I seem to get asked at least 2-3 times a week how I cope with so many kids and appear to always be smiling. Firstly to clarify, I am NOT always smiling! But it IS true that my most usual 'state' is one of happiness. I recently asked my hubby why people kept asking me this and he made me realise that it's because there ARE actually things that I do that bring this state about... So here are a few of them in case you feel drawn to adopting some of them too...
1. I CHOOSE to love my life and I make decisions that prioritise and honour that choice every day (we ALWAYS have a choice!). It means I say no to lots of things and I let go of various options if they are not aligned with my number one priority which is to be happy!
2. I build a buffer of time into everything I do (I do this 80% of the time because I hate to be rushed and stressed).
3. I find ways to bring fun or joy to as much of my day as I can (playing uplifting music, driving a scenic route to where I'm going if it's possible, being silly and playful with my kids, working in beautiful places, moving my body in fun and invigorating ways).
4. I spend time getting to know myself and understanding what I want and need and then finding ways to make all that happen.
5. I delete or delegate the tasks that really bring me down or I find a way to enjoy them more (ie. Don does much of our shopping because I hate doing it and he bizarrely enjoys it. I on the other hand love driving so I do most of the kids lifting and taxiing about which he does not enjoy at all).
6. I spend time in nature every SINGLE day!
7. I try to look for the lesson in everything 'bad' that happens to me.
8. I keep control of my mind and try to catch it when negativity sets in. I examine the thought and then I decide if there is anything I need to do to make it better and if there is, I take action and if there isn't I choose a new way of looking at the situation that works better for my mood.
9. I use Positive Discipline with my kids which helps keep me/us more sane and (relatively) peaceful ; )
10. I touch people a LOT! I love hugs ; )
11. I look for the good in whoever's sitting in front of me at any given moment especially the people I could easily miss like the cash till assistant or the petrol guy! I love complimenting them and having a light-hearted chat (My husband likes to pretend to order a pizza every time we arrive at a toll booth on the freeway because he says how nice it is to make someone smile who may otherwise not have much to peak their interest the whole day).
12. I look for the good in different moments of each day (i.e. when I'm driving I may ask myself, what can I see that I love right now?... or I think of all the people I love and just remembering them lifts my mood instantly).
13. I eat foods I love and enjoy every mouthful!
14. I clean my energy field with colour breathing & Reiki every day.
15. I DO NOT read or watch the news - even in my newsfeed on FB I just skim the articles I can see are talking about doom and gloom - there's so much good happening in the world I don't believe for one minute me worrying or being upset by the bad things is helping me contribute more positively to the world.
16. I don't get involved in other people's arguments or drama. I try not to pay attention to attention-seekers, naysayers or people who drain my energy with their negativity (even if they are friends or family!). I simply ignore them instead of getting wound up by them (this has taken me lots of practice and I do occasionally still find myself sucked back in!)
17. I think of my five kids as gifts and I feel humbled and grateful everyday that I have been so blessed with the temporary care of these little angels (even when they are behaving like monsters I try to remind myself of this fact - sometimes I only remember at night when I lie in bed and they are sleeping and I'm recovering from the sensory-overload that has befallen me before!).
18. I pray - all day - and I give lots of thanks and flood my heart with gratitude before I go to sleep.
19. I meditate and practice mindfulness every day (sometimes several times a day - it only takes a few moments for me to come back to centre when I just tune into my body and become aware of where my mind and feelings are at).
20. I love to read so everyday I spend some time reading the things I love and getting inspiration from people I admire (books, the web, quotes etc).
So there they are - just a few of the ways I keep happy - mostly without even realising how much they contribute to being able to cope with my brood and enjoy my life so much. I'd love to hear some of the ways you keep yourself upbeat and cheerful too so feel free to comment below.
Sunshine and smiles to you all,
Ginny J xxx
Ginny Johnstone is a certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator, consultant and Heal Your Life coach specialising in teaching conscious parenting ideas and self-awareness tools to parents and teachers in South Africa.