First, a sort of apology/explanation for my absence.
I have neglected this blog a lot the last several months. It's been pretty rough, dealing with introspection, the nearly insurmountable task of keeping 5 children, not only alive, but healthy and growing, supporting my ever loving husband, and mostly, just trying to keep an even keel as we weather this storm.
Life throws some pretty nasty storms. Things that would love to flip over our small boat and toss us into the deep blue see of loathing, depressing and self-hate. Life is pretty good at that it seems. Some days, arguably, are better than others, but most days it's a struggle for me to even keep the boat afloat. Some days I feel like I have lost any ability to actually enjoy the trip anymore, and that makes me sad.
Bootstraps--have you heard the tale? When life gets you down, you gotta pull up your bootstraps and get back to work.
I told a good friend awhile back, that I am afraid that my bootstraps are going to rip, from being pulled up so many times. But I am increasingly wondering about the strength of said bootstraps. I don't think our bootstraps are made of something as fickle as leather or cloth or rubber. I am beginning to think that our bootstraps are actually made of muscle, and that perhaps, the more we pull on them, the stronger they get. And perhaps, eventually, they won't fall down as often, or maybe just not as far. But it's not just the pulling that does it. I think that when we substitute healthy behaviors for our destructive ones, it makes our bootstraps stronger still.
If our first response to trouble or stress is to self-medicate with food or drugs, etc. Or worse, to take our addiction, and then plop in front of a tv so we can further numb ourselves, then our bootstraps are not actually being strengthened. We are, in a sense, allowing them to fall further down as we numb ourselves to the feelings.
However, if our first response to stress is to breathe deeply, do a yoga posture, meditate for a few minutes, paint, read, play piano, sing, listen to loud happy music and dance, or do 25 jumping jacks (or some other exercise) then we are going to lift our spirits and tighten up those straps. Not only that, but it is a "high"
that is going to positively affect our health, waistline and background checks.
So, I would encourage you, next time you feel down and want to reach for that doughnut, or ice cream, or wine, or codeine (etc.) instead, pull back, take a big breath and choose something from your "Happy List" to do.
What's a "Happy List?" It is a list that you make of things that you like to do. It should be fairly lengthy, choose perhaps 20 to start with and add more as you think of them. THIS SHOULD BE WRITTEN DOWN! If it is not written, and easily accessible, then you won't use it. Also, if any item on your list requires supplies, then make sure you have them on hand. I will share with you part of my "Happy Lit." However, be aware that not all of these things will make you happy. This is just an idea to get you started.
MY HAPPY LIST
* Give/Get a hug from one or more of my children
* Hug my husband
* Pet one of my cats
* Pet my dog
* Garden, smell the roses
* Read some Louis L'Amour books
* Draw a picture
* Write in my journal
* Write my blog or books
* Step outside and breathe deep for a few seconds (20-30)
* Turn on some music and dance crazy with the children
* Play the piano
* Sew something
* Design a garment
* Call a friend
* Play the flute
* Play a Native American instrument
* Put on a Richard Simmons tape, and DO IT! He loves you
* Read the scriptures
* Watch videos of babies laughing
* Watch videos of baby animals being cute
* Play a game
* Turn on some relaxing music and breathe deep
* Have a good cry, then rinse face with water
* Paint my toenails
* Put on make-up
* De-clutter and donate stuff
* Shop--but be careful of the pocketbook
There is so much you can do! Maybe you can take a class and learn something new. Maybe you could visit a nursing home. Maybe you could volunteer somewhere. There are so many options, many that are low cost and FREE, you just have to choose to do it. I promise, the first couple times, it is hard to choose off the "Happy List," instead of your food, drug, alcohol, etc. That is your addiction speaking. But, the more you choose to be happy instead of addicted, the easier it gets.
You can do it. Get a friend to support you. Get more help if you need it. And, I would advise to seek a Higher Power. God is there, waiting to help you, waiting to make weak things strong unto you, but you have to ask Him, He won't interfere if you don't ask.
You are getting stronger, every day you try to do better. Keep going. Keep Trying. Keep picking yourself up.