As always, I am learning from Michael. I am learning how important it is to stretch myself as a parent, as a woman, as a person. When I forget that lesson, life teachers it to me by the people who come into it, friends and others, by my health, mental, physical and spiritual, and by my writing or rather what I am writing. I now take the lesson as I never did before asking, “what can I learn from this? What is this positive, negative experience teaching me? Yes, both positive and negative experiences teach us. I am helping Michael understand this, as I have just learned this myself.
How can you stretch yourself and grow though? These are questions I ask myself everyday, and sometimes the answer is a little different. Usually though there are the same bunch of ways that keep coming up. I am sharing them here with you.
10 Ways to Test Your Limits And Grow:
- Do something that scares you every day: This could be anything like driving to a new place (for me with no sense of direction this is a good one), public speaking, trying out a new food or activity. As long as it meets the criteria of stretching you.
- Read spiritual texts and self-help books: I know, I know, what parents have time to read? We’re so busy parenting our children, but you know those odd moments you have in the am before they are up, commuting to work or at the extra curricular activities. Read texts that open your heart and mind. This will help you grow.
- Keep a gratitude journal: In here you write things you are grateful for. This will help you see how far you have come from the beginning and what you need to work on.
- Make a TO DO LIST of things you want to change in your life: This is a biggie. It has to be realistic and you need to focus on one thing at a time: weight, anxiety, career, etc. and follow through slowly.
- Make a deal with a friend to tackle a big area in your life and help them do the same: This works great for weight loss, exercise, but even a friend to help keep you on track from getting depressed or anxious and call each other on it when you are not on top of it.
- Have stress managing strategies on a paper nearby for you like you do for your child; This one has helped me tremendously. I now have a “go to tool” when I am nervous and I use my strategies like Michael if I ever feel myself losing control.
- Start a yoga and meditation program: I can’t stress this one enough. Even five minutes of meditation and ten minutes of yoga stretches (which is pretty much what I do most days) helps TREMENDOUSLY. If you can do more, great.
- Regular exercise and movement: This could be walking, treadmill, aerobics, sports, dancing. It has to be something you will stick with when it gets easier to make excuses not to move. Check with your doctor and away you go!
- Play with your child: What I mean is really have fun. Do spontaneous games with them, hide and seek, I spy with my little eye, go to the park, kick the ball around the yard. etc. It will bring out the kid in you too.
- Spend quiet time alone doing something relaxing-reading a book, watching a favorite movie: This is what your body needs to re balance itself, and then you’ll be ready for more challenges and to stretch yourself in a good way.
Exceptional Parents, how have you become a stronger person since your parenting journey? How have you stretched yourself? You’d probably be surprised if you looked at how much you’ve grown. I’ll bet it is as much as your child if not equal. Don’t worry if you don’t get to everything at once. None of us do. Pace yourself. You’re doing the best you can. Work, rest, let yourself heal from stress and then start small changes like you do for your child. You’ll see the changes in your life that start to happen. Until next time.