Note: Many thanks to Halle at Upbeat Motherhood for this great post. Upbeat Motherhood is full of encouragement and great ideas for everyone. Enjoy!
As an eternal optimist, my mouth is always spewing out positive affirmations for the world to hear. My many social media feeds are flooded with good vibe quotes and I am usually the first one to look on the bright side of things.
But to be completely honest, being so happy-go-lucky all the time didn’t always come that easy for me.
Worthlessness Was a Lifelong Feeling
Let me back up a little bit. Before I became a parent, I struggled with keeping my head above water. There wasn’t always a bluebird on my shoulder and my mental health wasn’t in the greatest state. My younger years were filled with anxiety, depression, and questions that could never be answered. Essentially, there was an enormous, gaping hole inside of me. Long story short – I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t doing well in any aspect of my life, in fact.
Fast forward to the birth of my son. As a young, new mom, I had no idea what I was doing. Does anyone when they first become a parent? Needless to say, I struggled with everything. Troubles breastfeeding made me a bad mom; not being able to sleep when my baby slept made me half zombie (and a bad mom). I was determined to cloth diaper and failed, utterly and completely, to configure these new diapers on my teensy baby’s slender six-pound frame.
Hitting Rock Bottom
So, why does this all matter even in the slightest? Because that was when I hit rock bottom. There is no worse feeling in the entire world than believing you are a bad parent. Around the time my son turned one, I realized that I needed to get myself together – for his sake. There is nothing more motivating in this world than the desire to do well by your children.
After all was said and done, and I made the conscious decision to turn my life around, I needed to figure out how to do that. Do I find a therapist? Enroll in a parent support group? Reach out to other moms I knew? Well, I didn’t actually know any other moms (outside of my own) at that time, so that option was out.
What I Did to Feel Worthy
What I ended up doing – and what I truly believe helped me start living my best life – was feeling like I deserved to be happy. I had to have this complete mindset shift that convinced my psyche that I was deserving of a happy, productive life. In retrospect, it sounds like a simple task, to think one way or another, but in reality, it is the difference between staying tucked between your sheets for hours on end and conquering the day with a smile.
In order to achieve this mindset makeover, I did a few things first and foremost:
Easy enough, right? Just sit down, relax your mind, and take a few deep breaths. This was one of the hardest things for me to accomplish. To this day, I have trouble calming the voice inside my head and shutting off the racing thoughts. But, luckily, it is easier than before. I have developed better mechanisms to decrease those negative voices and clear my mind.
While I don’t personally meditate, it’s a great tactic for breathing your way into relaxation. Anything that gets you to sit still and focus on yourself is highly recommended.
Additionally, Harvard Medical School found that yoga (another great method to unwind) can ease the strains of anxiety and depression. Check it out here: https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/yoga-for-anxiety-and-depression
Whether you decide to just sit on your couch and breathe, do some yoga poses, or anything in between, the point here is to calm down. Relax. Take a minute to yourself to think about nothing. Clear every negative thought you have accumulated during the day.
Take Some Time for Yourself
This goes along perfectly with meditating or doing yoga, but I think it should be taken a step further. Sitting still and breathing is a great way to clear out the negativity; now it’s time to feed your soul.
Think: What is it that you love to do? What makes you feel whole inside? Gardening? Baking? Whatever it is, do it. Carve out time in your busy day to do whatever fills your cup. For me, it’s reading, drinking tea, and pampering myself. When I really need to do something to boost my self-love, I’ll make a cup of hot chamomile tea, throw on a clay face mask, and sit down with a Jodi Picoult book for 15 minutes. That’s all. I don’t have a ton of time to do much else or go to a day spa, but those small actions for that short period of time help me reset. I can only do this maybe once every other week, but it makes all the difference in making me feel like I’m deserving of that luxurious, pampering, and relaxing moment.
The benefits of pampering yourself are endless; read about 5 of them here: https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/5-reasons-pamper-yourself
It’s Okay to Ask For Help
There is still an awful social stigma around therapy and counseling. In my opinion, what’s wrong with needing someone to unfold onto? Unfortunately, we don’t all have those people in our lives that can be our perpetual shoulder to cry on. And if we do, we don’t want to feel like a constant burden on them. Or maybe we just need a second pair of ears to hear us out.
In addition to professional help, it’s okay to ask for help within your home. Some days, I just need a quick break from my rambunctious, strong-willed toddler. As a work from home mom, my job is non-stop, 24/7, 365. Before, I would just take the stress as it came and keep my mouth shut. Now, I’ll speak up and ask my partner to handle the nighttime routine while I clean up dinner in silence. That small break helps keep my sanity in check and prevents burnout.
Feeling worthy and deserving a good, happy life can take a lot of will and determination. No, it isn’t an easy feat, but trust me – you are worth it. You are worth every second of joy, every minute of laughter, and every ounce of love. The absolute first step is changing your mindset on life. Creating this shift is what starts the process of believing in yourself and knowing that you are a beautiful, worthy human being.
Halle is a newer mama who blogs about all things motherhood, including raising healthy kids, plant-based meals, flexible side hustle ideas, minimalism, self-care, and so much more. Visit her blog here: www.upbeatmotherhood.com.