What to Do When It All Breaks Down
Oh, the pressure you put on yourself to make everything perfect—to keep all those balls in the air, to remember all the things, to be everything to all people—all while looking like you never break a sweat.
Sometimes, though, balls get dropped, stuff gets dirty, people get sick, plans go awry, and it feels like you (obviously) must have failed adulthood, because look at this mess. In defeat, you take out your phone just to check on how ridiculously perfect everyone else’s life is—to put that final nail in the coffin of your self-confidence.
Ever been there? When it all breaks down and you just want to curl up in a corner with some chocolate, here are some gentle, simple things you can do to get yourself back to your happy place.
Eat the Chocolate
I mean, come on. Haven’t you heard it contains antioxidants? If you want to feel really good about it, make it organic dark chocolate. But if the Hershey bar wedged between two cereal boxes at the back of the cupboard from last Halloween is the best you’ve got, enjoy it!
Chocolate breaks can work wonders, even amidst all the mess. And as you sit there, probably in a good hiding spot (like the bathroom) so that nobody asks you for a piece of your chocolate, know that life can’t be all that terrible if you’ve still got chocolate.
Edit the Tape
You know that tape that runs over and over in your head? The one telling you how you’ve messed everything up, or how you’re not good enough, or disciplined enough, or thin enough, or whatever enough?
That tape needs an editor. It is not serving you whatsoever and it’s also a giant liar.
Consciously replace those lines with kind self talk. Imagine how you’d speak to a loved one in your shoes. You might say, “Hey, it’s okay. Messes happen. We will totally clean this up. It looks a bit chaotic right now, but let’s just do the best we can. Maybe we can ask for help. We’ve totally got this. You’re awesome. Want another piece of chocolate?”
Or, you know, whatever works for you. The point is to stop that auto-repeat of negativity swirling around up there.
As you start to regain control of the situation, it’s tempting to rush around in an attempt to check items off your list quickly. When you’re overwhelmed, though, slow and steady wins the race.
Be gentle with yourself and celebrate each tiny step toward progress.
Outer chaos leads to inner chaos. If there is an ambiguous pile of papers on your counter or a disheveled pile of laundry or toys strewn about the living room, begin to, one by one, put those items in their proper place. Finish one entire pile before moving on to something else.
The stress of clutter can be surprisingly affecting. On the flip side, the relief of clearing a space can be glorious.
As you begin to hack your way through the weeds, things should start looking up. You can see that you have the power to uncover the hidden flowers.
This is a great time to further uplift yourself by recognizing all that you have to be grateful for. We tend to lose sight of just how awesome things are when chaos appears.
Play With Your Kids
More than wanting an uber-together parent, a pristinely clean house, or perfectly crafted meals, your kids want your time and attention. Put away your phone, set aside the mess, and play, knowing your priorities are right where they should be.
When the day is done, get yourself to bed on time. Know that tomorrow is another day and that you are one awesome human.