Trying to balance life in this Sandwich Generation isn’t easy, is it? I thrive to find better ways to manage my time better, be more productive but most of all, I’m always looking for ways to stay positive. I know when I’m in a more sustainable positive mindset, I manage my days better and I’m much more patient with my family.
1. Morning Prayer Time
For me, nothing sets the tone for my day like morning prayer time. I set my alarm to get up at 6:00 am every morning. My kids and husband don’t get up until 6:45 so I get 45 minutes of quiet time ALL TO MYSELF! I use to hate the quiet, because of all the negative thoughts in my head. But I’ve learned to love the quite, to here found that this was the best time to spend in prayer or meditation. I do both.
“Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”1 THESSOLONIANS 5:16-18
One of my favorite bible verses is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. I found this bible verse when I was at the lowest point in my relationship with my daughter. I searched for all kinds of prayers to help me figure out what I needed to do because I was feeling pretty hopeless. This verse was so simple and on point for me. I said my prayers, but I didn’t pray continually. So, I decided to make it part of my daily routine.
Be joyful always, check. Pray continually, check. But give thanks in all circumstances? I had to work on that one. This meant being thankful for all the good AND bad in my life. That was eye-opening. I looked at things so differently after I contemplated what that meant for me, but it was exactly what I needed in order to turn things around with my daughter.
Have you tried it? I mean, being thankful for something crappy in your life? It was a little uncomfortable at first, but it started giving me a whole new perspective on things. The one thing my daughter and I fought about the most is her being on her computer too much and not getting to her homework, failing most, if not all of her classes. A mother’s dream.
In my early morning prayer time, I actually found myself thanking God for my daughter WAS ON HER COMPUTER and HOME SAFE, instead of being out with the wrong kind of friends making all the wrong decisions. I suddenly became so grateful for something that drove me mad and shifting my mindset was the hardest, yet the most rewarding thing ever.
Now, my daughter and I have the most amazing relationship and although she still struggles with academics (which is part of her SID), she has such a positive attitude and tries harder than she ever has. She has A LOT less stress than she used to and I’m just so happy to see a happy, teenage girl.
When you find yourself being thankful for all the bad that is happening in your life, you are putting your trust in God. Why stress on things that we cannot control? I encourage you to find a scripture that resonates with you and use it in your daily prayers or you can hop over to one of my favorite blogs Footprints of Inspiration.
2. Morning Meditation Time
I was an angry mom…you can read all about it here but the one thing that helped me shift my anger was this book and waking up early to meditate as I do for prayer time. I never thought I was one to meditate as if someone like me needed. Hah! But oh how I needed it. Practicing meditation is a game changer! Along with prayer, I really found a way to deal with the demons in my head. I felt stupid at first, but once I opened myself up, I was able to work on myself inside out.
This app, Insight Timer is one of the best apps ever! I can find just about any emotion I’m dealing with, good or bad. Sometimes I need to work on letting go, sometimes I just need affirmation, and other times I just need to tame the crazy. It has so many topics to pick from. I KNOW you will find a topic that relates to you in some way. Some are paid courses, but many are free. Hey, I’m Chinese, and we love FREE! However, I have no doubt those paid courses are even more amazing.
Do yourself a HUGE favor and download the app and try the free guided meditations. Pick a quiet time, every day, evening or night, whatever works best for you. Stick to it for at least 10 days straight. What have you got to lose?
Tips for beginners:
- find a quiet place to sit or lie down
- focus your mind on your breathing (most guided meditations will assist you in breathing)
- don’t be so hard on yourself, it’s awkward if it’s your first time
- your mind WILL wander, it’s ok, we ALL do it
- redirect your focus back to your breathing when you noticed that your mind has wandered
- thank yourself for showing up each day
Don’t give up after a few tries. Many meditations don’t jive with me and I’ve been meditating for years! Sometimes its the voice, the background music and sometimes it is just the content I’m not connecting with. I’ll go through one or two before I start really meditating. One of my favorites is David Ji. Just try him and you will know why. For me, he has the perfect balance of voice, music, and content. Amazing content! You may also want to try a beginner’s meditation or even a “hot to” meditation if you’re just starting out. No one is judging. That’s the beauty of meditating.
Do a 10-day challenge, once you find a mediation you really like and see how you feel after the 10 days. I had to work hard on letting go…of my anger, regret, shame. And in letting go, I let God back into my life. I let myself see the good in my life instead of always harping on the bad. I felt stronger inside out. I started reacting more positively to things, even when things didn’t go y way.
4. Gratitude Journal
Another great tool to keep me in check! This is a must-have and a must-do. My stepdaughter bought me one for Christmas a year ago and I just love it. It’s my 2nd favorite part of my morning routine with a cup of coffee in bed. It’s such a great way to start your day.
The Five-Minute Journal is my personal favorite. When you make an effort to write down the things you are grateful for each day, they really start to stick. You start your day in gratitude, think of things that will make your day great and then end your day with reflecting on what could have been better and let’s face it, there are always things we could do to make our day better.
If you don’t want to invest in a pre-printed journal, any blank notebook will do. You can make a list of things or just write your heart out about the things you are grateful for. There is no right or wrong way to do this and if you find yourself repeating the same things, perfectly fine. I was thankful for every day my daughter got out of bed and made it to school. Some times the things we are thankful for every day are the ones we take for granted the most.
Nothing is too small or too big to be grateful for. You don’t have to have this profound list of things in your life. It’s that simple.
Setting good intentions
Aside from a gratitude journal, you can just start a blank canvas and set a bunch of intentions for the day. It’s almost like a mini-goal setting each day and the goal is to have a positive outlook on your life. Fill your mind with good thoughts and drown out the bad ones! Not saying to run away and not face some of the things we hate to face, all I’m saying is to face the things with a more powerful sense of you!
I felt weird and awkward at first to set intentions. Almost silly. It’s like seeing someone repeat positive affirmations on tv and thinking, “do people really need to do that?” Yes, I was once that skeptic, but now I’ve definitely changed my tune on that. And, yes, yes, I do say them out loud when I’m alone at home once my family has gone for the day, so they don’t look at me like “are you ok, mom?”
5. Change Your Narrative
For every negative thought, you have in your head, change it, and rewrite the script in your head. Here are my demons:
|NEGATIVE CORE BELIEFE||NEW SCRIPT TO REPEAT IN MY HEAD|
|I’m too old to start over||I’m fabulous at 50!|
|Everything has to be perfect||Perfection doesn’t exist|
|Nothing ever goes my way||Things don’t work out for a reason|
|I’m not good enough||I have a lot to offer|
|I’m not talented enough||Design is subjective and we don’t have to agree|
|I never have enough time||I love time blocking and being more productive!|
|I’m so stupid||We all make mistakes|
|I’m too sensitive||It’s an asset, not a handicap|
|I always feel judged||I can’t control what other people think of me|
|What if I fail?||I have failed and I have survived time and time again|
It all seems so goofy at first, but I can attest to the impact it has had on me. Like anything else in life, ya gotta do the work to see the transformation. What will you do to make a positive change in your life? I challenge you to start one of these new habits. See where it takes you. I guarantee when you invest in yourself, you will see the results you desire. Order that journal, download that app, make that list! COME ON! What have you got o to lose?