There are times, as a mom, as a human person really – when things feel hard. Maybe you are tired, emotionally, physically or spiritually. Maybe you have something hard going on – whether it’s happening to you, or to someone in your family. Maybe your kid is struggling and it’s hard to watch. Maybe there is strain in your marriage. Maybe you’ve been watching the news, and it’s weighing heavy on you. Maybe it’s many of the above, or something else entirely.
This happens to me, too, as a mom and human. There are times when everything feels hard, too much, stressful. I’m overwhelmed and overworked and so, so tired. It is a thing just to get through the work day and make sure that your house is still relatively in order and your kids are fed and bathed. It is an effort to pry yourself out of bed in the morning. Call it what you like – a funk, depression, a situation that is especially trying. You may feel both sad and tired and also guilty and ashamed because it is getting in the way of the mom/wife/homemaker/worker you’d like to be. The emotions compound and pile atop each other in a way that makes it feel very difficult to climb out of. I have been to that place. It is, in my experience, no picnic.
I am also a therapist, by trade, so today I am stepping back from the struggle bus I’ve climbed aboard and trying to give us a little advice. A little tiny piece of encouragement to ease the load a little.
Take one step.
Just one. I mean it. A small one, even, that’ll do just fine. Think of something you can do for yourself to take one step toward feeling better. How would you like to feel? How can you get there? How far can you go today? [Whatever the answer is far enough. Just perfectly and bravely far enough for today.]
Cash in the massage gift card you’ve been hanging on to since last Mother’s Day. Move, as much as you can. Go to a workout class you like. Take a walk around the block. Make a plan to meet a friend at the gym tomorrow. Whatever you can do. Do something you deeply enjoy. Buy a new dress. Listen to your favorite album, no matter how embarrassing the selection. Make yourself a healthy meal that will energize your body. Pack your lunch. Eat a banana for breakfast. Call your doctor for a consult. Maybe it’s a good time to make an appointment with a counselor. Or, just look up the name of one. Call a friend to talk about what’s going on. Confide in your spouse or significant other over a glass of wine, if it helps. Reach out to just about anyone to remind yourself you’re not alone.
Just one step. Only one. As big as you can, even if it’s tiny. A baby step. Take one.
And the next day, you’ll have that one step under your belt. You’ll feel empowered, a little better than you did before. And that is when you should take another. A series of small steps until one day it’s not so hard to get out of bed, and things don’t feel as scary and daunting as they did a few days or weeks back.
And that, my dear friends, is how we’ll get out. How we’ll get back to our families, our work, ourselves. How we’ll take on the world. One day, one step, one big deep breath at a time.
So, from a professional, a simple and not especially professional bit of advice.