Especially in our current situation of Social/Physical Distancing
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Please see my disclaimer and disclosure page for more information. I am not a medical professional. This post is based on my own personal experience. If you are feeling depressed or need medication to help you with your depression, please consult with your personal physician.
Today, I can honestly say “I’m Happy”! That wasn’t always the case. I struggled to find my personal happiness until I was well into my 40’s. I was always searching for it and some days I’d feel kind of happy, but most of the time, I just wasn’t. I suffered in silence and was mildly depressed for years. Some of it was situational, but I think most of it was a slight chemical imbalance. I needed some medical help and am not ashamed to tell you that I took a very low dose of Prozac for years to help me feel level and somewhat happy. This isn’t for everyone, but it worked for me. Although, there’s no magic pill and in addition to taking a low dose of Prozac every day, I worked very hard for many years to find my own inner happiness. I own lots of self help books, have done therapy, and hired coaches to help me find my inner happiness. I’m happy but it’s still work every day to stay there. Some days are easier than others. These days, especially with our mandatory “stay at home order”, I have to be careful not to let myself slip back into my own depression. My depression may look a little different than yours but I do still have it. I just am better at managing it now that I’m a bit older and a mom of twins who need me to be present and not laying in bed all day!
I am fairly new to being a “Stay at Home Mom” and if I’m being honest, it’s great but it’s also been overwhelming and lonely at times. Although, I don’t miss the whole getting up early, getting ready and then spending an entire day at a job that I don’t love, I do miss being in the company of other adults. I’m making the best of it and I know that my kids are thriving because I’m home with them and I’m able to spend time with them reading, playing and developing their motor, listening, language and even at this early age, their reading skills. Luckily, they are young enough so our current social/physical distancing state that we’re in really hasn’t been an adjustment to their schedule. We still pretty much do what we normally do on any given day when we aren’t surrounded by an invisible enemy, a virus that has no vaccine yet. I keep the twins on a really good schedule and because of that they are happy, healthy and thriving. And as a bonus, keeping them on a good schedule, gives me, Mom, the time to do all the things I need to do every day to keep things running smoothly at home and take care of myself.
I love everything about being a Mom but I miss having the time I used to have to do the things I love outside of the house. This is especially true right now, since I’m not going out to do the things that I love to do. I’m home every day and being home every day without any outside interactions, is hard. Really hard. We’re only one week in so, I’m doing my best to stay positive and busy at home for the remainder of time we will need to be isolated. I know it’s the best for not only my family, but also for other families who may have relatives with compromised immune systems. I have Celiac Disease and hadn’t really considered my immune system compromised, but after eating gluten the other night and then being sick for three days, I had to rethink that thought.
I do five things at home every day to feel and stay happy. It’s amazing at how much satisfaction I get from doing something so little and trivial these days. Cherishing the little things and enjoying the moments is very important as a stay at home mom and for all of us right now, in the uncertain time we are all currently living in.
“I’m a make a list and get it done kind of girl!”
I get such satisfaction out of writing what I need to do on a list and then either putting a check next to it or crossing it off. When I worked full time, I lived by lists. These day’s the only lists I have are things that I need to do for my blog. I’ve gotten pretty good at doing the other things that need to be done at home without a list. Some days, I kind of miss my lists. I’m sure as we get back to a more normal life and we’re on the go again, I’ll be making lists like crazy again! In the mean time, I have made a list of five things I do every day to be and stay happy at home and am excited to share it with you.
Five things I do every day to be and stay happy!
- I make my bed every day! This seems trivial and not necessary compared to everything else that needs to get done in a day. It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something and sets me up to have a better organized day. If my bed isn’t made, I feel frazzled and disorganized, so I make it every day and then when I walk by my room (on the way to the nursery for diaper changes and nap times) I can see how nice it looks and it makes me smile. Remember, it’s the little things these days!
- I wash and put away my dishes as I go throughout the day, but especially first thing in the morning when I first get up and after breakfast. This way, there is never a stack of dishes on the counter or in the sink. I keep my counters clear and cleaned up as I go too. It makes clean up quicker and easier and if someone happens to stop by unexpectedly, I’m not rushing to clean things up before they come in. Having someone pop in isn’t a real problem with our current “stay at home” orders, but I’m still doing this for my own sanity and well being. I like to look in the kitchen (it’s attached to my dining room on one side and my family room on the other) and see clean counters and no dishes pilled up. It’s the small things these days that make me smile!
- I use a Netti pod and take my vitamins (vitamin C, Vitamin D3, a multi-vitamin and a Probiotic every day without fail. I used to get sick all of the time. I caught every virus that came to town. By cleaning my gut up, living a really strict gluten free lifestyle (most of the time, I’ve been exposed and slipped up or accidentally eaten gluten and suffered the consequences more than once!) and taking the above mentioned supplements, I have really turned my health around. I am hardly ever sick and if I feel something coming on, I increase my vitamin C and use my Netti pod more often. The Netti pod is awesome at keeping your sinus’ clean and clear and a lot of times, if you are getting a cold or sinus infection, you can nip it in the bud by using your Netti pod for a few days in a row. If using a Netti pod, make sure you only used distilled water in it. If you use regular tap or filtered water, you could get microscopic organisms in your water that could be harmful for your health. Make sure you read the instructions and only use what your particular brand recommends.
*Please note, I read that it’s not recommended to use a Netti pod if you think you have COVID-19. Using a Netti Pod with this virus may actually increase your symptoms and isn’t recommended at this time. It is recommended that you wash your hands with soap and hot water regularly, and when you wash your face that you use the same soapy mixture to wash your nostrils out instead of using a Netti pod. I still recommend a Netti pod for normal use, just not for this specific virus. Maybe check with your family doctor if you are nervous about starting to use a Netti pod. Better to be safe than sorry. I am also not a medical professional, so my testimonial of using a Netti pod to relieve sinus symptoms and keep me from getting sick, is my personal experience. Please see my disclaimer and disclosure page for more info.
- I take my make-up off, completely wash with warm water and facial cleanser and moisturize my face, neck and decollete every night no matter what. Even when I’m so dead tired, I just want to fall into bed. I take the few minutes needed to take care of my skin. I’ve made it part of my bed time routine and do it every night just like I brush my teeth and put my pajamas on every night. It has helped me keep a youthful appearance and fight the signs of aging. I use good quality skin care products that are toxin free and don’t have any harmful chemicals in them. I also use a moisturizer that has extra moisture in it since I live in a dry climate. By always taking my make-up off, washing my face and moisturizing, my cells are able to turn over and renew themselves naturally each night. If you don’t take your make up off or at the very least wash your face before you go to bed, you are allowing dirt and debris to sit on your skin over night and this can cause clogged pores, black heads, break outs and premature signs of aging. By using quality, non-toxic products, you will see a dramatic change for the better in your skin’s appearance, texture and tone. I am a licensed Aesthetician, so skin care is one thing I truly love and don’t take for granted.
- I connect with at least one other adult human being, other than my husband, every day. I’m really good at connecting and staying in touch with my friends and loved ones. I actually still like to have phone calls if time allows. I’ve even been known to schedule a catch up phone call date with a friend that I haven’t talked to in some time. Connection is very important to me and a part of my well being as a woman. My female friendships are important to me and I get so much from them, that even though I’m now a busy mom of twins, I still make time for monthly brunches, my all female book club or just some one on one conversations that nourish my soul. These outings have been put on hold thanks to our “stay at home” order, but I do look forward to getting out either with the twins in tow or on my own once they are lifted and it’s safe to be out and gathering in groups again. In our time of social/physical distancing, I have been doing video conferencing calls with friends on Zoom. It’s a FREE app that you can download to your phone, tablet, or laptop. You just need a camera, but if you haven’t showered or don’t want anyone to see your crazy hair do, you don’t have to turn your camera on. You can still participate like it’s a conference call without video. I LOVE Zoom and also love that lots of businesses, like yoga studios and other gyms/exercise classes are using it to keep their communities connected at this time. If you haven’t tried it yet, you can learn more about it here.
- If you are feeling lonely or super isolated due to the virus pandemic, set up a time to do a “Virtual Happy Hour” or “catch up” using Zoom or another video conferencing app. Just because we all have to stay home doesn’t mean we can’t stay connected. So either pick up the phone and actually call someone, send a text or message on messenger or set up a group virtual call so that you can catch up with your friends and loved ones at this time of distancing. Please comment below and let me know how you are staying in touch and supported these days!
Another thing I do every day, is try to move every day. I recently started my yoga practice up again. Prior to the “stay at home orders”, I had been doing three yoga classes a week. During the week when I have a baby sitter here, I go to two separate classes on my own and then on Tuesday evenings, my husband and I go to a different type of class together. They are all very different types of classes so I am using different sets of muscles in each of the classes. I’m getting stronger with every class and am so proud of myself for doing something so important for my health and well being. Getting out and being with other like minded people for an hour at a time, stretching our bodies and minds has been so beneficial for me. What are you doing to keep your body moving but still connect with your mind and spirit?
In the beginning, when the twins were just home from the hospital and so fragile, I hardly went out at all and it lead to me isolating, feeling very alone, and depressed. I’ve gotten past those feelings and since I’m getting out more and doing more for myself, I feel more like myself again. I’ll talk more about self isolating, feeling alone and depressed in a future post. I feel this isn’t talked about enough and I know I can’t be the only new mom who felt this way.
The saying “You can’t take care of anyone else if you aren’t taking care of yourself” is so true. I can’t be a good mom, wife, friend or daughter if I’m not doing things to take care of myself and nourish my soul. I want to nourish my son’s and my husband’s soul with love, healthy cooked meals, lots of laughter and joy. If I don’t do the same for myself, I won’t be able to do any of that for anyone else, especially those I love. Since I’ve started taking better care of myself, really listening to what my soul needs and cherishes, I’ve been a much better mommy and wife. I feel like I’m getting better every day and plan to keep at it. By doing the small five things that I talked about above every day, I am feeling good, accomplished and happy. It’s definitely the little things for me these days. I’m living in the present and loving the moments that I hope will create lifelong memories.
I love the smiles and joyful sounds that our twins make when I walk in their room after a nap or first thing in the morning. These are times that I’m fully present with them. I love playing on the floor with them and teaching them new words, colors and shapes. I love feeding them all the healthy food they love and introducing them to new foods. The excitement in their faces at meal times makes me so happy. I also love the time I have to myself when I may take a bath, go to a yoga class, or meet friends (without babies in tow) for brunch. All of these things nourish me in different ways. They fill my cup and help to make me feel whole and complete. They may seem insignificant, small or trivial, but they all are things and ways I am working every day to keep my mind and body in sync and to basically stay happy. I don’t want to fall back into a depressed state and if I can stave off depression by doing the little things, why wouldn’t I?! What are you doing to nourish your soul and stay happy these days?