03 April 2013

Trying to Beat the Slump

This garden is helping me fight off the slump.
I went through a slump about a week or so ago. Things are starting to get better, but I still feel it lingering a bit. From talking to other moms, I've found I'm not the only one who goes through times like these.

With the daily routine of taking care of Miranda, I find that I'm starting to feel a little lost. I have pretty much been doing the same things every dayso much so, that a trip to the grocery store is a major event to me because it breaks up the same old routine.

I'm trying not to look at these feelings of monotony as negative; rather, I'm trying to look at them as a journey to finding my niche (a really BORING journey).

I was talking to one of my friends (who has an awesome blog, by the way) yesterday about my slump of boring-ness, and she told me that setting goals was a game-changer for her. So, I'm going to give it a try.

 I'm actually a very goal-oriented person, always have been. However, I think my goals need some adjusting since my list of things to do every day consist of sweeping the floors, washing the dishes, and making dinner. These aren't bad things (and I'm still going to do them), but I need to add something more mentally stimulating to my daily goals.

So, now is the time where I get advice from YOU. I have a few questions:

1. Have you gone through a slump before? If so, how did you get out of it?
2. What hobbies do you have (outside of what you usually do)?
3. How do you keep up those hobbies?

Your comments would be MUCH appreciated.

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  1. I've personally gone through a big slump after each of my kids was born--life with a newborn is the opposite of exciting and it doesn't leave me time for anything else. Two things that help me are exercising and reading.

    I love to run (and doing races is a great goal), plus I have great friends who love to run too, so it is a fun thing we can do together. I wake up before the kids to exercise so that I know I'll be able to do it daily without the worry of being interrupted or having something else come up (not much else is going on at that time of day!)

    I also miss the intellectual stimulation of being in school (I finished with my MSW way back in 2005), so I'm always reading a book (I loved getting suggestions from friends on Goodreads) to help me feel like I'm still learning. Since we're on a budget, I love having access to the Wake County library system--log on, request books, get an email telling me they're ready for me, and have my husband pick them up on his way home from work!

    I'm looking forward to seeing what other people have to say as well! :)

    1. Thanks so much for your advice, Erin! I bet my lack of exercise has a lot to do with this. I just need to do it. I think I use Miranda as an excuse to not exercise sometimes. That is a great idea to get up before your kids do to exercise. I have started up on my daily walks around the block with Miranda, so I guess that is better than what I was doing a week ago (which was nothing, ha!).

      I didn't know you had your MSW! That is so cool!

    2. Oh yeah, the newborn time is rough. And, that is SO awesome that you get up before the kids to exercise! I am trying to get my lazy bod out of bed so I can shower before my babe wakes up...I hate that getting ready eats up "my time" during his first nap.

  2. First of all, I LOVE this honest post. I TOTALLY relate.

    1. Do I ever go through the slump? Yep, indeed. Usually once a month (more often during the winter), I would go through "the slump". I am used to being a high energy person and doing a lot, not just work, but going and seeing people and doing fun things. But suddenly with a baby, life became a lot more isolated and...same, same, same...every day. This brought out the natural A.D.D. tendencies in me BIG TIME. Often, I felt plumb stir-crazy! Other days I felt discouraged and un-important. Like your friend, I too, turned to goals, and it has made a world of difference!
    I have a list of goals I set with my husband for the year and a list of goals for myself to accomplish before I have baby #2...cause who knows what I will have time for then! Ha! Since I started putting some of these goals into action, I feel like all my free-time (whenever Hayden is sleeping) is productive! Like you said, I still have my regular goals: feed and take care of Hayden, pickup the house, do the dishes, play and read books with Hayden, and take him outside. But, accomplishing one of my other goals feels so different from this daily stuff--I'm achieving things that won't have to be re-done again and again (like dishes, picking up, and changing a diaper will! :)

    2. What goals/hobbies do I do? I began teaching art lessons to kids in my ward to earn a little extra money (I have an art ed. degree). Like you, I started a blog, (super good way to express myself and be creative, hear other people's stories, and be social!); I'm sorting and putting all my photos into plastic photo sleeves (I don't enjoy this, but every year I finish makes me so stinkin excited!); I decorate my home. Excercize. That one is HUGE...especially if I can go outside to work out! Getting out with my son is good for both of us, and the physical workout improves my mood and often is a big help in warding off the slump. (endorphins and all that good stuff) Afterwards, I feel more energetic and happy to do everything else! Plus Hayden likes to sit in the stroller as I walk/jog and we look at trees and see barking dogs, and go to D.I....it's pretty dang exciting! :)

    3. How do I fit these hobbies in? In SMALL increments, mostly during nap-times. 10 minutes here, 45 minutes there, every day. And I cut out things that I don't want taking me time. I never watch t.v. I'm not saying every one needs to do that, some love it to relax and unwind, but I don't like how much time slides by when I watch tv, so I don't. I'll watch a movie with my husband in the evening--I love that--but no tv during the day for me. If I just need a non-productive break, I read other ladies blogs or read a book.

    I think that being a mom--after the first couple months--isn't difficult, necessarily, (Well, some moments are REALLY hard, but in general, it's not super hard)...the problem for me is the monotonous, often isolated nature of our daily tasks. My goals help me. My next goal: setting up play dates, and being more social with other moms in my area!

    Sorry this was so long.

  3. I should have been more specific when I told you about my goals last night. So let me explain the two different types of goals I make:

    1) Serious and realistic goals (i.e. writing 2500+ words a week in my book, getting my to-do list checked off, practice reading with Lily, learning new skills, etc)

    2) Completely ridiculous goals. I actually heard this idea from another mom, was a bit weirded out by it at first, but then gave it a test run. I love it. Dumb goals for me are something like "Waste an entire day with the kids by making cookies and painting pictures and playing hide and seek." Or, "Buy a plant and actually figure out how to keep it alive" (our orchid has been going strong since Halloween). Or, "Wear high heels to church through your entire pregnancy." They're basically pointless, but they're fun in the process.

    Like you said, motherhood is a whole bunch of monotony, so I try to make everyday tasks a little more exciting. I try a bunch of new recipes every month for dinner (our favorites are typically foreign dishes) and get the recipes from pinterest. I turn clean up time into a game to see who can clean up the living room the fastest or who can shoot the most trash into the garbage can like a basketball. Or I'll try to learn how to do a new hairstyle. Some of these specific things can't happen while Miranda's this young, but you can still figure out ways to make life at home a little more creative and fun than the regular routine.

    Besides all that, Ben and I both think it's important to have time together but also to have alone time with friends. I like to attend girls' nights out, and Ben goes to play basketball at the church every other Saturday morning with other guys in the ward.

    I've also done things like take cake decorating classes at craft stores (I'm horrible at it). But I've learned that I like tutorials from books or the internet much more so I can go at my own pace.

    All in all, make sure that in all your goal making, you're also making time for YOU. Every mom gets stuck in a slump sometimes, but for me it got easier to deal with the longer I was a mom. Figure out your temporary escape (mine are really REALLY long showers) and use it when the need comes.

  4. I am currently battling a major slump as I'm trying to fight my way through the stress and drama associated with grad school - a lack of motivation caused by isolation from my family and boyfriend (my family is still in Bakersfield and my boyfriend of two years is currently interning in WA), living alone, not really having any friends outside of school, and financial issues. I am alone day after day cooped up in the house/library reading and writing, and trips to the grocery store feel like grand adventures.

    The two things that have helped me cope: exercise and my dog. I've always been serious about exercising, and I really feel that getting out in the sunshine and doing something physical (even if it's just a short walk or run) makes a world of difference. I also attend group fitness classes at our local community recreation center. It's cheap, they have a great variety of classes, and you meet lots of new people. I go there at least 3 or 4 times a week, and it really helps break up the monotony and gives me a reason to get out of the apartment.

    Quincy, my boyfriend's sweet senior collie mix, has been living with me since September since he's been in and out of school interning and working for his PhD. Having a dog to take care of has helped me feel like I am needed and loved. I don't know what I'd do without her.

    One thing I never really enjoyed/appreciated before I started grad school was getting a good hair cut. Like at a salon, not Supercuts! I pay $30 every 8 weeks or so to get a decent hair cut and style, as well as my eyebrows waxed. Yes, it can be categorized as an "unnecessary expense," but you know what, you feel so good after! So I would definitely recommend a good hair cut (or pedicure, manicure, whatever your fancy!) as a way to help you get out of that "slump!"

    As far as other "hobbies" go right now, I have found that I really enjoy (and am really good at!) couponing, earning money from online surveys, and deal/freebie hunting. It may seem silly and trivial, but it has helped me feel like I CAN have a life outside of school - all the money I save can go toward "fun" things and little treats (like Starbucks) for myself. But this is a whole other post! I can pass along some great tips if you'd like them :)

    1. Thank you so much, Candice! Such great advice! I've been toying with the idea of going to a salon to get a nice haircut ever since we moved here, but always talk myself out of it for some reason. It is funny you brought this up because I was just thinking about it today. Sometimes a girl just needs a nice haircut to feel good! I think I'm just going to do it! ...And the dreaded exercise. I don't know why I have such a hard time with this one because I always feel awesome after I do it. I started going on walks with my little girl, and the sunshine does a lot for me. I guess this is a start!

  5. I've done a lot of the things suggested over the year. Setting goals is a big one that helped me, too, whether they were daily, weekly, or longer ones. I felt like the short-term ones helped me focus better and seemed more manageable. They also helped me on a more day to day basis.

    One thing that helped me was having a few hours to myself. I would choose one night a week and take an hour or a few and do something for myself. Sometimes I'd go eat somewhere, often I'd go to the park and read a book. I came home feeling happy and refreshed and more excited about being a wife and mom. But I needed a little time away to recharge. After a while, I settled in and didn't need the time that often, only just every now and again.

  6. The first 12 months of my daughter's life were one slump after another for me as I tried to keep up with all the changes that a newborn brings. Then when she hit two I hit another slump and almost moved house just to bring some excitement into my life. Routine is the life saver of a new mum, but you are right, it gets boring. I love my crafts, so if things are getting too much for me I pull out one of my projects and spend a few hours doing something for me.

    1. I'm starting to get into crafting. I just need to set some goals for things I want to make. For my birthday two years ago, my family all pitched in and bought me a sewing machine. That machine has seriously saved my sanity many times. Thank you so much for your comment!

  7. We all get in a Funk once and a while. Bag the goal, it's words on paper. Go for a challenge, a commitment that you are willing to do.

    Excersize, learn to master the stick shift, don't just run, do a 1/2 marathon.

    You need to find a mountain and climb it.


What are your thoughts, my friends?

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