I have been writing this article in my mind for over 5 years
When I first became a mom in 2017, life changed a lot (an understatement!).
After many years of mostly knowing what I was doing or being able to figure things out, I suddenly had a newborn baby and it was like the old me died or disappeared and my old life was just a dream.
All the rules changed, all experience/knowledge/control was lost, and I felt like I was just bad at everything I was doing (personal hygiene, eating, sleeping, breastfeeding, planning my day, chores, etc). It was really easy to get to the end of a day and feel like nothing got accomplished and everything went poorly.
I’m not sure why or when I started this practice, but at the time (late 2017 or early 2018?) it helped me immensely to shift to a more optimistic mindset. In the years since through the pandemic and managing now two young children, I have had many, many, MANY days when it is easier to see what DIDN’T get done, what DIDN’T go well, what I am NOT good at… I still do this regularly and I have found it helpful to end my day and feel like I’m not failing at everything after a trying day.
10 Things that Went Well
How to do it:
- Lie down – except you don’t have to lie down, you can actually be walking, sitting, standing (it doesn’t really matter).
- Close your eyes – except you don’t have to close your eyes, and definitely don’t close your eyes if you are walking, driving, or doing anything else that would be unsafe if you close your eyes.
- Say in your head or out loud 10 things that went well from the day (or previous day).
- Feel the good feelings.
Don’t make this complicated!
Please note this is NOT 10 things I accomplished, 10 goals I reached, 10 things I am grateful for, 10 affirmations, etc. Let’s set the bar a little (a lot!) lower. This is just 10 things that went “well” or even just that didn’t go horribly wrong. And I think it helps if you try intentionally to pick the most mundane things.
In those early days of newborn/infant life, here is a typical list:
- I showered
- I finished a load of laundry
- I ate breakfast
- The baby took a nap
- I walked outside
- The baby laughed
- I asked someone for help with something
- The baby ate solid food
- The baby napped again!
- Bedtime was not a disaster
During the first 6 months of the pandemic (while I had a 2-year-old home, was pregnant with my son, and was trying to work remotely), here are 10 things that might make the list:
- We collected pine cones
- I answered some emails
- My daughter went to sleep easily/quickly
- I saw the baby on ultrasound
- I ordered groceries
- We splashed in puddles
- My daughter started riding her balance bike
- I played a board game with my husband
- I saw some patients online
- I did yoga
And finally, these days, working part-time with a 3-year-old and 6-year-old at school most days, here 10 things that went well in the past few months (these are true events!):
- The car broke down but riding home on the bus was a fun adventure for my kids
- We managed to figure out last-minute childcare when a kid was sick
- We had fun at the splash pad
- I exercised uninterrupted
- My husband took the kids to his parents for a night (so I got to sleep in!)
- I finished an 8-hour continuing education course
- I cleaned the inside of the car
- I adjust my kids’ carseats
- Neither kid woke up in the night
- I finally wrote this article!
That’s it, I hope this is helpful to reframe your day!