In most jobs there are breaks built in. People can step away for a few minutes or even go get lunch. They can stop, reboot, refresh, and then get back to work.
But, when you are on duty as a parent, you do not always have such a luxury.
Micaela was immobile for so long. On top of that, she did not do a lot of normal toddler or baby things such as try to eat bugs or investigate cabinets. But that has all changed dramatically since she started crawling, sitting herself up, and pulling herself up into kneeling.
It is a totally normal phase. Throw in a 3 year-old who no longer naps and I can get super frazzled by the end of the day. A friend gently reminded me that I did not need to be alone in order to calm myself and reclaim some peace. And she was right. Below are five ways that I have found to bring my frustration level down when things start to feel out of control.
1. Music You can boogy to it. Sing at the top of your lungs. It can be hard. It can be slinky. It can be soft and gentle. But the key is, you have to just do the music for a while. The kids can be involved too. They can dance and sing and watch mom be silly. Or, they can pretend to be ballerinas or waving leaves while gentle beats are played out. Five minutes and you will be perked up. Ten minutes and you will be ready to get back on a roll.
2. Adult coloring books. This is my favorite. Grabbing a yellow pen and making a little piece of paper just a bit prettier is very soothing for me. My girls can color their own books too. We can have music in the background. We can talk or sing. Or we can be quiet for a little while. It is good prayer time too while you fill in the wings of a butterfly or the eyes of a tiger.
3. Journaling. Angry? Scared? Feelings of guilt? Frustrated? Write it down. I keep a prayer journal that often looks like a bunch of complaints that I'm bringing to God, but, once they are down they are no longer building in me. Putting it into words can help me make sense of it.
4. Get out doors. Throw kids in strollers or grab them by the hand. Walk to the park, down the street, or in circles in your driveway. Breathe. In. Out. Let your shoulders drop. If the weather is bad you can sit down on your rug and do some stretching or yoga. Just breathe.
5. Read. And lastly, find a really good devotional or book of encouragement. Find one with very short stories, quotes, or words of wisdom that you can open up and read for a minute or two and then put down again. Read through some Psalms in the Bible. Anything that relaxes and encourages you will work.
I am determined to continue discovering ways to beat feelings of frustration. But before you work on your own list of ways to refocus yourself when your are at the end of your rope, I want to strongly encourage you not to add social media or pinterest to your list. Why? Because if you are anything like me, those outlets are entertaining but hard to pull away from. Plus, they can leave me more frustrated or worried if I read something upsetting or cannot finish looking at all those cheesecake recipes.
Next time you find yourself on the job and unable to squeeze in a normal break, try one of these and do a little sanity saving.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
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