If I am going to do a blog post for Thanksgiving week, I have to do it about gratitude. First, I want to check in with everyone about my blog from last week. It goes along with what I am about to write. Last week, I challenged everyone to “Stop and change your voice,” when you were having a negative thought. I caught myself going down some negative spirals and was pretty successful in stopping myself and changing my voice. Not as quickly as I would have liked, but at least I realized it and got to a better place. I hope you are practicing with me. I will continue to work on this every day.
Yesterday was a perfect example. I kept saying to myself “I’m so anxious. I have so much to do. How am I going to get everything finished today?” Every time I told myself I was anxious yesterday I could feel my chest tighten. Why would I tell myself that I am anxious? Why would I tell myself that I am never going to get everything done? After telling myself that several times yesterday I remembered my challenge and gently told myself to “Stop and change my voice.” If I am honest with you, first I yelled at myself and then I realized that I needed to be kind to myself. I am getting better and I know it will take a lot of practice every day. I practiced telling myself “It all always gets done. You can do this.” I also turned to my husband at 10:30 PM last night and had a feeling that he could do something on the computer for me in two minutes that would have taken me longer to learn. He quickly went on the computer and did what I needed in less than one minute. Poof, I changed my voice and I asked for help. I hope you will all continue to practice with me and will also realize with me that it is always ok to ask for help. My husband does an amazing job helping me and now it’s time to get my three children more involved. That is for another blog post another time. Seth, I know you are going to read this. I can’t thank you enough for stepping in at 10:30 last night when I needed you. I was fading and you are an amazing and fabulous husband!! I appreciate Seth and am thankful for him every day.
Let’s take our voice and thoughts a step further this week. It is the perfect week to do this. As we practice changing our voice, let’s tell ourselves every day what we are thankful for. I will tell you how I am doing well with this and what I need to work on.
I have had many women tell me that they have trouble falling asleep. Their heads are spinning with their to do lists and worries and whatever else us women think about. I understand that there are men that do this too, but I tend to hear this from my girlfriends. My husband has also complained of this. Before bed, I have a tradition of saying a prayer and saying my thanks for my family and my friends. I go through the whole ritual and it eases my mind and I fall right to sleep. It is very hard to be stressed when you put yourself in a state of thankfulness. That is what I am doing well.
I have noticed that I have a bedtime routine that I have spent a little time teaching my children, but I want to make this a ritual for them too. It is time to transfer these skills to the morning. My sweet husband went to kiss me goodbye and give me a hug and I was so busy with the huge list left to do this morning that I kissed him and kicked him out the door. I’m so sorry Seth. I know I was so distracted. It’s time to work on the morning routine.
Here are some of the thoughts swirling in my head in the morning “I’m never going to get all of this done on time. I need to get up even earlier. I have so much to do. This morning routine is too much for me.” Here is what I am working on “I am so fortunate to have all this food to feed my family and pack for their lunches. I have three healthy kids who I get to send to school today. It all always gets done on time. Everyone will get where they need to go. You are such a lucky and fortunate lady.” I have done a great job at night and now I am going to work on feeling like I am doing a great job in the morning! We all know what the morning routine is like! When I realized my morning stressed state every day, I started to work on it. I am beginning to notice a difference, but I have a long ways to go. The bedtime routine is a great ritual and I want to feel the same way about my mornings!
I am realizing more and more that I am in charge of my state. I am in charge of how I feel and what I am telling myself. If I tell myself good things and I feel thankful and grateful for everyone and everything, my stress level goes way down. I know it sounds so much easier than it actually is but the more we practice things the easier it is. As I look down at my thighs I have changed from what I don’t like about them to how thankful I am for my strong legs. I am proud of this shift in my thought process. I am not proud of my hysterics getting my family out the door this morning. There is always room for improvement.
I met with Ella’s homeroom teacher last night for conferences. She has this teacher for homeroom, ELA and Social Studies. Sometimes your children hit the jackpot and have the perfect teacher for them. Every child is so different, and I get so many questions about teachers. I have realized through the years that just because a teacher is perfect for my child that doesn’t mean he or she is a good fit for your child. It depends on what your child needs in a teacher and this teacher couldn’t be a better fit for my daughter. Academically Ella is doing amazing. I wasn’t there to talk about academics. What I want to work on is Ella’s stress level. Her teacher was telling me that she can be both stressed and sad at times. Her science teacher saw me and did a hysterical rendition of what Ella looks like walking down the hall. A girl on a mission with no time for any nonsense. Her science teacher also told me that Ella was perfect in every way and I couldn’t agree more!
Ella sounds like me. I did a flash back to middle school. I bet I looked just like Ella running through the halls of middle school. I am so glad that she is doing so well academically but it’s time to really focus on what those thoughts are in her head. This is what I would like Ella to tell herself: “I’m always on time. I do a great job. I know where I am going. I am a pro at this now. I love middle school. I’m so thankful for my teachers and my fabulous school. I love that I am making so many new friends.” Ella is going to read this blog. She loves to read all my blogs. I want Ella to know that I couldn’t be more proud of her. She is doing a fantastic job. As she gets amazing grades in all her subjects it’s time to congratulate yourself and give yourself positive messages. “I get to go to this great school. I get to have these awesome teachers. I have made such wonderful new friends. I got this.” Ella, neither of us gives you enough credit. You are an AMAZING, FABULOUS girl. You are beautiful inside and outside. You are so smart, sweet and talented. It’s time for you to walk through the school with ease. Tell yourself positive messages and put yourself in a state of thankfulness. I will do this with you. We can both do this. We can teach our children to have positive self-talk and to be thankful for everyone and everything around them. (Maybe not everyone but you know what I mean).
As you go through your day today, start taking notice of everything that you are thankful for. I remember when all my kids took turns being sick the summer of 2018. That was my whole August that summer. My friend called me and told me that it was going to be ok. “Your kids will get better and everything will be ok. There are parents who can’t say that.” She woke me up from a slumber of crankiness and sadness. She was right. My kids were going to spend weeks taking turns with the same illness but all three of them got better. How fortunate am I to have three healthy children? Sometimes it takes someone in your life to wake you up.
All of us can get stressed at school, work and home. I think that is totally normal. I also think that as we pay attention to what we tell ourselves that we can achieve better coping skills and feel less stressed. I have a fabulous husband and three wonderful kids. I have three sweet fur babies. I have a home, and a car to drive, and food on the table every day. I can go to the grocery store whenever I want and buy my family food. Seth has two successful businesses. Seth and I both get to have our parents live right near us. I would have loved that when I was a child to get to have all my grandparents living near me. I have clothing for all my family members. As we go through our days, let us give thanks. As you work on making your voice a positive one, I want to add a challenge to that to give thanks all day every day. You will find that when you are in a state of thankfulness it is much harder to be stressed.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I hope there is a lot of delicious food on your tables and I hope you are surrounded by your loved ones. I give thanks for all of you who read this. Go spread joy and thankfulness. Tell your loved ones how thankful you are for them. I am going to go do that too!
Laughing, Loving, Learning,
Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R