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Dealing with Mommy Blues

mommyblues

Motherhood is no easy calling.  As if everything your days requires of you isn’t enough, feeling blue on top of everything else can make life seem quite insurmountable. Here are somethings that I’ve personally learned about dealing with feeling blue.

This is by no means medical or professional advice, if you need to take meds for depression or need counseling, of course, get the help you need.

It seems like the key to staying out of the dumps is to striving to keep a well balanced physical, social, emotional, mental and spiritual life. It is impossible to keep it all perfectly balanced. The trick is to not go crazy in any aspect of our lives. As soon as you find that whatever ‘good thing’ you are doing in your life starts to hurt other areas of your life, you know it is time to cut back or eliminate. When you are feeling blue, it’s helpful to re-evaluate those different areas in our life to see what we could to do lift up our spirits. Here are some things that have helped me in those areas. Some might seem so obvious but I know I can easily overlook them at times.

Physical:  Taking care of yourself physically is vital is achieving a sense of wellbeing. It is SO important, don’t fool yourself into thinking staying up late, eating junk and sitting around all day won’t affect you, because it totally will!  Make it a point to ‘get out’ and step outside your cave called a home, feel the elements-the sun, breeze..ahh such simple things can really lift a down trotted spirit. Plan in exercise  Go for a walk or a run. Eat healthy. Get the sleep you need. Play outside with the kiddos. When your body says “I need a break!” Listen!!  It is the best way to respect yourself and your limits. In fact it is one of the best ways to respect everyone else around you because you when take the time to take a rest and take care of you, you will  be a better you and that is the BEST thing you can give anyone!

Social: If you’re feeling down, chances are that you are not alone. Women need other women for support. Call up a friend, set up a play group..even if you don’t necessarily feel like it…that friend might need it as much as you do. Let the kids play and allow yourself to just talk. Many times talking about our experiences and listening to others helps you feel less crazy and more human because others are going through simliar things.

Take time to love! We are social beings and need one another. Don’t feel loved? Take time to give love and the feeling your try to share with others will come right back to you. If love is given, love will be felt!

Emotional: Having good social bonds can help with your emotional well being, but when you feel like you don’t really know who to turn to vent and sort out your feelings, often time the best place is a pencil and paper. Journaling can help you get in touch with yourself and get to the root of your emotions and thoughts.

Mental: Exercising your mind is as important as exercising your body. Seek to continually learn through books, classes, and online tutorials, etc. I usually have a challenging project that I’m working on that continually motivates me, keeps me wanting to seek more information online or ask others questions.  Stay curious!

Spiritually: It is important to take time to get in touch with the higher power available to us. Make time to worship and ponder everyday. Pray for guidance. Meditation and time to center ourselves spiritually is key in acheiving a sense of well being.

I want to share a personal experience that I feel is important in approaching this whole thing. There was I point not too long ago that I felt like I was doing EVERYTHING I could to stay a float and not feel down. I was exercising, eating well, trying to stay in contact with friends, reading my scriptures, doing service…everything in my power but I still feel so empty and down.  Perhaps I was just trying to DO too much. I couldn’t figure it out.

I felt frustrated that I felt blue when I really ‘shouldn’t feel that way’ or have ‘no reason to be sad’. I found myself fighting with my emotions and condemning myself for feeling that way. I felt like surely I must be doing something ‘wrong’ if I felt unhappy because ‘happiness’ is up to me and there is something I’m just not doing enough of to feel that happiness. It was a hard and gloomy time. But I learned something from that experience. I learned that sometimes we just go through down times in our lives for no apparent reason, and that’s ok. That in it of itself is part of the test and challenge of life.

I ran into this booked called the ‘Depression Book’ that I picked up and had a chance to scan through. It mentioned that there is nothing wrong with feeling down. Assuming like there is something ‘wrong’ with you just because you are depressed is like believing there is something wrong in the world just because there is a night, or a winter. The book mentioned how feeling blue can actually be a good thing and to embrace it and learn from it.

Agh. After reading that I didn’t want to read anymore, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized how it might just be so. When you are down, you have a chance to focus on yourself and re-evaluate life and what is going on. You pay attention to things that you otherwise wouldn’t. I know every time I’ve gone through a depressed time, and I’m able to get out if, I learn SO much about myself. The contrast of feelings, emotions, thoughts from being in both a down and then a happy state helps you understand yourself so much better. It also empowers you to sympathize with others and help those that might be experiencing those same emotions. Even though I feel so weak and helpless as a person when I’m going through a down time, I’m learning that it doesn’t mean I’m regressing as an individual. Often time I feel like I return as a stronger, wiser person because of it. I’m learning that is good to let yourself feel the way you feel. You’ve got to validate your own feelings without continally just trying to slam them, ignore or supress them. Let them exist. Understand that is ‘too shall pass’ but do what you can to start doing things to help yourself climb out of the dumps. Always remember to be patient and kind with yourself in the process! Respect yourself, you are so worth it!

For another perspective read “How to prioritize your day to create the most joy for you and your family” post!

What kinds of things do you find help you when you find you are in  the dumps?.

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How to create a meal plan that works for you!

dinner-plan

Click on link below to download printable pdf. Slip it into a sheet protector (or a frame or laminate it), slap a magnet on the back throw it on your fridge and whaa-la you have a dry-erase menu ready to go!

DOWNLOAD FREE DINNER PLAN PDF

Ah. That wonderful hour before dinner time. Everyone is tired, grouchy and just plain HUNGRY and you have no clue what to make for dinner because no ingredients in the fridge or cupboard match any of the recipes you’ve been looking at…  Familiar to anyone? Well it certainly was for me. It was basically an everyday scene. I dreaded dinner time. I got so sick it happening everyday, the whole dinner shenanigan, but you know, I couldn’t  stop dinner, mealing and eating from needing to occur everyday so I  knew I just had to change my approach.

The weekly dinner meal plan dilemma 

I had heard of  meal plan but my attempts at creating one most often consistent of this crazy frenzy right before one of us was about to leave to go grocery shopping, so you can imagine, it was quite a scramble. The stress of it  discouraged me from wanted to keep doing it.  But I did love the feeling and ease of having one when I did make one though. So one day it hit me that I would just create a giantic meal plan that I wouldn’t have to recreate every week… one for the whole month! Basically four weeks of meal plans that I could rotate through.

Here is how I did it

I piled up the cook books that I usually used and collected all the recipes that I usually made..which I was surprised to find was only like 10 meals…wow…only 20 more to go.  I only got to like 26, which worked because I calculated that a least once or twice a week I wouldn’t cook because of other family dinners,  need for a quick fix day or left overs. It got more elaborate. I wanted to make sure we didn’t have three days of rice dishes in a row or chicken dishes in a row. I also wanted make it easy to know what I needed to get from the store. I put all the recipes in this on a google spread sheet and outlined the following for each recipe.

1. Recipe name
2. Make sure you have (ingredients that I usually have on hand)
3. What I should buy fresh (what would go on the grocery list every week)
4. Where to find recipe (Recipe book and page number. I started printing out all the recipes I found online and put them in the same binder as the spreadsheet)
5. meat/starch (so-”C, R” for chicken and rice. This was mainly to easily set up weekly plans to include a variety. I set it up so we’d have at least one vegetarian dish a week)

I color coded each week so I could see were one week began and end at a glance.

I make more than enough for each meal so we could have the leftover for the lunch the next day. If there is even more left overs it goes in the freezer for quick fixes later.

***EXCITING UPDATE!! The ultimate meal planner to create meal plan as explained is available for you to download for free!***** (Click on link below image)meal-planner-01

 

[Download not found]

 

Ok. I know what you are thinking.  This  seems like an insane amount of work and I must be an organization nut. Truth reveal is, I’m probably one of the most scattered brained, disorganized individuals you could meet. That is exactly why this is SO good for me and exactly why I know you can do it too if you want to give it a whirl. It might just change your life. Like it has mine. Seriously, it really only takes a few hours if even that or so of intial sit down work BUT what it SAVES you in time, money and stress is more than you could possibly conceive! Think about it:

  • No impulsive dinning out. The temptation to go out to eat because you have no idea what to make or because you don’t have ingredients will be virtually eliminated. Saving you money and helping you eat healthier.
  • Healthier decisions. We all want to eat healthier and creating a plan is such effective way to get exactly want you want in your diet. Relying on spare of the moment meals usually result in wanting something fast and convient because you start thinking about dinner when you are already tired and hungry.
  • Time Saver. Have you ever spent over a half hour just trying to decide what you would make for dinner and realized that in that same time you could have had something ready already?  That was the worst for me.  The greatest part about it is that I realized that there are SEVERAL meals (can you say crockpot) that I could have the active prep done in less than 11  minutes! That is less time than it takes most to make mac and cheese from a box! Imagine, 11 minutes of your time in the morning to free yourself from dinner stress and enjoy a healthy hot delicious meal at night, totally worth it.
  • Quick and Easy grocery shopping. With the plan in place all you have to do is scan down a list and write it down and know you will have all the ingredients you need to make all your meals for the week. You can even organize your list in the order that you shop: Produce, dairy, meat, pantry, household, etc, making shopping  even easier for you!

It’s like my dinner bible that I refer to almost daily.

How to create a grocery list with it

Getting a grocery list is a breeze with a meal plan. This is how I get a list ready:

First I get my weekly calendar (see above to download  a printable I threw together)  and dry erase marker and fill in any outside-the-home dinners that will be available eg. eating at parents, parties, etc. Write which days you will eat out too (heh. one day…we are still on a student income).

Then I refer to a week block in my meal plan and write down all the meals for each day. Sometimes I will mix and match order and even pull from other weeks if I want. Since all the meals are ordered with what I need from the store, it is still simple to put together  grocery list. I just scan the ‘make sure you have’ and write down anything I know we are out of  and write down everything on the ‘fresh to buy’ column for the week.

During the week we keep a magnetic grocery (click here for a printable grocery list and shopping tips) list that we fill as we ran out of stuff that we usually have on hand while it is still on our minds.  This means, while I’m cooking if I noticed that there are only two more potatoes left (something that we usually have on hand) then I stop what I’m doing for the moment and write it down before I forget.

you can get one of those cheap grocery lists at micheals or target for like a $1. The bulk of the paper usually falls of the magnet cardbord back with enough time and use. Instead of throwing all that paper away, try stapling it back on the cardboard. 😀

Adding new recipes

Has pintrest not totally beefed up your recipe box? It has mine.  I have a recipe binder full of sheet protects that I can easily slide in a recipe I find after I print it.  It is a great way to have reference to it afterward, it is spill proof (really important for me since I’m constantly wiping off splatters) and I sometimes even make temporal notes with with a dry erase marker on recipes I modify (which is often), see if worked out and write it on on the actual recipe with a pen if it worked out. If there are winner recipes that are easy, healthy and my family liked, they make it to the meal plan.

I look forward to dinner time now!

Dinner time is on my mind before noon while I still have energy in the day.  I either throw things in a crockpot or chop veggies and have all the prep work done to make it easy as possible in the evening.  Now all I have to look forward to is eating. It’s beautiful. *sniff*.

What ways have YOU found that really helps you with meals and such?

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