Know You’ve Already Overcome
While many of us have never faced such a widespread crisis before, we have all been through periods of uncertainty and crisis in our lives. From career changes or unemployment, to new life and loss of life, to marriage or divorce, to aging parents and growing children, life is uncertain.
But, you’ve faced it before. The uncertainty of life. You’ve had weeks, months, and maybe even years, where the challenges seemed to have no end in sight, where each day was full of unknowns.
And, look – here you are. On the other side of challenging times, stronger than before. I find it helpful to reflect on past periods of uncertainty for lessons, strengths, and motivation. Consider posting the joyful fruits of those challenging times in your bathroom or bedroom as motivation to keep going now.
Rest in the truth that you are already an overcomer. A driven mama who keeps showing up even in the hardest of times.
Focus on What You Can Do
It’s so easy in the midst of a crisis to get stuck in all of the things we can’t do. Right now, we can’t do a lot! It’s incredibly frustrating and a brand new challenge for moms and families across the world.
But, staying in all the ‘can’t’s’ robs us of our joy and it disrupts our peace of mind.
Start by noticing. When do you find yourself thinking about all you can’t do? What do you say to yourself? How does it impact your mood and your interactions with your kids?
When you notice yourself thinking or saying “I can’t…” or “I wish we could…”, try turning it around into something you CAN do. Encourage your kids and partner to try it, too, and notice the impact on your household environment.
We can’t go out to eat – but we CAN get takeout.
I wish we could go to the park – but we CAN build an obstacle course in the driveway.
I can’t work – but I CAN be present for my kids during distance learning.
I can’t keep this up – but I CAN give myself permission to simply rest.
It sounds small and maybe even silly, but the more you practice changing your focus, your brain will naturally start to notice what IS instead of what isn’t – it will start looking for joy, which will help you maintain your peace of mind.
Engage with Community
One of the most powerful sources of joy is in community. Community offers support, encouragement, and inspiration. Those in our community can offer peace of mind by reminding us we are not in this alone.
But, how do we engage with our community when we are in a global crisis – and can’t really leave our homes? Here are some creative ways I’ve found to continue to engage with my community and support network:
- Virtual hangouts with friends
- Joining a book club that meets via Zoom
- Participating in an old-school recipe exchange via email
- Challenging a group of friends to weekly share pictures of what fills their soul or makes them smile
- Chatting with friends from a distance
Reach out. We’re in this together and other mamas you know may be struggling, too. And don’t underestimate the impact YOU have on your community. You may help another mama find her joy and peace of mind just by checking in.
Practice Affirmations to Help Find Joy
With life interrupted, work potentially on hold, activities canceled, and things simply out of whack, it’s easy to feel like you’re not doing enough. Too many of us equate the idea of doing enough with being enough – which certainly steals our joy and increases anxiety.
The truth is, you are enough – regardless of how much you do, how much you earn, or how many things you get done. Sometimes, it takes a little more than simply being told you’re enough for that idea to take root in our hearts and minds.
Practicing affirmations and loving-kindness are two powerful ways to instill beliefs in ourselves that promote joy and help us maintain peace of mind.
Again, start by noticing. When do you feel like you’re enough? When do you notice yourself engaging in negative self-talk? In these moments, it’s handy to have an affirmation – something you know is true about yourself – to silently repeat to yourself.
Take a few minutes to yourself to consider what you know to be true about yourself – your strengths, favorite characteristics, uplifting qualities. Write them down as “I am…” statements, for example:
- I am enough.
- I am strong.
- I am powerful.
- I am resilient.
Note ones that truly resonate with you and keep them somewhere you can read them on those super tough days.
For some, starting with affirmations can be incredibly challenging. If that’s you, try starting with offering loving-kindness instead. The beauty of loving-kindness is it is a way to spread joyful energy and well-wishes to yourself and others without having to leave your home.
To practice loving-kindness, think of three to four well wishes or desires you have for yourself and others, such as health, strength, or peace. Start by offering these to yourself and then extend the well-wishes to those around you – starting with someone you hold close, extending to your neighborhood, community, or state, and then even further to the nation or the globe. Finish the exercise by once again offering the well-wishes to yourself.
This can be a new and challenging practice, so here are four of the well-wishes I find most powerful and uplifting:
- May I (you) experience peace.
- May I (you) be safe.
- May I (you) be healthy.
- May I (you) be well.
Use phrases that fit you, your heart, and your soul. Give it a try at least three times – think of how many people will find joy and peace of mind if all the mamas reading this offered loving-kindness to all the struggling mamas out there!
Acknowledge and Let Go for Peace of Mind
Maintaining your peace of mind does not mean denying reality. Peace and joy can coexist with hardship and crisis. How?
Acknowledge the struggle. Acknowledge the challenge. Cry if you have to. Yell into a pillow. Journal your heart out. Let yourself experience the difficult emotions fully rather than fighting them, ignoring them, or feeling guilty for having them.
You’re human – and it’s normal to experience intense emotions!
These emotions don’t have to rule you or rob you of your peace of mind. Let yourself experience them, acknowledge they are there, and then keep doing what you do. I’ll be honest, the emotions may not go away completely.
But, by giving yourself permission to feel them, you also have the power to let them go. By naming your emotions, you gain back some control over them instead of them controlling you. By acknowledging your emotions, you start to reclaim your peace of mind.
Be patient with yourself. Sometimes, I have to do this multiple times a day – like every hour! Sometimes, I don’t have the energy to even acknowledge them. That’s ok – more opportunities will come to practice as more emotions pop up.
Give yourself some grace. Just like you can’t control a crisis, you can’t control your emotions. Focus on what you can control – acknowledging all the emotions and then seeking out joy and peace.
Start small on your quest to maintain your peace of mind in this crisis. It’s new, it’s challenging, and it’s hard. Finding joy and peace of mind should bring joy and peace of mind – not stress and overwhelm. Try not to let this be a ‘should’ or another thing to attain, but a place of rest and peace.
Remember, you are an overcomer.
Choose what will fill your soul to find your joy and pursue it.