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Finding pockets of happiness in the chaos: take a minute with me before you break


I realize 2021 just started, but doesn’t it feel kind of like we’re extending a yearlong experience of a toddler who raided the snack drawer, missed their naptime and probably has a stinky diaper? It’s been chaotic, loud, and WHY is everything so sticky?

I may not have toddlers anymore, but life with teens can be just as chaotic. Just in different ways. No matter how hard I try, I can’t ignore it.

I used to hide a lot behind my smile. Life can be really difficult and from my experience, being a parent is nothing short of organizing chaos. Schedules, changes, work… And on top of that, adulting is a lot to juggle.

Queue the “mommy’s happy hour” posts and comments.

For a while, that worked for me. Until it didn’t. It’s no secret that I made a decision to step away from the “wine mom” culture in the middle of this pandemic, so I’ve really had to lean heavily on finding pockets of happiness and peace to keep my sanity in-tact.

Looking back, I had pushed my own needs to the bottom of a never-ending list… until I broke. Because I had a life-changing emotional and physical breakdown in 2014, finding pockets of happiness has become an especially important part of my daily life. Even more so today.

Finding pockets of happiness throughout each day started as a writing prompt I stumbled upon in 2014 when I was rebuilding my life (pretty sure it was from my therapist). This simple nightly prompt has sustained me for close to a decade and has become an unconscious competent act of self-love.

What those pockets are changes from day to day. One day it could be my hammock bed, the next could be the sunrise. Even though it could be all over the map, there is ONE thing that is consistently on my pockets of happiness list… the quiet moments between breathing intentionally.

The best part: It takes less than a minute.

So, take a minute with me. Sit back, get comfortable, and relax those shoulders. Unclench your jaw. Place your hands on your lap or to your side and notice your breath. When you’re ready, take an intentional deep breath in, expanding your stomach until you can’t bring in anymore air. As you exhale, pretend you’re blowing out a candle, bringing your bellybutton inward to your core, exhaling everything.

Allow your breathing to return to normal and say (or think) “Thank you.”

Do this three times. Eyes closed or open, in the office or in private, wherever, whenever. Don’t overthink it and if it doesn’t work, no big deal. This is what has worked for me.

Someone once told me at my lowest point that I could intentionally make my life into a beautiful and happy one. How? One day at a time. Sometimes, one moment at a time.

If, at the end of each day, I say it was a happy and beautiful day, I will look back and say it was a happy and beautiful life.

I can say, without a doubt, that my life is happy and beautiful. Sure, there are ups and downs, even the occasional derailing’s, but one thing is certain… I’m still here, and so are you.

Life isn’t going to go the way we planned, and that’s ok. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” (taken from his April 1960 address at Spelman College)

Keep going, friends. Find those pockets of happiness and enjoy them. Please know, you’re not alone.

I’d love to connect with you on the socials or through www.singleparentsproject.com.

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