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?
Great post!!! Love it.
Thank you Lisa!
Thanks for sharing your story and happiness tips! So helpful!
Thank you Emily!
I, too, am a bedmaker, Meg! It brings me joy to see my vintage bedspread neat and clean, waiting for me to pull it back at the end of the day. What else am I doing? With 5 of us home every day, and not as much solitude as I need–or, at least, would *like*–I’m sticking to my regular sleep schedule, instead of proceeding as though we’re already on summer break. This means I can still wake up before my 3 kiddos (2 of whom are early risers) to enjoy my favorite time of day. I am also committed to posting to my blog 2x/week, so making time to write–which centers me–is a non-negotiable. Loved this post! Looking forward to more! xo
I love your blog and look forward to getting the notification every week. I’m still learning as I go, so I can’t wait to be done with this virus so we can all get out and mingle again. I’d love to compare notes at some point. I love that you also make your bed every day! It really does make a big difference in how I feel through out the day!
Oh lovely Meg, thank you for sharing this!! Mental health & well being are so important that they need to be talked about more. Your beautiful open heart will help others on their journey. I really love the five things you do everyday. It is very important, especially in these interesting days we are living, to fill ourselves up, even if it “little” things, which really can be the “big” things. And I love my Neti pot as well!! Here’s To our strong immune systems and filling ourselves up with true self-care. Much love, sister!!
Thank you Andrea. I plan to talk more about mental health, well being and self care in upcoming blog posts. I know “Self Care” is a buzz word right now, but I think it’s still relevant and especially, women, need to take the time to do self care practices more. I can’t wait to see you again when we are all able to be out and about again.
I can relate to so many of your daily goings on! By making a schedule for our days, these stay-at-home orders are far more tolerable. Thanks for your words and stay safe and healthy!
I love that you make your bed everyday- I”m going to make that my goal for the upcoming week.
“You can’t take care of anyone else if you aren’t taking care of yourself”- I completely agree with this statement. There have been periods of time in my life when I was neglecting and self-harming myself; my relationships with others were non-existent. If I put my needs first and take care of myself, I am able to be available emotionally & physically to people in my life that are in need.
Also- I love the new look of your blog! I’m enjoying catching up with you & fam! xoxo
Thank you Carolee. I’m glad you are following along on this crazy journey. It’s fun most of the time. 🙂
Thanks for sharing your advice. This is a great reminder that when we take care of ourselves we are in a better position to care for others. It’s so refreshing to read how you are doing that every day. Keep it up, Meg!
Thank you Marcel! I hope you are enjoying working from home and aren’t going too stir crazy.
I really appreciate you being honest and forthcoming with your struggles. I know that we all go through our own challenges and I’m sure are experiencing some of the same issues.
I’m an extrovert and during these times stuck at home, having to completely uproot your normal routine, life together all day with my family, has proved to be very difficult for me. At first it seemed like a release, like a break or vacation. Then it became something altogether deconstructive. I learned quickly that in such a small space, with so many different personalities, for a lengthy period of time, it diminished the warmth and compassion towards each other. We go out into the world and do our work allowing us to come back home and appreciate our loved ones, having missed them during that time apart.
I completely agree with you. Having been home for two weeks now, there has to be a schedule and routine, otherwise it’s chaos. I also really believe that you need your own space away from everyone so you can retreat, refocus & re-center yourself. Strangely I found my focus shift to taking care of the house and the family as opposed to actually getting my work done. I think with our current situation with this virus that our brains naturally switch to that nurturing aspect. I’m a new stepmother of a 20-year-old having reached the age of 49 so all of this could just be my natural instinct as a woman kicking in. Having no children of my own and not raising this 20-year-old young man has been a big shift for me.
I’m very curious to hear what other people are going through during the shut in phase. What are they doing to nurture their family members? What are they doing to nurture themselves? What are they doing just to keep their sanity?
Thanks again for the post Meg. I enjoyed reading about you and the family since we don’t see much of each other these days.
Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I get what you are saying about needing time and space to yourself. I hope you are finding the time and space to nourish yourself how ever that looks for you. I think it’s great that you are taking care of the house and your family, but make sure you are being taken care of too. You are very nurturing and that’s one of your strengths, but can also open you up to be taken advantage of. So make sure you are getting your work done and taking good care of yourself. I hope to see you in person again soon!
I am a list girl too. It’s great you are focusing on your self-care routines. It’s easy to be lazy when you don’t have anywhere you have to go or anyone you have to see. Keep it up momma!!
I love the 5 must-do things, especially the connecting with others. Its ok to nurture yourself in order to be more present with kiddos, I totally get that and need to be reminded of that more often. Thanks Meg!
Thanks Susan! I hope working from home and school at home is going well for you guys!
Thanks. I like the reminder to take care of yourself before you can take care of others.
Thanks Brigid. I hope you are well and taking good care of yourself!
The ‘5 things to do everyday.’ I’m the same….love putting dishes away in the AM (if any are even there) and throughout the day, now that I’m working from home full time for a while and the other one that I love is take my make up off every single night no matter what! And, I add brushing my teeth and flossing to that! Feels so good to go to bed clean 🙂
I’m happy to read that we have similar habits! Thank you for reading and following along!