We all want to live our best lives.
But sometimes, some days, this feels just like a distant dream, no? You know what I am talking about, moms. Those days when you never even get to tick one thing off your to-do list, when the house is a mess, when work sucked, or the kids never stops fighting or, you know, you have run out of pods for the Nespresso machine.
But instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, there are ways to turn things around, to feel more in control of our lives, even on those mom days when everything seems to be anything but. These may seem like small tasks, but try them out, make them a habit, and soon you'll see just how big a difference they can make to your day:
1. Make your bed every day
If you haven't yet gotten into this habit, now is a good time to start. Making your bed in the morning starts your day off on a productive note, which is great for making you feel like you are running your day, not the other way around. Another bonus? Come evening time, it will feel so nice crawling into a lovely made-up bed.
2. Break a sweat
The hardest part is actually making it out the front door, but once you've gotten started, you'll be so glad you did something to keep your body active. And the beauty is that it doesn't have to be complicated – do any kind of exercise you like. Go for a run, catch a yoga class, take a brisk walk, play football with the kids, it doesn't matter, as long as you get your pulse up and break a sweat. Bonus? The endorphins will make you feel happier and better about your entire life in an instant.
3. Get up half an hour before anyone else
This trick is my own go-to for making sure I feel like I have started my day right and feel on top of things from the word go. By setting my alarm for half an hour before I really need to get up, I can make sure I not only get a headstart on our day by having things like breakfast and lunchboxes ready before the kids get up, but that I also have a few minutes every morning where it is just me, no-one tugging or pulling or asking for something. My alone time in the morning is sacred. I make some hot water with lemon (my favourite morning drink) and curl up in my favourite chair to drink it while mentally planning my day before it actually starts.
Being in a messy environment can make anyone feel stressed or down. So try every day to keep on top of your clutter – it accumulates fast, especially in busy family homes. Clean out the fridge – and you'll get an overview of what you have and need, saving you time and money when you go shopping. Throw out old newspapers, magazines, junk mail. Grab a basket and move quickly through the house, picking up stuff that has been left somewhere it doesn't belong. Be ruthless about what you need and what stuff you are just holding onto for habit or hoarding tendencies alone.
5. Call someone you love
Texts and Whatsapps and snaps are all great and fun and practical at times, but nothing can beat hearing the voice of someone you care about and who care about you. Just try it and you'll see – even a speedy five minute call can have the power to completely change you mood and outlook on things.
6. But also – put your phone down more
Isn't it ironic how so many features of smartphones are designed to decrease your stress, help you stay organised and on top of things and in control – and yet so many of us allow ourselves to let our phones make us feel stressed and anxious. E-mails that tick in at all times, messages that require responding, pictures you need to see and like; it all makes us addicted to our phones and having them nearby at all times.
However, many studies have now pointed out the importance of spending time disconnected from our phones in order not only to feel better and less stressed, but also to have time to focus on other things, like actual conversations with people, some tech-free me-time or just a book or magazine.
7. Buy fresh flowers for yourself
This one is such a small, yet powerful tool in feeling happier and better about everything. Fresh flowers are a treat everyone should bestow upon themselves once a week (you'll get a week out of them) and they will brighten up your home in an instant. Make a habit out of picking up a bunch on Friday, so the house looks lovely for the weekend, or buy a bunch on a Monday, to have something pretty to look at all week.