7 Ways to Cultivate Resilience When Life is Tough
On the heels of four weeks of illness in my house, there’s not a lot left of me.
I won’t lie: it hasn’t been a pretty time here.
Last week when my littlest went off to nursery on Wednesday morning, and I stepped back into the house after dropping him off, I nearly collapsed. The joy with which I went to FINALLY have a bath and not be worried about children was HOLY.
And then it came – the call to come collect him as he was feverish. Of course I went – giving great thanks that I’d had that bath versus did anything else, because, you know, occasional hygiene is nice when you’re a mama!!
I’ve been mothering for thirteen and a half years now, most of that on my own, so I’m really really good at cutting away non-essentials. But I know I’ve exceeded my limits when I start reaching for the coffee, wine, chocolate and treats, constantly browsing FB on my phone, browsing the sling boards and generally feeling crappy about myself because everyone else looks like they’ve totally got it together and are progressing with life while I’m caught in a loop and descent, bank accounts overdrawn, bills coming in. And I physically cannot do more right now so there’s a healthy portion of guilt attached as well…essentially I caught myself giving up all my good habits just to cope, even when I *know* it’s not helpful.
I had to catch myself because as a sole parent there’s not a lot of room for backsliding. Or there is, I suppose, on some level, but I *really* don’t want to go there. I have a lot of hopes that we can live better and more happily in this coming year, and I want to be able to show up for myself and my kids. Plus I love my work and I want to get back to it – but I need to be healthy and present for that to happen.
Life, and particularly motherhood, isn’t about that linear path to the prize and it’s done. It’s a much deeper journey, one that requires us to circle round and round again, facing old demons until we can make a friend of them. So for me, this month is about cultivating RESILIENCE. I sat down and re-committed to these seven steps:
(1) Declutter: I’m decluttering the crap out of everything to the extent that I am able at present. It’s an ongoing project, really, but we’re getting there! This also helps with any temptation to bring in excess over the holidays…we are keeping it simple and holding to our clutter-free dream. Energy flows totally differently through a decluttered space. It means there’s room to cook, create, move and just be in ways that feel good.
(2) Get off the phone/FB! This is a hard one for me. When I’m lying down in the dark nursing a poorly baby, scrolling through FB is so so tempting. But it isn’t good for me, energetically it’s an addiction and a power loss that drains me, so I am committing to putting that phone down and using that time to think or meditate or rest instead…and to accessing social media more mindfully.
(3) Drinking enough water. Confession – I love coffee, I love wine, I don’t really love water or herbal teas in the same way, however good for me they are. Lately I’ve been reaching for the coffee and the wine…but water is making a return and I notice a huge difference in how I feel. I was tracking it for a while, and I will again, but for now easing in is what feels possible and right.
(4) Sleep and rest, getting enough of it is hard to impossible with poorly little ones, especially if I’ve got that phone in my hand in the middle of the night (I have a baby pretty nearly attached to the boob all night long, which is good for him as he’s only just coming back to food again, but it’s not exactly quality sleep for me). I’m recommitting to tracking sleep, making it a priority over screen time, and to clearing the bedroom to make it more amenable to rest and sleep.
(5) Walk, run, dance, move, exercise. I let my non-negotiable practice slide. Easing back into it, with forgiveness for myself, making the changes I need to make around what this looks like and the timings (colder weather, poorly little one impacts what’s possible for me). Just being kind to my body, walking, stretching, basic strengthening is a start.
(6) Forgiveness. Oh my goodness, this one is huge. How many stories are locked up – old, old stories – power loss and resistance to change in them. Forgiveness is a process and a practice. I’m working with it all the time now, multiple times a day. Forgiving myself is the hardest and biggest part of that.
(7) Gratitude. This is another one that’s helping me shift my unhelpful patterns and thoughts and beliefs, seeing the richness and kindness and beauty that already exists in my everyday life. That there are so many things that are already okay now, and that I want more of those things, for myself and for the planet. I don’t have a gratitude journal, (maybe I’ll get there one day!), I just do it in my head in opportune moments.
It’s way too easy to fall into worry and anxiety about money and the future (small and large scale) and the planet. These things are real and need to acted on as they are seen! But the point of power for change doesn’t lie in that worry or fear. It lies in our own strength, our own building of resources, our resilience in times of challenge and change. Until we’ve go that in place, we can’t really sustain our action for others.
My baby is back at nursery today, yay! (No judgement, mamas, he loves it there and I love him having another safe place to be besides home with me. I admit with my first I did not feel this way about paid group childcare for babies, but that’s a story for another time.) I’m not sure if he’s really fully well enough or will make it through the full week, but we’re getting there, and regardless he and I are spending this time feeding that resilience.
While I’m taking December slowly, I’m going to be running the LIVE 9-day rebalance again in early January 2017 – our theme will be ‘New Beginnings / Fresh Start’. If you’d like to join us, you can add your email here and/or you can request to join our FB group here.