When I was a kid, I remember watching Judy Garland perform “Get Happy” in Summerstock. I loved the song itself, but more than that, I was completely mesmerized by her performance. She was so sassy and vivacious and completely embodied the spirit of the song. She communicated that “getting happy” wasn’t just a change in your mindset, it was a total body experience. You couldn’t just think happy, you had to be happy. She made me want to put on a tuxedo jacket and dance.
Things have been a little rough around our home lately. Oliver has been cutting four teeth the last couple of weeks which has made him restless and grouchy and has affected his sleep. Yesterday I discovered two more teeth starting to work their way through before the other four have even finished cutting. Cutting six teeth all at once can’t be pleasant, as evidenced by Oliver’s behavior.
And then Theo. Oh Theodore. All I can say is that my oldest has been making life extremely difficult lately. He is incredibly strong willed, curious, fearless, and imaginative; all good qualities, but sometimes hard to channel and shape in an impulsive toddler. Lately he has been acting like some kind of deranged animal, like a squirrel on speed. I mean, can you imagine how destructive and how much trouble a squirrel hopped up on speed would cause??? I can. And it’s serious.
Yesterday I walked into my boys room and found Theo in Oliver’s crib, and together the two were gorging themselves on Easter candy. I found maybe 15-20 EMPTY candy wrappers and candy carnage everywhere. To top it off, Theo blamed his brother. His brother who can’t get out of his crib on his own, who is just starting to walk. Did I mention that I had stored the baskets in the kitchen? Or the fact that Theo also has scissors in the crib with him???? Words can’t even describe the range of emotions I felt in that moment.
So back to Judy. Today has been a really rough day for me, on the heels of a pretty rough weekend, that was just the icing on the cake of a really bad week.
I’ve learned that when I get blue or discouraged that I have to be very proactive in taking steps to right the sinking ship so to speak. I don’t think I’m unique in this. I think it is easy for all of us to let a few bad days get us down and before we know it, we are on the couch watching 14 episodes of Gilmore Girls consuming nothing but dark roast coffee and feeling really sorry for ourselves. (Or maybe that is just me.)
Here are some of the ways that I “forget my troubles” and “get happy,” Judy Garland style:
1. Wash your hair: I don’t know why, but freshly washed locks are such a great pick me up.
2. Take a drive: This one is huge for me as a mom of two physically rambunctious boys. Sometimes it feels so, so good to strap them in their car seats and just hit the road. Something as simple as going for a drive to Starbucks can do a world of good to just clear your head and know that for the next 30 minutes or so, your kids are strapped in and can’t crawl over you, hit each other, destroy you house, etc. Today we headed to a local craft store. I had something small I wanted to get. No, I didn’t need it right that minute, and yes, I really drove all the way to the next town over to get coffee and a $5 craft item that could have waited, but no, I don’t think it was a waste of money. Spending $5 to preserve my sanity is way cheaper then the psychiatric help I would need if I stayed put one more second with aforementioned deranged squirrel.
3. Listen to music that lifts your eyes beyond yourself. When I really am in a funk, listening to songs like Hillsong United’s Oceans helps me regain my focus and speaks peace to my soul.
4. Go to Starbucks. If you don’t drink coffee than I don’t know what to tell you (maybe that is part of the problem? I kid, I kid…). Nothing brings a smile to my face like lifting an extra dark cup of coffee from Starbucks to my lips. When I went today, I heard myself order a venti. I never order a venti. Whatever. I went with it.
5. Put on lipstick: I love lipstick. My makeup routine lately has been pretty bare bones. Like, just mascara and lipstick kinda of bare. It’s great though, because lips and eyes that pop instantly make me feel “ready” and distract from the fact that I generally feel pretty frazzled. Fake it til you make it baby. (This color is A Stiff Pink by Wet n Wild.)
6. Get moving: Yesterday, while my kids were napping and my husband was working on his Master’s homework, I went to our local YMCA for a run on the treadmill. That rush of endorphins was the boost I needed to come back home and once again face the battle zone. I even got myself a post-workout snack – a Naked juice – to just keep the happy vibes as long as possible.
7. Treat yourself to a glass of wine. Or better yet, a glass of wine and a relaxing bath. Here is the recipe for perfect bath experience:
~glass of wine
~epsom salts, and relaxing bath clay
~a good book
~children who are in bed
8. Don’t neglect to feed your body, as well as your soul: When the going gets tough, that’s when I need to be extra intentional about eating well. Skipping meals or eating crap will only make me feel physically sick, which will only make hard days harder. I’ve been enjoying cutting up veggies and cooking fun add-ins for salads at the beginning of the week so that come lunch time I can just throw together a fantastic salad in seconds.
9. Do something for others: I know, I know, these moments aren’t exactly when you want to see others, let alone do something nice for them. You want someone to do something nice for you, right? I’ve found, though, that what we really need to lift our spirits is to stop thinking so dang much about ourselves. Yeah, tough days and the blues are real. But you know what? We all go through it. The best way to beat the blues, is to immerse yourself in an act of kindness. My personal favorite it to take someone a meal. It may not be easy to accomplish, especially since my hard days revolve around fussy and disobedient children, but the end result is worth it.
10. Smile: It might seem silly, but it works. I sometimes instruct everyone in a yoga class to simply smile. Why? Because not only has it been proven to improve moods, but sometimes we just need that extra reminder that bad days don’t equal bad moms, or bad lives. It just means you are struggling in the moment. So smile. You might feel broken, you might feel like you can’t go on, but that isn’t true. You are stronger than you think. So smile. Because you’ve got this.
(Elevation Church did this awesome series called “Mood-swingers.” The whole things was amazing, but today I went back and re-watched the third message. Steven Furtick said that when we smile, we tell our emotions where to go. We send a signal, to our soul. I love that :-). )
Hope these 10 suggestions brought a smile to your face, or helped bring cheer to an otherwise downer of a day. Check out “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” if you want some more suggestions on perking up when you are in a funk.