When I woke up this morning the sad that has been lurking for the last month or so made an appearance. The old me, pre children, pre self employment, would have called in sick, pulled the duvet over my head and wallowed for a day, or a few days until guilt took over and I got going again.
Nowadays I can’t do that. I have big girl to get to school, little boy to look after and other people who rely on me to look after their children. So what did I do?
Well after hanging in bed with big girl for a while I eventually managed to get up and get dressed. (Side note… Since clearing out my wardrobe and doing some kondo-esque folding, getting dressed is much easier as I can see everything). Sometimes getting started is the hardest bit but once I do everything else is a little bit easier. We have quite a good morning routine which really helps when I’m struggling to think. Things become quite automatic. And by routine I mean things like the kids eat breakfast in front of cbeebies so that I have a few minutes to do bag/snack/drink etc. And I dump all the getting out the house stuff on the floor by the front door so that there are no distractions when we are getting out the door.
Walking to school helps. Even in the cold January rain it drags my mood up a notch. It’s not far but slow four year olds usually means being outside for about 40 minutes. Which, twice a day, definitely removes the pressure to get out of the house the rest of the day. So today I gave myself a break and allowed us to stay home. We watched some TV, did some playing and my mum came to visit. I wasn’t able to tell her about the sad but I did say I wasn’t feeling too well. Which is also true (earache sucks!). I think she knew and she helped by being around. She played with the kids, helped me with the washing up and told me that I was doing a good job. She reassured me that what the children need from me is a loving, gentle, safe environment to be in. And that not being 100% on it is OK.
After school I let mum and the other half help, in fact I actually asked (not my usual style). It meant I could cook a decent dinner. We have a fridge full of good food and a meal plan so I didn’t have to think. I ate at 5 with the kids… I knew if I left it until later I would probably have cereal for dinner.
We gave the kids a long bath and early night which they needed. But with the added bonus of being able to crash on the sofa with grey’s anatomy and herbal tea (not wine).
Then I made a choice… I’m writing this instead of scrolling through Instagram doing unhelpful thinking. And at 9pm I’m going to shower, do some stretches and have an early night with a good book.
So today, which could have been a complete write off, was actually OK. I did everything I needed to do and everyone survived.
So, when the next sad day comes, what do I need to do? Be prepared, meal plans and having food in the fridge means decent meals. Get outside, it helps. Remove the need to think too much, have a plan. Be kind to myself, allow myself to be less than perfect. Make good choices, choose to prioritise self care.
Hopefully tomorrow will be better. But if the sad is still here I will do the same as today. And again and again until it lifts. It will. It always does.
I’d love to hear how you manage your sad.