These Blank Walls

Self Care

My Self-Care Lapse

Coping effectively to self-care lapses. Three-steps to get yourself back on track. http://www.theseblankwalls.com

I need to share something with you. If you’ve been reading my blog for any period of time, you know that self-care is important to me. But I’m human, and sometimes I struggle. I’ve been thinking about this over the past couple days as I’ve been trying to take care of myself and realized that it really came down to poor self-care.

Growing up, I struggled with feeling sick. I was always experiencing a combination of so many different random things that really didn’t make sense together. I’m sure my parents felt like, between one symptom or another, they were bringing me to the doctor’s office all the time. I was achy, my stomach hurt, I would bruise if I looked at something that was hard, or, of course, there were all those times I would pass out. In addition to all of this (or maybe because of all of this) I would also say I had become a bit of a hypochondriac. I caught whatever everyone around me had. Finally, about four and a half years ago, after advocating with my doctor some, I realized I had a gluten sensitivity. I stopped eating gluten (prior to going to the GI specialist, so by the time I went I would have needed to eat gluten again for 2 weeks to a month to get tested for celiac, so I decided to just continue with what was working) and my life changed. Yes, I still got tired, but the fog I lived in that felt like I was constantly on cold medicine had lifted. My PMDD symptoms had dissipated, I still got headaches occasionally, but not daily, and much more. I remember telling my mom after my blood test results came back that I was gluten sensitive and she said “you really were sick growing up!”

Fast forward to this summer. I recently made some positive changes for myself, which included doing the whole 30 challenge, which is a clean eating challenge. In this challenge, I ate completely “clean” for a month and then slowly reintroduced foods to see if there were other sensitivities that I maybe wasn’t aware of. Well, when I was reintroducing food, I was on vacation, and decided that I would eat gluten occasionally because “I’m introducing everything else, so why not?!” While I noticed some small inconveniences, I decided that I could have gluten here and there and it not be too problematic in my life.

Oh man. I didn’t realize what I was doing to myself. Ladies, this is where self-care comes in. I got lazy. I knew what the best lifestyle was for me. I knew what I needed to do. But, gosh darn it, I had a taste of the good life and I didn’t want to turn back. We do that sometimes, don’t we? We know what’s best for us, but we have other things going on, or we have to take care of everyone else, or we just want to do something fun for a change.

I had slowly been letting myself have a little bit here and there, and as I was doing that, I started feeling more “off” but not enough that I was ready to admit it was because of my diet. Then I was at a get together and had two pieces of pieces (and, if I’m being honest, a couple of crackers) and I was paying for it. Things came to a crashing halt as I felt physically ill, found myself with some nasty dizzy spells, and emotionally I was a wreck. I found myself walking into a concert on the verge of a panic attack, having to do deep breathing, rather than enjoying myself. It was finally then, when I felt the surge of hormones going through my body, that I remembered what I felt like growing up. It wasn’t worth it. What, in the short term, felt like it was worth it, just wasn’t. For me it was the taste of “real” pizza (something I’d been missing for years), but it looks different for every person.

This post isn’t about going gluten free, or even about healthy eating. It’s about figuring out what self-care needs to look like in your life, and sticking to it. It’s about recognizing when we’re moving out of our self-care routine and turning back. It’s about having grace on ourselves and adjusting as needed. Most of us can write this story. I know too many women who ended up sick and/or in the hospital due to pushing too hard for too long and not taking care of themselves.

Ladies, life can be tiring. It can be hectic. It can be oh-so-overwhelming. Sometimes self-care, whether it be something additional or something for our lifestyle, just seems like something added to our list. It’s not. Believe me it’s not.

Are you finding yourself warn down? Too tired to do the things that, in the past, have helped you to feel like “you” or give you energy to keep going? If so, you might find these simple steps helpful:

  1. Recognize what is and isn’t working. It’s time to do a self-care audit on yourself. Be honest with yourself. What have you stopped doing? what have you started doing?
  2. Re-evaluate what the next steps are. Make a plan of what you need and stick to it. Do you need to exercise? Maybe part of your plan needs to be to have an accountability partner. Do you need to wake up early to have quiet it time to yourself? Maybe you need to get a new alarm clock or move your phone further away from where you sleep.
  3. Review the outcomes. You need to continue to be alert to evaluate how things work out for you. What is working? what isn’t? Did you think that you needed to go running but now your knees are giving you problems? Maybe you need to find a new way to exercise or to clear your mind.

You owe it to yourself to take care of yourself. You owe it to your spouses, your kids, to the woman that you want to be and can be.

Sometimes you need extra encouragement for self-care! Don’t forget to sign-up for my mailing list for pintable’s, support, and some upcoming email challenges to help give you that push you need!

Your turn to share: What is one area of self-care that you need to reign back in? What are things that, short term, seem like a pain but, in the long-run, have a positive impact ew your life?

Staying Me – Responding to tough times based on your true identity

Three steps to defining and maintain your identity and good and bad times. http://www.theseblankwalls.comThis week, I was out of town with my family and staying with friends of family. While they are super awesome and accommodating, there’s always an added stress when you’re staying at someone else’s house and your child is acting like he’s straight out of the movie Problem Child. My husband and I have found ourselves being short with one another because we were both feeling really self-conscious, vulnerable and inadequate. During the tense moments, our identity and our feelings of self-worth became wrapped around our children’s behavior.

During this time, I’ve noticed myself falling into some negative thinking and self-talk. Although I talk about the importance of not defining ourselves by our kids, when my kids are pulling potted plants down and getting dirt everywhere, or screaming angrily during what should be quiet time, I feel like a shoe-in for worst mom of the year. When I equate my child’s behavior to my abilities as a mom, I start to have unrealistic expectations for my children and start to get into power struggles.

When I find myself slipping into this mindset, I need to bring myself back to the basics and remember who I truly am. Below are three areas that we need to consider to help us to proactively prepare to respond to a moment based on who we really are, and not react based on how we’re defining ourselves in that moment. I suggest writing it out so that you can not only flesh out your thoughts, but so you can also have it as a reference point for later. Use my free printable made to work you through these steps! Simply sign up for my email list to gain access to this worksheet as well as other printables! you can unsubscribe at any time.

Personal Truths

In order to know who we are in tough moments, we need to know who we are to begin with. If I don’t already know who I am and know the truths about me, then when I’m faced with a challenge, I’m only going to be pulling from a place of anxiety, fear and discouragement (or whatever other emotions I’m experiencing at the time).

Things to consider: What are the qualities that define you? What are the traits that have gotten you through tough times? If I asked your friends what qualities you have that attracted them to being friends with you, what would they say? If I asked your kids what you’re really good at, what would they say? If you are not writing this down yet, go get a paper and pencil and start listing the truths about you.  

Self-talk

When I get frustrated or overwhelmed, I get more stuck in forgetting who I truly am and fall into negative talk to myself. I heard myself doubting myself, questioning my abilities, and overall just feeling like we were doing something wrong as parents. The more down I felt about myself, the less I believed in my ability to turn things around which, ultimately led to a self-fulfilling prophecy more than once.

Things to consider: What are you saying to yourself? Is it contributing to your current situation or mindset? Are you encouraging or discouraging yourself? Are there things you can be saying to yourself that would build yourself up and give you more faith in your ability to be successful in your situation?

 Perspective

Now that we know who we truly are, we are better equipped to deal with the difficult moment. The days that feel like years, or the dark periods where we doubt ourselves. Stepping back, typically the moments of extreme darkness or being overwhelmed are really that, moments. This past week I felt like I was under a magnifying glass, but it was truly just a week. When I step back and truly think about it, the good moments of the week were larger and greater than the negative ones, but in those moments, it did not feel that way. In the moments of frustration or feeling overwhelmed, if I allow myself to over-focus on what’s going on, I get caught up and continue the negative cycle. If I’m able to step back, I find that I’m also able to step out of the emotion and have more of an ability to actually deal with the situation.

Things to consider: When you’re feeling overwhelmed or at the end of your rope, you need to step back and find a new perspective. What’s the short term pain of this situation? What’s the long-term outlook? How will this look or feel in a week? A year? Five years? Have you been through something similar before? If so, what made it possible to make it through. Step back from a moment, if you took away the anger, fear, embarrassment, etc., how would you cope? What would you be differently? Would you tone change? Your actions? Would your solution look different? Would your solution look different? What would it look like if you deal with this situation well?

We all have times that stretch and grow us. I hope that this season is short but that you grow in ways you’d never imagine. You can come out of these tough moments stronger and more confident. You got this, mamma.

Don’t forget to sign up for my email list to snag the free worksheet for this post as well as other worksheets and printables.  You can unsubscribe at any time.

Let’s hear from you: How do you stay true to yourself in all circumstances? What helps you to keep perspective? Do you have any advice for others struggling to find who they truly are?

Defining Me: The importance of an identity beyond our kids

Sometimes, after becoming a mom, we can feel like we lost our identity. Here are some questions to get us to defining ourselves.

My family mean the world to me. My husband came first and loved me for me, supports our family with amazing sacrifices every day, and enabled me to be a mother. For all of that and more, I love him with all of my heart. Then came my children, who taught me that the world is bigger than just me, that showed me what true love really means, and has helped me to realize more than ever, the importance of my spiritual beliefs and relationship with God.

One thing that I can often forget is that first, came me. Before my husband and before my kids, came me. Not only do I need to mean the world to me, but I also need to make sure that I don’t lose myself. Sometimes I can find myself defining myself by those around me. They are not me, I am not them. They are a part of me, just as I am a part of them.  I am not the same person today as I was before my family was in my life, but I still need to know who I am. It’s easy to let my identity get wrapped up in my family, but I can’t define myself by my family.

Recently, I’ve started to put a focus on taking care of myself, and I’ve really noticed my relationship with my family improve. While life is still spinning and I’m often overwhelmed with all there is to do, when I have a stronger sense of identity, I can tackle it better. It helps me to realize that I am not my problems, they are something that I need to solve.

Obviously, part of how I define myself includes my family. But if I’m not careful, everything else becomes a blur and it’s all I am and see. I would imagine it would be even more difficult sometimes for those of you who stay home full time to take care of the kids. Day in and day out you breath diaper changes, boogers, and nursery rhymes. You tackle their temper tantrums and you get to breath in the scent of their baby heads and collect snuggles.

Who are you? Yes, you are a mom. Maybe you’re a wife. But who are you? What qualities define you? What is your mission in life? What drives you? Okay, so your kids and/or partner drives you, but what beyond them gives you purpose? Your kids are watching. They’re watching how to love and be loved. They’re watching how to value themselves and their wives. What are they going to see?

Share below what you do to feed your creativity and personal passions!

Sign up for my email list for the accompanying worksheet! If you’re already a part of my email list, sign in to The Sweet Spot, our Members Resource Center, to gain access to the Defining Me worksheet.

If this was helpful, check out my next blog post, Staying me, which outlines ways we can define ourselves and use that definition when we’re feeling overwhelmed or less than.

You are enough: Accepting yourself so you can grow

It’s so easy to look around and notice the things that we don’t have, the goals we haven’t reached yet the way that we don’t measure up to those around us and as ourselves, “am I enough?”.

The answer is yes. Yes, my sweet friends, you are enough. It’s not until you start believing that, that you can continue to grow to be the person you are meant to be.

An important reminder that we are enough. Accepting who you are so you can become who you want to be. http://www.theseblankwalls.com

I am enough. And because of that, I strive. I strive to be who I need to be, knowing that I have it in me. I strive to do better. I may not be the best, I may not have it all together, but I AM enough. When it seems as though every time I open my mouth I make things worse, I know that I don’t need to give up because I’m enough.

Two nights ago, my son had the worst night he’s ever had, behaviorally. We were staying out of town at my parents and he had the worst bedtime melt down I’ve ever experienced. I was tapped. My husband was tapped. We were out of resources. We did some things right and a lot of things wrong. Thankfully, this two-and-a-half-hour horror that played out in front of me was not the norm, but it was a really defeating experience. Moments like that, I question myself. Thankfully, I know who I am going into those things. Because I already know that I’m enough, when I go into moments where I feel that I’m failing as a mom, wife, etc., I’m able to recognize that it’s just that, a feeling. And then, because I know that I’m enough, I can take a deep breath (or a hundred) and figure out what I need. In that moment, it meant I needed to pray and separate myself for a few minutes before re-approaching the situation with a clear head.

I’ve learned that being enough doesn’t mean I’m the only one that needs to deal with the situation. Sometimes I need to tag out and call in reinforcement, but it doesn’t mean I failed.

You are enough. Your moments of failure are lessons. Who are you going to be? You can stay stagnant in your areas that need growth, or you can pull yourself up and be who you need to be. You are brave enough. You are smart enough. You are strong enough. You are loved enough.

You are enough.

Are you having a hard time accepting yourself right now? You might like to check out my 30 Affirmations for Moms.

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I love hearing from you! What are you needing to accept right now in your life? Leave your comments below!

30 Affirmations for moms

Are you tired and feel like you can't go on? Here's 30 affirmations for moms to say to themselves. http://www.theseblankwalls.com

I’m a part of an ongoing group text with a close group of friends. We’re all moms with kids similar in age. Our circumstances are different, our stories are different, but we’re all in the “mom” club together. Often times our texts are setting up a girls night or talking about the need to connect. Sometimes, they’re random texts with a funny quote from one of our kids. Other times, it’s a text of desperation when we feel overwhelmed or alone.

Yesterday, I received one of the texts in the latter category. The sum of the text conversation was that we all feel overwhelmed. Here’s the text that started it all:

“Do you guys ever have days where you can’t keep up? Like the to-do list is endless and you can’t even make a dent. Overwhelmed today! House is a pigsty.”

Spoiler alert, she wasn’t alone. We were able to have a long “conversation” via text. Even though we all shared that we often felt that we were drowning, we weren’t complaining.  It became a conversation of encouragement and support.

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Guess what- you’re not alone either! It’s so easy to get caught up in comparing ourselves and feeling overwhelmed that we feel like we’re on an island. The expectation we put on ourselves becomes too great and we just can’t measure up.

I’m not going to give you tips. I’m not going to tell you what to do. Today I just want to give you a list of affirmations and/o encouragements. Believe them, print them, repeat them to yourself, do whatever you need to do for you.

  1. I am good enough
  2. I can do this
  3. Tomorrow is a new day
  4. I will show myself love by resting when I need to
  5. I model to my child what it means to love himself/herself
  6. I will be the best me so that I can be what my child needs
  7. I add value to others in this world
  8. I don’t need to measure up to others’ expectations
  9. I make a difference
  10. I am strong
  11. I am building the next generation
  12. Every moment is precious
  13. I am not the sum of my mistakes
  14. I am proud of the person I am becoming
  15. The price of the pursuit of perfection is peace
  16. I will honor my need for self-care
  17. I am strong
  18. My to-do list can wait
  19. My happiness matters
  20. They are only this age once
  21. I am not defined by today
  22. It will get better
  23. What I do matters
  24. I overcome challenges
  25. I am showing my child what love looks like
  26. Today I allow myself to be imperfect
  27. Today is a blessing
  28. I am an advocate for my child
  29. My chores can wait another day
  30. I model boundaries for my child

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