly not least, find your “why”. For every “how” in life there is a “why”, a specific reason we choose to keep moving or trying or doing. For me, it’s a little bit of myself and a whole lot of my kids. I’ve been down the dark paths and the sinking holes that seem like they’ll swallow you. I’ve lived in the moments where I was pretty damn miserable and never wanted to think positive thoughts. I know what it’s like to sulk and dwell and where it gets you (in case you don’t know, it’s nowhere). I swore to myself many years ago that I’d never allow myself to fall down that path again, if I can help it, both for my own benefit and that of my children. My kids… I’ve always wanted them to believe that anything is possible and that they are capable of far more than they might believe. I want them to know that it’s okay to fail and fall, it’s okay to get frustrated and angry, but most importantly, stand up and keep moving. They watch me, day in and day out, and I’m not always picture perfect, okay, I almost never am, but I try. I do my best and I keep going no matter what, and that’s what I’m teaching them. That is the key to “how” I do it AND “why”.
So, now you have it, my answer to “how do you do it” and the secrets that guide me along the way. I’m curious to know how many of you do these things already as well as what other tips you might have for keeping sane and moving forward.
Drop a comment and let me know!