Stress, anxiety, strain and negativity can create irreversible health issues in our bodies if we don’t learn to manage them.
Attempting to function in a constant state of tension and allowing anxiety to dominate our lives can result in a multitude of issues such as: insomnia, depression, high blood pressure and weight gain, just to name a few.
When life gets stressful, we can choose how to handle it. I’m a person that can dwell on a situation and let it swarm me with negativity, if I let it. Shifting my perspective so I can see the positive in a less-than-ideal situation has allowed me to become much more content in life. A simple shift in how I perceive stress has made life for myself and those around me more enjoyable. I’m sleeping easier, I’m laughing more and I’m just all around more pleasant.
Many times in my life, I had to make a conscious effort to remove myself from a stressful situation and re-evaluate. I’ve learned to enjoy life and bask in the beauty of it, even when it seems impossible to see past the stress.
We’ve been trying to relocate to a new city.
Since baby was three weeks old, she and I have been a transient lifestyle now for four months. We have been staying with family in cities all over our province. A new bed every five or six days has added a unique angle to being a new mom. We have been living out of a suitcase and spending many hours traveling in our vehicle together.
Our house is currently listed for sale, so if we are ever home, we have to keep it spotless.
Throughout all of this chaos, I have still managed to enjoy my sweet and growing baby by remaining mindful and being present.
Seeing the positive side of a not-so-ideal situation has allowed me to thoroughly soak in my newborn baby and all her developing moments. Here’s how I try to see the situation:
- Instead of feeling like we are intruding in our relative’s homes, I thank them for hosting us. We are getting to bond with family that we normally only see once every few months.
- The grandparents are getting much desired snuggles and not just fly-by weekend visits.
- We are learning to be super adaptable and most importantly, we are gaining a lot of independence. I’m a forgetful person at the best of times, but having to travel on my own with a newborn has really taught me how to keep things together. It only takes one poopy diaper to make sure I never forget baby wipes ever ever again!
- My baby girl is developing a love for her car seat and that will ease a lot of stress for mommy and daddy in her upcoming years.
- Baby is learning to calm herself on the road, and I’m sure she is learning to tune out my horrible singing voice in attempts to soothe her. I’m learning how to hit the high notes and laugh at myself while doing so!
- I’m learning new ways to keep a house clean, which is very difficult with a newborn. We get to live in a neat and tidy environment. This is great for those pop-in visitors. I appear to have my shit together!
- I look at our uprooted lifestyle as an adventure. Instead of letting motherhood stifle the backpacker in me, we are getting to discover the world right out or doorstep instead of crossing the big pond to explore new cultures.
I’m not always positive and smiling. Some days I break down, other days I cry myself to sleep, sometimes I just yell a grunt to relieve some of the anxiety. Reaching each of the above positive outlooks has not always been easy.
Here are some more ways I stay present:
Finding the humour in almost any situation is a major factor in allowing me to remain mindful in this stressful life situation we are in. If baby just won’t settle down, we dance. Then we laugh. We video these dances and make others laugh when they watch it. Baby loves her change table and her baths. She smiles and wiggles and giggles and everything ends up looking brighter. We frequent these spots whenever we both need some smiles.
In almost every single frustrated situation, before things get out of hand, I find myself taking a deep breath. This is the moment when everything starts to take at turn for the better. It’s really hard to remember to breathe when life becomes so dire that survival seems impossible. Practice finding those triggers that allow us to snap out of our situation and take a breath. Mine usually happens once I make an exasperated yell grunt, I know it’s time to breathe.
I like to analyze why I had that outburst or sad/frustrated moment. Then I let myself acknowledge that it’s okay to have moments like that. This is important so that I don’t waft through life suppressing the negativity and trying to make everything a positive situation. If I didn’t let these exasperated moments come out gradually, they would eventually burst their way out in an explosive manner.
My most recent affirmation is “this won’t last forever.”
During one six hour road trip—that was supposed to only take 3.5 hours—of baby crying, music blaring, I had stopped six times on the side of the road. After pulling out all the soothing measures (sing, loud music, feed, change, walk, sway, cuddle) nothing was stopping her screams.
The moment that I took an over exaggerated breath and said out loud “this won’t last forever” baby fell asleep. My energy must have shifted while internally telling myself that she definitely cannot cry forever, this trip no matter how long it takes will have an end, and she’s not suffering or injuring herself. This was the most important lesson I’ve learned yet in this role of mommy. I regularly repeat “this won’t last forever” during her fussy times that seem to have no end.
I’m able to count so many blessings while daydreaming. We spend a lot of time on the road and a lot of time rocking her in the nursery, so there’s plenty of time for me to conjure up blessings and bask in her sweetness. A conscious moment of inspecting her changing face or making silly face and watching her giggle, brings me so much gratitude and peace.
This nomadic life has a lot of benefits to it and seeing those really helps the stress of not having roots set down.
Being able to shift my perspective and see the beauty in our chaotic life around us has been a serious relief. As I acknowledge the sad, stressful and exhausting days, I know I am human.
I realize that these moments will not last forever and this helps me through those moments.
A simple shift in perspective is pivotal in my situation. Without this shift, I would be a ball of anxiety. I wouldn’t be able to enjoy my daughter’s ever-changing development and personality. I would easily be caught up in the stress of nomadic living and I would be dwelling on how to change our situation.
Luckily, I’ve learned to cope and my coping strategy is a simple shift in perspective.
Author: Jaimee Guenther
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Pedro Klien/Flickr