7 ways to make the most of every day
For us in the UK, May brings with it warmer days and lighter evenings. Lockdown restrictions are easing too, which makes for more choice of daily fun.
Hopefully for those of you in Australia, May is offering cooler days. Reports from my family in Perth say it’s been a long hot summer. And, thankfully, restrictions there haven’t been too limiting (with the exception of travel).
May is also the month for observing Maternal Mental Health Week, with 5 May being World Maternal Mental Health Day https://perinatalmhpartnership.com.
Having suffered myself, particularly after the birth of my first child, this cause is close to my heart.
I delivered both my kiddos in Australia and received excellent mental health care. Whilst I had great support, it was still a process that took a long time to work through and come to terms with. I’m grateful for the support and care of my family, particularly my husband and my mum, without whom my story would have been quite different.
I’m 9 years down the track now; there’s still bad days, but they’re to be expected, and tackled accordingly. The good days far outweigh them.
On that note, rather than tell my story, I thought I’d use this blog to offer a positive message in a way that’s easy to do, but can be quite powerful.
A friend recently suggested I write a DONE list, as opposed as a TO DO list each day. Of course, being the Queen of Lists that I am, I thought this was a great idea, but I still needed my ‘To Do’ list!
Now, each week in my diary, I have a large sticky note with all the tasks I intend to achieve that week, leaving the space under each day free to write my DONE tasks.
Happy days! It’s SO satisfying.
The next part of this little trick does require a bit of light reflection – pretty difficult with tired kids needing to be fed, bathed and put to bed at the end of the day! For me, this takes place quietly at bedtime, which actually works out well because it ends the day on a positive note.
And the question is; how have I made the most of the day today? (or, what is one positive I can take from today?).
I’ll be honest, sometimes it’s ‘the kids avoided hospital’, or ‘they’ve been fed’! Or even, ‘I won’t be doing ‘that’ again’. But most days I can find a ray of sunshine somewhere, about something.
I’ve put together 7 tips and tricks to help you find ways to notice how you’ve made the most of your day so that your ‘DONE’ list can sparkle.
1. Make your ‘To Do’ list, with space for your ‘Done’ list!
Be realistic with your list. You can even use a nice colourful pen to write down your achievements (if you’re a stationery nut like me!)
2. Get some exercise.
Every day. Anything will do, even just a 10 minute walk or some active play time with your child – which is a double whammy by the way; exercise for you + bonding time with them.
3. Have a shower.
Sounds simple enough but it makes you feel so much better! I used to bring mine into the bathroom, secured in a bouncy chair and sing whilst I was showering. It may not have been relaxing but I was clean and felt good for it.
4. As a family, tell each other the best thing about your day.
It’s interesting where these little chats can lead. Try, ‘what did you do today that made you smile?’ It’s good to help kids reflect on their day too.
5. Find ways to laugh twice during the day.
Tip; Google “funny parenting quotes” if you’re struggling.
Laughter is a stress reliever and even just smiling will make you feel better. At the end of the day, you’ll write down ‘I laughed twice today’, then you’ll remember what you laughed at and probably get another chuckle out of it.
6. Notice the weather; good or bad.
I love watching the weather, whatever it’s doing. There’s a mountain outside my kitchen window and I can see the rain coming before it hits, or I can see the haze of a summer’s day. I love a broody sky and I also love a bright blue sunny sky. Drink it in and soak it up. What for? Being in the moment, just for a moment.
7. Give yourself 5 minutes to cuddle your child.
Don’t do anything else at the same time, just enjoy the connection. I often feel like I need to take a picture to capture the moment, but all too soon the moment has passed. So just cuddle. You’ll remember it and so will they.
Obviously you’re not going to do all these every day. But if you can manage one, once, then another on another day, soon your list will be colourful and you’ll find so many other ways to feel good.
And don’t forget, it’s OK to write ‘they’re alive’ on those days that are JUST TOUGH.
Finally, remember to call on your friends if you’re having a bad day. That’s what friends are for … in good times and in bad.
Footnote: one final tip!
Take photos of YOU with your babies! I had a really hard time finding pictures of me with my first as a baby (probably something to do with how low I was feeling). This one is a rare one of me when they were both little. x