At long last Spring is here and the world seems a bit more positive, the days are getting longer and the garden’s starting to come to life.
It’s the time of year when you start to feel more optimistic, when just about anything seems possible. You can see the year ahead and it looks pretty good.
And then there’s Mother’s Day.
Let’s be honest, when you’re not a mother, Mother’s Day is crap. It’s the second hardest day of the year after Christmas, so there’s no wonder you feel like hiding somewhere until it’s all over.
With every passing year it seems to get more and more commercial and harder to avoid.
Imagine being on a river, there’s a beautiful stretch of calm water and amazing scenery ahead, and barring the way is a massive rapid. You can’t go round it because the banks are too steep, so the only way is through.
You have two choices.
You could go on your own with just your life jacket for company but then you might fall out or get stuck going round and round in an eddy.
Or you could pick an experienced guide who knows where the danger lies. You might get a bit wet, but if you hang on tight and follow their instructions, you’ll make it through safely.
I used to hate Mother’s Day, I used to feel isolated and alone and all I noticed was what I didn’t have. But now I don’t mind it so much. Over the years I’ve developed a few strategies that work.
So can I guide you?
Here are my two favourite ways to ease your passage through.
In the last blog I wrote about gratitude, how having a gratitude practice builds a reservoir of strength to help you though challenging times and I explained a couple of ways of integrating this into your day.
If you’ve been doing that you’ll be starting to feel the difference. You’ll be noticing that things or situations that used to affect you, no longer do so.
It’s like filling a reservoir; the more you practise, the fuller your reservoir will be. And, unlike normal reservoirs, it can never be too full.
So imagine how much better you’ll feel if you continue until Mother’s Day.
I get it, gratitude is good, and how can I use this in challenging situations?
When you get blindsided by something or someone, your brain paralyses you by going into fight or flight mode. The quickest way to get back on track is to tap into that reservoir by repeating ‘I’m so grateful, I’m so grateful’ in your head or quietly to yourself. You will soon regain your equilibrium.
If you know you’re going somewhere challenging, take your gratitude stone with you. You’ve channelled so many good things into it and when you hold it in your hand you’ll automatically feel positive and grateful.
You can also add to its power. If you know ahead of time that you’ll be feeling positive, take it with you and hold it when you feel great. Singing in my choir always makes me feel uplifted and grateful and I often hold my stone in my hand when I’m singing.
And if you don’t have it when you need it, that’s Ok, your hand will remember the feeling of it, so imagine it instead.
2. Be kind to yourself.
There are two ways to deal with challenges, meet head on or avoid.
I’m up for a challenge, and I wouldn’t be writing this now if I wasn’t. And I know where to draw the line. Some days I’m happy going out where there are children and families, and Mother’s Day isn’t
one of them.
It’s a day be kind to yourself.
It’s a day to do what nurtures and not what’s painful.
I give you permission to think of yourself first because it’s the best thing for you.
I give you permission to avoid everywhere there will be families, to avoid every place of worship, every pub and restaurant and definitely not to walk round the park after lunch.
I give you permission to do whatever is best for you on the day.
You have my permission to nurture yourself and avoid every situation and person that hurts. If that means staying in your pyjamas watching ‘chick flicks’ whilst eating popcorn that’s absolutely fine. If that means putting your walking boots on and getting out into the country, that’s also fine.
In the past we’ve had a lovely quiet walk in the country, a picnic lunch then a meal when we got home, other years we’ve stayed at home and done something special. This year we’re visiting friends for lunch and to plan a city break with them.
I’m thinking of making it a kindness to me weekend. I’m not sure exactly how, but what I do know is that I’ll be focusing on and grateful for what I have in my life, particularly my husband and good friends.
But I’ve already made plans?
Maybe you’ve have and guess what, they can be changed.
It might take a bit of inner strength, but you can do it.
And remember, Mother’s Day will pass.
If you follow these two simple techniques; if you fill up your gratitude reservoir and you’re kind to yourself your passage through the rapid of Mother’s Day will be smooth and it will soon be the day after.
Ahead of you will be the calm and beautiful waters you imagined and the stress will be behind you.
And you can also be cheered by knowing that the hardest part of the year has passed.
What do you think?
Please share below any tips or things you do that help you to get through Mother’s Day.