I decided that I needed to carve out some time for reflection. This time, for me, included reading the Bible, journaling, praying, and just sitting quietly. Sometimes I could only carve out about 10 minutes, but it was interesting to see how this time of quiet reflection effected how I felt and provided some personal insight as well. For each observation that I wanted to change, I decided to create a countermeasure to see if it would help. Here’s what I found:
Insight 1: I love being busy and will completely fill my schedule and even create unnecessary “busywork” until I get completely overwhelmed, which then leads to cranky, exhausted mom, which is no fun for any of us.
Countermeasure: Scheduled personal time. I have started to schedule exercise, quiet time, etc. so that it’s a part of my overall weekly schedule. I have also made a point to get up 10-20 minutes earlier daily for a time of prayer, reflection and quiet. If I just can’t bring myself to get up early, I use my lunch break and spend some quiet time alone.
Insight 2: My phone is a waste of time and its use is negatively correlated with my mental well-being.
Countermeasure: Treat myself and my phone like I treat my kids and electronics…time limits and keep out of site for longer periods of time.
Insight 3: I get stuck in negativity when things don’t go as planned and this bubbles over into my interactions with my husband and children. Things are bound to go wrong. As a perfectionist, this can really throw me for a tailspin. I often find myself beating myself up continually over what didn’t meet my (usually unrealistic) expectations or even putting my overly high expectations onto those around me
Countermeasure: Evaluate negative thoughts objectively. This is a really tough one, but here is what I am trying to do…when I start to have negative thoughts, I try to catch it and pause. During the pause, I evaluate on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being of life-or-death importance, the overall importance of the issue at hand. Then I do the same thing with the idea of how much control I have over it, with 10 being it is 100% within my control. Lastly, I determine if there is anything I need to do about it. If I have little control or its not very important, I let it go. If it creeps back into my thoughts, I just remind myself “not important,” or “out of my control.” As I mentioned before, this one is more difficult and takes a lot of discipline, but I am hopeful it will help over time.
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