I was feeling pretty down yesterday morning into the early afternoon. There was a series of stressful challenges at work, the house thing is awful and beyond ridiculous (the zoning commission is headed by a brand new inspector who actually said that he wants to “make an example” out of us and has shut down our new build for 30 days as a penalty for not submitting a minor plan change, which has never happened to our builder or architect in 25 years of building in this area… ANYHOW)… several things like this made the morning feel insurmountable, and I found myself feeling upset and depressed, with lots of negative self-talk milling around in my brain. Oh, and we’ve had tornado warnings, floods, and large hail for the past four days in a row… I’m anxious with severe weather, so this constant threat does not help.

So, I decided to take a few minutes to do a guided meditation after a late lunch. I chose a meditation on happiness and gratitude, and in all the moments when I was prompted to think of happy times and places, I found myself returning to memories of my kids and husband (no surprise). But, I was a little surprised when my mind first went to our sofa when prompted to think of a happy, safe place. I thought immediately of that feeling when everyone is piled together on the couch, munching on popcorn, snuggled up to watch a movie. I also thought of the feeling of contentedness after a good workout.

Then, as though a light bulb had switched on, I realized that while I could not change my mood and force myself to be happy, I could easily recreate those times that have caused happiness before. So, I changed my schedule a bit to squeeze in a quick 40-minute HIIT workout that I hadn’t planned for the day. Then, I picked my kids up from school (skipping after school sports due to the active tornado and severe thunderstorm watches) and told them we were having movie time. We made popcorn and snuggled up to watch “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (the old one, the best one…), and I found myself gradually feeling much lighter.

After that, the rain had slowed to a gentle shower, so we went outside to play Frisbee and football in the driveway. The kids squealed with delight, and I was amazed at how differently the day ended than it had begun.

Today, we have another severe weather warning. Our new house is being cordoned off with plastic fencing because it’s a safety hazard due to the gigantic hole in the back filling with rainwater (they had just started work on the pool installation….). It is what it is. I feel anxious and stressed out about all of these things, and I’m overwhelmed by work, but I feel somehow revitalized by last night. I’m holding onto those little moments, and I’m proud of the work I’ve been able to put in.

Day 37.

Published by Quitter

I’m a college professor, wife, and mother of 2 small kids. I’m on a recovery journey 20 years in the making.

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