This post forms part of the A-Z of Self-Care for Busy Parents series. If you missed the introductory post you can read it here.
No self-care series would be complete without talking about the power of gratitude. No matter what we have going on in our lives, there will always be something to be grateful for.
It’s all too easy when we are having a bad day to only focus on the negative aspects and we go to bed feeling unhappy and stressed and probably don’t sleep as well as we should. Then we get up the next day, overtired, and it all starts again. Before we know it, the ‘bad days’ start outweighing the good, and that’s no way to live.
But, there’s a really simple way to turn it all round.
Instead of focusing on all the things that may have gone wrong or upset/annoyed during the day, take some time to recall the good moments. At first it can sometimes be difficult to recall anything good, but it doesn’t have to be anything big. Maybe you got to enjoy a hot cup of tea, maybe someone let you out a junction or smiled at you in the street. Maybe you can just be grateful for a comfy bed after a long day.
With practice it will become easier and easier to focus on those good moments and the bad moments lose some of their power to bring you down.
I used to write a weekly Happy Days post every weekend and no matter how bad I may have thought the week had been, once I sat down to write that post I remembered all the happy moments that made me smile and suddenly the week didn’t seem so bad after all. You obviously can’t change the past, but by focusing more on the positive moments, no matter how small, you change your whole perception of it and the way it makes you feel.
I’ve kept a gratitude journal off and on for a good ten years or more now and I know for a fact that when I keep up with the practice I feel happier, no matter what else is going on in my life. I find a great system is to write down three things every day that have made you smile or feel good in any way. You don’t need any fancy apps or sparkly new notebooks (although you can use these if you like, everyone loves a sparkly new notebook), just use what you have. If you already keep a journal or planner, just create a section at the bottom of the page to write your three things for the day. Alternatively, I have a printable one week gratitude diary on my Freebies page.
If you need some inspiration, I just discovered a really cool website called The Gratitude Jar where people share the things they are grateful for that day. You can join in and add yours, or just have a read at other people’s and be inspired.
Do you have a daily gratitude practice? If not, try it for yourself for the next week and see how you feel. Don’t forget to come back and let us know too.
Need more tips for self-care? Don’t want to miss the rest of the series? Enter your details in the box below to receive it in your inbox every week. And remember to bookmark the introductory post (here), the links to each new post will be added on to there as they are published.