The Best Decision You’ll Make All Year & 7 Steps To Do It
The Best Decision You’ll Make All Year & 7 Steps To Do It
Hibernation, soul-searching, doing you, whatever you want to call it, a season of rest is the most important thing you can do for yourself all year. As winter reaches its peak and hopefully early end, I’ve had some time to reflect on why this winter was different from all of its predecessors.
So what is a season of rest? It’s basically a chunk of time where you are taking care of yourself and perhaps leaning in to some of the feelings, which can come during the wintertime such as reflection, sadness, anxiety, depression, or even just the ‘ol “blah” feeling. Let’s be honest, it can be hard to feel happy when the sky is gray, your whole house gets a stomach bug for a month, and your mother-in-law keeps asking when she’s going to see the kids. Back off Martha. Here are 7 tangible steps to take for your season of rest.
1. Recognize it’s okay
Humans are not meant to be stressed out constantly. We aren’t meant to be happy all the time or have life all figured out at once. It’s OKAY to not feel great or feel discontent. You deserve this time of reflection and a time of grace to let yourself feel it, reflect, and move forward.
While it’s common to feel down during the winter or experience seasonal depression, if you feel like you are severely depressed I want to encourage you to speak to a licensed therapist or reach out to your doctor for advice. Millions of people suffer from depression and anxiety and you do not have to go through it alone.
2. Say NO and go slow
We all know that task or obligation that you absolutely dread with every fiber in your being. When you say yes to that, it puts an unnecessary weight on your heart. Say no to all things you feel obligated to do or simply don’t want to do (besides feeding your kids of course. Sorry, girl you gotta feed ‘em). Then SLOW IT DOWN. When you wake up, don’t reach for your phone and start scrolling, don’t think of your mile-long to-do list. Take time to stretch, meditate, or go for a walk and appreciate the quiet time if you have it.
3. Take care of your space
One of my favorite authors, Jen Sincero, said that taking care of your space is one of the most impactful things you can do for yourself, especially for my ladies balling on a budget. Simple things like making your bed every day, getting inexpensive curtains or pillows, or staying on top of chores are all ways to take care of your space and show that you appreciate it. OR if you’re a Netflix junkie, watch Marie Kondo’s show Tidying Up and watch how she teaches tangible steps to appreciate and care for your home. You’d be surprised how much a clean space can change your mood!
4. Get back to the things you love and create little wins in your day
Did you have a hobby you used to love? Maybe a hobby you had before you were a mama or a partner? It’s time to bring it back and heal your soul a little bit. Break out the craft corner and get to work. Then go get your favorite latte or donut, make a beautiful dinner for yourself, or go to a trampoline park with your kids and bounce around like it’s your 6th birthday. Do little things that will make you happy in the present so you’re not as fixated on the negatives or far-off future.
5. Create Time
A book I read said time is an illusion. Do you ever notice that when something important or pressing comes up and you have no time, you suddenly have the ability to come up with time to make it happen? Make time to take care of yourself.
If you have a family, take turns with your partner watching your kids while the other one has alone time. Go to a yoga class, have a girl’s night, go to a paint and sip or a long run, take up guitar lessons, whatever makes you happy. Then allow your partner to have time to do the same. You’ll both be happier. Even better, find another couple with kids, take turns once a week watching the kiddos and take a date night with free childcare. Or you know, hire a babysitter if you end up hating their kids, it’s fine.
6. Focus on the present instead of what’s next
It’s great to dream about the future, but not when it’s making you hate the present. Make a list of what’s out of your control- what’s bothering you? The weather, when you move to your next duty station, when your grief goes away or when you get pregnant? Okay now what’s in your control? What foods and substances you put in your body, how often you exercise, how well you take care of your space, how often you see your friends or family? As you make your list, you’ll probably see that there’s a lot more things in your control than out of it.
Another suggestion is a gratitude list. A lot of people do this daily, personally I do it weekly to keep myself in check. What are you grateful for this week? Did your partner help you out? Are you healthy and have a roof over your head? Did you get the last glazed donut at DD? List it out on paper so you can see the blessings in your life.
7. BE THE PITCHER
Last thing! Now if you’re still saying but Sara you don’t get it. I have so many responsibilities if I don’t do all these things my world will fall apart! Well let me end this article by telling you something that my girl Rachel Hollis said; imagine all of the responsibilities in your life are glasses of water (or wine if that’s your jam). Your kids, job, husband, home, parents, 12 cats, whatever sits on your shoulders ever day are each a glass of water. Now, you are the water pitcher responsible for filling all of those glasses up and making sure they’re okay. You’re trying so hard to pour water here, and then race to pour water there, maybe take some out of one to put in another, but at the end, your glasses are only half-full and you are totally empty. No one wins. When you focus on too many things at once, they all suffer. BUT when you continuously fill up your pitcher first, your water overflows into those glasses and in turn, makes them overflow too. Taking care of yourself allows you to show up better for those responsibilities or people in your life. So be the pitcher… the overflowing beautiful MF badass pitcher.
***While it’s common to feel down during the winter, if you feel like you are severely depressed I want to encourage you to speak to a licensed therapist or reach out to your doctor for advice. If you feel like you are going to hurt yourself or others please call for help. You are not alone.***
U.S. Emergency: 911
German Emergency: 112
German Suicide Hotline: 0800-111-01-11
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (American): 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Military Crisis Line in Europe: 00800-1273-8255 DSN 118
Military One Source Crisis Line: 1-800-342-9647