ON FEELING HAPPY WHEN IT'S HARD: IDEAS FOR BEATING THE BLUES + CREATING A BIT O' JOY!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017
My Emmy is 6 weeks old, and that means we are turning our first corner!! If you can make it to 6 weeks with a newborn, you can make it to 12 weeks, and after 12 weeks -- girl, you're hommmme free. ๐Ÿ™Œ

That also means we've had some seriously horrendous-hilarious experiences around here. Every day I swim through a sea of breast milk, spit up, poo and pee, and every night I swim back through it again. Nothing annihilates normalcy in your life like adjusting to your new life with a new baby. Nothing leaves you feeling so incompetent and soo not confident. But I tell you - after going through this for the third time - nothing like family life gives you a better chance to take raw, inherently rough matter and make it awesome.

I.E.: these photos below. I hoped I could get a few cute ones with the girls last week - I wanted to write a post about this whole mothering three thing. I wanted to do something normal and creative. But LOOK AT THESE. I mean, Emmy... ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ 

I was almost defeated by them, duh. I was finally doing a "me" something - taking pictures, loving on my babies - and I was certain we had captured at least one good shot. But nope! Luckily they made me laugh - SO HARD - and I can't help but love them for doing so. ๐Ÿ’›

I punched out a special lil list on my phone a few weeks ago (while midnight nursing, of course) of things I knew I could do when I started to feel depressed by all of the "hard," since you and I both know that depression is literally what we come to on this transition road. LAUGHING is on the list, which is why instead of being discouraged by those photos, I became empowered by them. THEY ARE REAL. And they are funny. 

Here's the list below, and whether you've got a baby on your hip or not, I know it can help you, too. Heaven knows we're all in the work of choosing happiness and staying in "the happy" together. The list is exactly as I wrote it out on my phone - off the cuff - and in no particular order. Nothing about it is fancy, but after a few weeks with my new, rocking-roller-coaster life, I tell you what - everything about it is effective.

WAYS TO BE HAPPY WHEN IT'S HARD ✊

Tell someone "thank you" 
Gratitude makes you happy.

Tell someone "I'm sorry"
Getting rid of remorse makes you happy.

Laugh at something
Like the string of our photos above. Or a good YouTube video (GWG parodies are go-to). Laughing makes you happy.

Take a power nap
Just 20 minutes. That's all you need. Sleep makes your brain so happy!!!

Read about someone whose life is worse than yours
My fave examples are in the Book of Mormon. Especially since you don't just ready about their sad experience - you get to see how their story ends. Like Nephi and his amazingly hard, amazingly inspiring life stories (Neph is my fave). 

Clean something
Making your bed is enough. Starting and finishing something in a day makes you happy. 

Compliment someone
Being nice makes you happy!

Extend mercy to someone
Giving someone a second chance, especially when justice demands otherwise, makes you happy. 

Extend mercy to yourself
See above. Flip that Golden Rule! Give yourself grace and a good, good second chance (or three or four). 

Take a shower + put on mascara
A clean body and bright eyes, at least, makes you happy. Looking and feeling like yourself is happy.

Roll with the flops and imperfections
Laughing is the key to making this one happen. Again - my photos above. I seriously wanted good, cute photos with my babies to feel a little cheer. Instead I got those. And you know what? They made me laugh, so I like them better. ๐Ÿ™Œ

Go outside and breathe
Nature makes you happy. Something about that inhale and exhale makes you calm, and "calm" is happy.

Talk out your sad feelings
Bottling up the emotions - all of them - all the good, the bad, positive, embarrassingly negative (like how you don't like your mothering job right now. at all.) - is not happy. Talk them out, write them out. Doesn't matter how you let them go, just let them go. 

Pray and ask to be happy
No shame here. Flat-out ask for happiness. Just like a child asks for food, the soul hungers to be happy (Heavenly Father made it so!), and we can ask to be filled. He can perfectly satisfy. Connect with God and ask. 

Do something you're good at
And tell yourself you're good at it! Gold stars make you happy. 

Move your body 
Endorphins make you happy! ๐Ÿ’ƒ

Serve in a way that's hard for you
Being as selfless as you possibly can makes you happy (IE, I'm cutting Ryan's hair this week). It's an uncomfortable happy at first, but one of the most genuine by the end. 

Chat with a friend
Friends are a literal breath of fresh air. Friends make you happy.

Verbalize what's going right 
Literally list the good aloud. Optimism, especially expressed, makes you happy.

Repeat:"It's a phase, it's a phase, it's a phase!"
Channel the endurance! Focus on the finish line, not the mile you're currently running. Endurance makes you strong and feeling strong makes you happy. 

Eat a huge salad
Real, good food makes your body and mind happy. A fave salad dressing recipe is here!

Eat a huge cookie
Real sweet food makes your tongue happy. A fave cookie recipe is here!

When there isn't a single item on this list has looked or felt appealing, I know I just need sleep. A chunk of solid sleep, like an hour (all you need is another hour somewhere)! I also know that I need to smile. I am officially the neighborhood crazy lady: so often I've just had to stop, look up, and smile because that's what I could do to squeeze out some joy. But "by small and simple things,"  my friends - the smallest efforts we take make the biggest differences. 

I'm cheering for you in your hopes to feel happy. Be grateful for what you can be grateful for. Laugh, talk, smile, eat a salad, move your body. Just keep trying, just keep smiling. YOU WILL MAKE IT. Storms leave, the blues pass. After all the swimming through the muck and mire and seeing that all of the struggle really can become awesome, with more confidence than I ever I'm standing to tell you YOU WILL MAKE IT!

All the breastmilk, spit up, poop and pee -- we're making it through this sea. 

๐ŸŒž๐ŸŒž๐ŸŒž

All my love. XO
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7 comments:

  1. Okay THIS is my new favorite post. Very timely. Very Jeni. Love it so so so so so much.

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    1. Just do me a favor and let me know your new-found happy tips when Baby Sister comes. Please, you sage!! Love you SO. <3

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  2. love this so much jen!!!! and that last photo.... to DIE for. SO precious. xoxo

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    1. A compliment about a photo from you is a high compliment indeed. <3 Thank you, sweet girl. XOXO!

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  3. yes, yes, yes...and those photos are amazing. We all need to remember these simple truths! And yes, those first few months are just plain ol' rough. hang in there!! Heaven is cheering you on and so are we! :)

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    1. And you're a saint for your cheers. Thank you, April. I'm so grateful for you!! XO

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  4. Stumbled across this post via Instagram and it was heaven-sent. My sixth baby is 12 weeks old. My husband and I each have a sibling (and their children) living with us due to hardships in their marriages (which brings the total number of people in our home up to 14, if you're counting). I have a high schooler strolling into the world of dating, homeschool my next three children, and have a 4 year old who had his position in the family rocked by a new baby. Whew. It's been a crazy three months and I think I've been holding it together ok, but just felt sorry for myself today. This post was exactly the boost and reminder I needed. Thank you. When people rant about social media, I think of moments and connections like this. ❤

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