Sometimes the challenges in our lives need to be singled out and faced head-on! That can be hard, but exhilarating when we do it. That’s why the I in S.M.I.L.E. (the acronym that helps reduce my anxiety and depression) stands for Isolate the Issue.
Here are some examples of how to apply this mental high method for greater joy. For more examples and a sample of my book that goes into this topic in more detail, click here.
If there’s a stress that’s weighing you down and you can do something about it, do it! Feeling sluggish? Eat better. Fighting forgiveness? Pray about it. Getting ahead of yourself? Slow down and make a plan. And then…GO FOR IT! Try again when your first attempts fail, because they probably will. That’s OK. Success is for the steadfast. You will manage and overcome if you keep trying and rising!
Isolate the Issue Photo Gallery
After a whiny day (I’m talking about me) and giving the kids a lecture about how I needed them to give me some time to get things done because I was stressed out and behind on things, I closed my bedroom door, sat in bed, made a grumpy face, and realized something. The break I really needed was a mental break from all those things I’d been trying to get done. Sigh. So I said a prayer, asked my son to find the football, and spent 20 minutes throwing spirals back and forth with all the kids (and the dog 😂) and admiring the backyard treasures they had caught. I was reminded of late summer nights when I threw the football with my dad, caught crickets with my sisters (filling entire jars as we pulled the red wagon around the neighborhood) and played soccer with my mom, followed by a late family dinner. My own family did some of the same last night and it helped me. Sometimes what we think we need isn’t really what we need. ♥
Today, I did it. I got up early, even before this beautiful sunrise. I finally listened to that little divine voice inside me that said, “Get out of bed, Eva. Get up NOW.” I may have hit snooze once or twice, but unlike all the other days, weeks, and months recently, THIS time I stopped letting myself have, “Just 5 more minutes.” I got up, and you know what? Within a minute of rolling out of bed and walking out my bedroom door, I wasn’t even tired anymore. Even though I couldn’t fall asleep until past 1 A.M. last night and it was only 6 A.M. when I stumbled into my slippers. My God-given grit and faith won out. (That isn’t arrogant-I’m giving credit where credit is due.) What did I do without any distractions? I rewashed the laundry that’s been wet in the washer for the past two days. I got a small snack to settle my sensitive stomach. Then I sat down in the quiet of the morning and prayed, a long prayer, the kind I thought I didn’t have time for anymore. I guess when I get up early, I do have time. Next, I did something I always need but don’t always make time for. I listened to an inspirational message-Now Is The Time to Arise and Shine!-3 times (I’ve learned that hearing things on repeat helps me understand and retain it better) while I did some paperwork I’ve been meaning to get to for months. Months! And everything she spoke was just what I needed to hear. Then, I started working again on finishing the set up of my blog. And now I’m writing this. Soon I’ll switch the laundry and do some yoga or pilates to some John Legend until the kids or the hubby wake. And all of this was because I FINALLY stood up for myself. Literally. I feel more alive and hopeful than I have for a while, and not because I’ve been in a terrible place but because I’m on FIRE with a feeling that I’m doing what I’ve been created to do- take care of my home, take care of others, and take care of myself. Good morning, world! Say hello to a new, awakened Me. I’m grateful that with the encouragement of good friends yesterday, the grace of God (I totally prayed for help last night in getting up earlier) and with some stubborn persistence that I followed my own advice to Rise Up & S.M.I.L.E. ❤
If there’s anything I’ve learned in our 14 years of marriage, it’s to be grateful when my husband helps me. It’s not a sign of weakness. I don’t have to be offended that he cleans better than I do. I can be grateful about it. I can even be excited about it! I have a teacher who’s cute too.😉 Early in our marriage this wasn’t my attitude. But I learned to change it. Today I more easily accept help from him, other family members, friends, and strangers. If I want to accept help from the Savior or my Heavenly Father, I need to be able to accept help from anyone, even when it’s not when I want it or how I expect it. It might seem stressful, but the truth is receiving help is one of the best destressing, humble habits we can develop.❤ Accepting help has made my life more full, my heart more grateful, and my kitchen sink cleaner. What has it done for you?
The kids wanted to make it look like Buddy the Elf visited.😂 We had a couple get-togethers which is totally a way to #lighttheworld since it’s hard to share your light if you’re not with people, in person or virtually. Connecting with our community friends helped us think outside ourselves during stressful times. Sam also used the time to practice his balance for ice-skating.🤣
I want to make videos. Truly. That’s been my dream for years. I’ve wanted to make real, slice of life, beautiful music videos of everyday goodness in families. Kind of like Norman Rockwell paintings in a modern day, music video form. He said that he didn’t paint “the sordid and the ugly” but life as he would “like it to be.” And that “even if it wasn’t an ideal world, it should be so and painted only the ideal aspects of it… grandpas who played baseball with kids and boys who fished from logs and got up circuses in the backyard.” He said also, “I’ll never have enough time to paint all the pictures I’d like to.” This is me in my car a month ago sitting outside a WinCo with two laptops as I edited part of the video I posted last week during my kids’ playdate. It was a lot of work, but so satisfying! For the last couple weeks I shelved this dream of making videos to enjoy the end of school year festivities and get caught up on the accumulated house mess. But you know what? I got kinda depressed. Even though I was having fun with the activities, my soul was missing one of its purposes. I’ve learned that it’s never right to mentally shelf your purpose. Keep it close. Work it! Even if it’s just over and over in your mind while you fold laundry or stir the macaroni. Because in the last few weeks when I started telling myself, “It can’t happen now,” I lost the energy to do everything else. I still did it and was glad I was there, but with a lot less gusto because I need more than just that to charge my batteries. So don’t be afraid of wanting to paint more pictures than you’ll have time to paint in this life, or on my case (and my daughter’s) have more music video ideas than we can create in this life. Living with passion and falling short is much better than never living at all.
I’m taking an official vacay from social media for a couple weeks to get to know myself better. ❤️ We are on summer break (until we start our fun mini version of summer school) and while I won’t be soul searching in the Himalayas, I’ll be doing some meditation in my own way while I have time off from being “teacher”. Plus, my mind, soul, and body just need a reset.😄 I found this journal/planner the other week and was thrilled because it had feathers (which I love!), the perfect message, and it was in my $5 budget. We ARE meant to FLY, to lift up from whatever is bringing us down. God has amazing, awesome dreams for us! He sees more in us than we can imagine! I want to access the courage and love to see myself and others the way He does, regardless of my current personal reality, outside circumstances, or whatever else is feeling heavy. I’m thankful for trials that bring us face to face with our own humanity, that help us realize what we’ve been relying on and that we can do better!👊 For those curious, I know for sure that I don’t have IBS but the doctors don’t know what else is causing my pain, nausea or gut issues. More tests are coming. I’ve been brave and pushed through this year as I stuck with my regular activities, but I’m ready for a little season of focusing on just my family and me.🎈 Sometimes we stretch and grow by looking up and beyond ourselves, and sometimes we find ourselves by being still and looking deep within. Either way, I’m excited and humbled to learn what I’ll discover.💜