Getting Your Joy Back :: 6 Ways to Restore Peace in Your Life

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It was not a good day. If my son came out of his room one more time, or if my daughter kept yelling “Mommy,” I was fully prepared to call my husband and scream about how I was losing my mind. The kids had been jumping on the couch, playing by the window in their room and just being completely awry. I was totally done.

My head was throbbing. I was walking around like a zombie in a haze, fully ready to flip out or melt down if my kids did one more obnoxious thing. It was not my best mommy day.

I don’t like to feel down, and I prefer to be happy at all times when it’s possible. But ever since school got back in, I’ve felt like I’ve got the weight of a building crashing down on me. Just that overall totally overwhelmed feeling.

I’m a fixer, so when I get like this, I think of things that bring me joy. What makes you giddy with excitement ? What makes you happy ? What do you do that makes you happy ?

Help someone else

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Volunteering helps you step outside of yourself and focus on something else. It’s good for you and your community.

When you’re not in a good place, helping someone else is a really good thing to do. This puts you in someone else’s shoes. Lending a helping hand has great benefits for you and the other person. This always helps me put whatever I’m dealing with in perspective.

One thing I love to do is help the homeless (even though it just about devastates me too). To see someone else who literally may only have a little knapsack of belongings and the clothes on their back and that’s it … it makes the stress of not knowing what to put on the meal plan seem like not such a big deal. (Local shelters include Family Shelter, Oliver Gospel Mission, Transitions and The Women’s Shelter.)

You can also volunteer your time to an animal shelter and maybe feed the cats or walk the dogs. (Local options include Pets Inc., Pawmetto Lifeline, and the Humane Society of South Carolina.)

All of this gives you a chance to totally step outside of yourself and help with the plight of another. It will make you feel good about yourself, it will make whoever you’re helping feel valued, and it’ll probably improve your perspective about whatever it is that’s burning you out.

Exercise

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You may not like working out (I don’t!) but you’ll never regret getting out there.

Nothing gets your endorphins (the things that make you happy!) going quite like working out. I, for one, do not like to work out; but truth be told, once I’m done with it, I never regret it. It just makes me feel good. The body was not meant to sit still;  it’s meant to move! Exercising is good for your mind, your heart, your mental well-being and just your overall health. You always regret not working out, but you’ll never regret getting up and doing it. Once you’re done, there’s a sense of accomplishment.

Read

stack of books
Reading is calming and motivating for me.

I read for at least four hours a day, because when I don’t, I feel completely overwhelmed with life. There is something about literature that feeds my soul in a way that not even a glass of wine can touch. (And I love my wine.) Reading allows you to get out of your own head and go into another world. Into someone else’s life. It stimulates your mind and reduces your stress level; it’s informative; and there’s a tranquility like no other that comes from it. More importantly … thanks to my nifty tablet, it’s free. Nothing like a free, relaxing hobby! (Need suggestions? Check out my post from last week, “10 Must-Read Books to Add to Your Reading List.”)

Find role models

Dig deep and find people who inspire you. For me, that’s other women: moms who have it all together (or at least seem that way), women who keep going despite the struggles us mothers go through, and moms who are involved with their children instead of just being a sideline parent. This reminds me that it can be done, that I’m normal. No matter how much we think someone has it all together, they don’t. Remembering this keeps me on my toes and is a total push to keep going on this motherhood journey. Being a mom is my greatest joy, so when I feel off my game, burnt out, or sidetracked, staying inspired gets me through.

Donate and declutter

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Extra stuff drags you down, and chances are there’s someone else who can use it.

Nothing gives me satisfaction the way donating does. Clothes, toys, food, and time are all things that are great to donate. There are so many people in need, and quite frankly not enough resources. I have so many clothes that I no longer wear (or no longer fit) and so do my kids. As much as it would be nice to sell some of our old and gently used clothes, there are women and children in shelters who need the help more than we need the money, and that is why we donate.

Another thing I LOVE to get rid of is TOYS! We all know that our kids have a plethora of toys they don’t play with. They’re just unnecessary clutter lying around. When I start getting rid of toys (usually once a month) I typically donate them to Goodwill. I’m also going to start donating clothes and toys to local women and children’s shelters (Sistercare and Palmetto Place Children’s Shelter are two I respect). As much as my family struggles, we have a home and food and each other, and I believe in giving back. At some shelters or children’s homes, they love to have people come in and read to the children. All it takes is a good book and your time, and I’m sure they would really appreciate it.

Be kind to yourself

At the end of a day when I feel like I’m losing it (like the one I mentioned above), I pay attention to myself. I cut the TV off, I look up “guided meditation” on YouTube, I do yoga and I ignore my phone. I enjoy the blissful beauty that is silence, and the total lack of chaos that night (typically) brings in my house. I go to my happy place.

I look up books, read book reviews, watch DVR recordings of Four Weddings … whatever it takes to bring me back to center. Every night I pick up a book and read for at least two hours, and I wouldn’t be the mom I am if I didn’t do that for myself. But since all of that is short-term, I also try to do something that is completely outside of myself and outside of my life. Chilly weather is here (for the moment), so I’ll be donating winter items to homeless shelters and women’s and children’s shelters.

And before it gets super cold, I’ll enjoy being outside with my kids, in the beauty of nature. When everything else fails, that always gives me my joy back.

 

What do you do to keep joy in your life? Share in the comments.

Photo credits, top to bottom: Brande Jackson / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND; 水泳男 / Foter / CC BY-NC; henry… / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND; rversde23 / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND
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Simone Praylow is wife and bestest friend in the world to Otis (better known as Odor) and mom to football and soccer loving Grayson 12, competitive cheerleader Elind, 7 and tantrum expert Ozzy Voltaire, 2. She is a native of New Jersey but relocated to Key West and later Columbia. As an overachiever, she believes learning is the best gift she can give her children and spends much of her time teaching her children at home (Grayson attends school, but the learning doesn't end when he leaves the classroom). Simone finds motherhood and family life are most easily managed by having a system in place for homelife, kids' schedules (including learning, screen time and reading) and meal planning. She is an avid reader who finds books are one of the best ways to unwind at the end of the day. She spends a lot of time boxing and at Pure Barre getting her burn on. You'll often find her buried in a book or on Pinterest getting ideas for her next project or yummy meals for the family menu.

2 COMMENTS

  1. All of the things you listed above are things that make me happy too… especially reading and exercising (love walking down along the country roads near my home- nature makes me happy)! I have been reading a great book, “Embrace Your Inner Wild: 52 Reflections for an Eco-Centric World” by Mary Reynolds Thompson http://maryreynoldsthompson.com/. The book is perfect because it is the perfect antidote the world of high-tech, high-stress and hyper-rationality. It invites us to reclaim our wild souls and our place in the great community of rivers, forests, peaks, and pastures. It has been a refreshing read!

    • Hi Ashley! I’ve been lazy and haven’t been exercising which of course doesn’t make me feel too good. I have been practicing being still and mindful and that feels really good. I love reading so I’ll be sure to check out the book you recommended.

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