In a perfect world, motherhood would exempt a person from health struggles that really affect functioning. It’s hard enough to face your own struggles, then on top of that see how your family is affected by them too. For the past few weeks I’ve been pretty wiped out. I went back to having practically zero energy, achiness, and lower than usual mood. I have to combat the fear that I will stay stuck in barely surviving-mode. I can only guess what took me down was a combo of hormones out of whack again, eating some mystery ingredient(s?) that my body didn’t agree with, and a lot of rain. It can cause a lot of anxiety to feel like you need to fix this NOW and get your family thriving again. That pressure just makes things worse if you let it linger.
What do I do when I get a big health setback? I generally
- Give myself room to rest. I let my spouse know what’s going on with me mentally and physically, and I don’t push myself to be super-woman. I make sure we have gluten free frozen pizza for my kids, or some other fast meal options I don’t have to do much to plan or prepare for.
Along those lines, I dismiss any timetable pressure. As much as possible, don’t let that calendar boss you around and stress you out when you’re struggling! Health and family are more important than losing my mind trying to muster energy I don’t have to accomplish goals that honestly won’t improve my or my family’s life a ton in this season, and others can live without the outcome. I’ll enjoy setting and accomplishing bigger goals again when they’re flowing from creative energy instead of forcing it during a time of depletion.
- Try to walk [the dog] a mile each morning. If I start the morning walking [the dog] first thing, then I know I’ve gotten serotonin and dopamine going…and it chills out my anxious dog Kody, as well. I find even on my lowest energy days, I can make a mile walk happen, even if I have to nap later that morning.
- Occasionally, if I can’t get out of a funk, I go get a Haircut (or update it myself at home). Psychology might point to how controlling one’s environment, or in my case, haircut, can make a person feel better about the things they can’t control. But personally, I think the bigger deal is feeling more put-together and polished with a defined haircut–a boost in morale I guess. I guess some would call this the “treat yourself” method. Some do shopping therapy, but as a minimalist, this suits me better and I don’t get overwhelmed by more stuff in my house.
- Find one thing to improve in my life or perspective. I’m talking about figuring something out that brightens your living environment or makes life easier on a body. On a long health-journey, you can get so worn out with trudging through the challenges that it is essential to figure out stress reduction and energy-conservation methods.
Some friends (even those without health struggles, but who are trying to reduce stress and be less irritable mothers, etc) hire a house cleaner, for instance. I opted to get a little robot vacuum * to clean our laminate wood floors and low-pile carpets, since they can go under the couch and get all the sand a dirt my kids and dog track in from out back.
This can apply to your health condition specifically as well. Some reduce stress through massage therapy and other means like acupuncture. One exciting possibility for me is getting my varicose veins fixed after getting ultrasounds showing I have venous reflux, or blood flowing backward. (Yes, I am in my 30s and have varicose veins. They happened after my 2nd pregnancy). Improved blood flow should increase energy levels and even mental health.
Getting positive input to keep my head above water is crucial. Some options I like are listening to audible books like Lysa TerKeurst’s It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way or an encouraging podcast like Risen Motherhood .
As part of my rest and recover plan, and also for putting myself in a good headspace, I ditched the dishes and laundry and took the kids to a relaxing county park beach during their free admission week. I thank God for providing that option to me! The sound of waves and sand on my feet, and a sunny week to recharge did wonders for me. It was easy to smile with the sun warming my back, the water cooling my toes, pretty shells and tiny crabs to inspire awe at the world once again.
I hope you know whatever you’re facing, there is hope for tomorrow. Blessings to you, friend.
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