How I became more than “just” a mom.

How I became more than “just” a mom.

Finding your passion is life changing 

Not "just" a mom.
I am more than a butt and booger wiper. 

For the past 17 years I’ve been “just” a stay at home mom. I had an occasional job here and there but nothing of substance. When I was a little girl I used to say that I never wanted kids. I wanted to be an FBI agent and study the minds of criminals.  I was going to have a high power job and be a boss.  I was never going to have time for kids.  

I graduated high school a year early and started college.  I met my husband who was a submarine officer, who graduated from the Naval Academy. I had my first baby at age 23. Long story short, we moved from state to state with the Navy and four kids later, I found myself as a stay at home mom.

You see, during these last 17 years I have always been known as “Paityn’s mom”, “Guys wife“, “Lt. Glennon's wife”.  I never finished college, which as you can imagine lead to very embarrassing conversations with high ranking officer wives in the military. “Oh where did you go to college, where do you work?” 9/10 I’d lie because I was ashamed to say I never finished college. I was “just a stay at home mom!” I would get pregnant and take a break from college.  I ended up being a career college student. 

I begin to feel restless, anxious and lost. I am now 40 and done with being “just a mom”. I finally started to chip away at what my true passions are. Who i am as a person. Finding my identity outside of someone’s wife and mother. It is a slow and tedious process. But I am learning more every day.  I am figuring out what my purpose is. Taking back time for myself and my mental well being, my hobbies and I’m learning how to make an income while being a stay at home mom. 

It is possible to have your cake AND eat it too. You can have your own identity and be so much more than “just a mom!”  Check out my amazing community of moms in this group I created on facebook.  

9 surprisingly natural ways to beat stress and anxiety.

9 surprisingly natural ways to beat stress and anxiety.

We are all to familiar with the uncomfortable feeling of stress and anxiety.  Your heart races, palms sweat, nausea, maybe even dizziness.  Something has triggered your fight or flight response.  Sometimes it is something so out of left field and sometimes it is something that happens regularly.  A trigger that sets your emotions into a frenzy.  Having dealt with anxiety my whole life I have come up with 9 surprisingly easy and natural ways to manage stress and anxiety.  

1.Vitamins and supplements 

Often times our bodies are missing essential vitamins.  This may seem like something so simple but it is often overlooked. One to consider is vitamin D.  With sunscreen in lots of products it is very well possible you can be deficient in Vitamin D.  The sun is what helps our vitamin D levels.  Check with you healthcare provider for testing to make sure you are not lacking important vitamins.

2. Cut back on caffeine and sugar
Don't kill the messanger ;)
I know, I know.  Coffee and sugar are the life blood for us moms.  However too much of it can wreck havoc on our bodies. Caffeine is a stimulant.  Stimulants can increase anxiety.  Talk to your health care professional about sugar alternatives. Some are better than others.  I will let you in on a little secret.  I was a HUGE soda lover.  Coca-Cola to be exact.  The way I kicked my soda habit was to switch to flavored soda water and adding a splash of juice.  Then you are getting the fizzy bubbles thats in soda and a little sweetness from the juice.  Eventually I was able to switch just to flavored sugar free soda waters.  Another great option is my red drink.  If you know you know. Click this link to read about it.   ;)

3.Stress management

Lots of our everyday anxiety is self-induced.  We mean well but just can't say "No". Make sure that when someone asks you to volunteer, make sure that it is something you love and will feel fulfillment.  Over-scheduling, clutter, making promises that are near impossible to keep and poor boundaries are among the culprits. Having so much on your plate can start to feel like tug of war.  People pulling at you from all directions.  Take a look at your priorities and get control of your schedule and life. 

4. Self Care

 People who have trouble saying ‘no’ or being assertive often place others’ needs before their own. Mothers are usually at the top of the list for poor self care. When you take a flight, what is the first thing the flight attendants tell you?  “Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others.”  Try to remember that if you don’t take care of yourself, you will be less effective as a parent, spouse/partner, employee and friend.  Some of my favorite self-care activities are reading in my devotional book.  Every morning I wake up about 10 minutes before everyone else, grab a cup of coffee and read one chapter in my daily devotional. Those few minutes of "me time" have become my favorite part of the day.  

5. Exercise
Exercise is a fabulous stress reducer.  Studies show that just 30 minutes a day 3-5 times a week can lower your anxiety. When stress affects the brain your body feels it.  It only makes sense that if your body feels better then your brain will too. Another great option for exercise is yoga.  Something as little as 5 minutes a day will have an impact on your stress and anxiety levels.  

6. Eat Clean 

It only stands to reason that if your diet is filled with highly processed foods, fast food and other less than healthy foods, then it is bound to have a negative impact on your daily life.  Although there are no specific studies to show which diet will help anxiety managing what you eat can help.  The connection between nutrition and mental health is critical. You may need to begin with supplements to get back on track, but if you eat more fruits and veggies, you will begin to get the nutrients you require for good health and mental health with less supplements. Fast food and restaurant eating should be avoided most of the time, and chosen carefully if you decide to indulge. Explore food allergies or sensitivities – it can make a huge difference.  

7. Stop the negative thoughts
Most people with anxiety have a barrage of worried, anxious, critical and/or
intrusive thoughts running through their minds endlessly. These thoughts create much of the distress we experience. Don't let your thoughts turn into a self full-filling prophecy. Learn ways to manage these thoughts. A great way to start is by using daily affirmations. Once you get the underlying causes of anxiety under control, this may get easier. Have you heard of Joy Triggers? If not you can read about it here.  

8. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfullness is the practice of living in the moment.  Being fully engaged and completely free from distractions.  I challenge you to stop and think about how many times you are actually present in the moment.  I think you will be surprised at how often your thoughts race to what is happening tomorrow or what happened yesterday.  

9. Deep breathing exercises

People that suffer with anxiety often take shallow, quick breaths from the top of their chests. This type of breathing can worsen anxiety symptoms.  Learn to take deep, belly breaths to calm yourself and to breathe slower. When you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, stop and take 3 deep breaths. I can promise you that you will feel more relaxed.

I hope these 9 surprisingly easy ways to deal with stress and anxiety help you.  The next time that feeling of stress or anxiety starts to creep in try one of these 9 things mentioned above.  I am no therapist or mental health professional.  These are tips and tricks that have helped myself and my daughter.  We both struggle with anxiety.  I would love to have you join my amazing facebook group.  Where we talk about the challenges of mental health and how we can all support and lean on each other.  You can find us over in Moms Seeking Purpose.  I'd love to have you.  

Joy Triggers: Instant happiness when you need it the most.

Joy Triggers: Instant happiness when you need it the most.
It’s time to start looking for Joy Triggers. Given what’s happening in today’s world I am starting to feel like I am surrounded by negativity and doom and gloom. Murder Hornets, that other thing that shall remain nameless.  Masks, social distancing. Things I never thought we’d be dealing with in 2020. It is so easy to fall into a pattern of negativity.

It is so so easy to slip into a pattern of pessimism. It’s like falling down a rabbit hole you can never get out. The first few days of quarantine I felt ok. As the days went on however, things became increasingly hard.   I started to notice a trend on social media. Illness, social isolation, loneliness and an all around bad vibe. It felt like I was being swallowed up by a dark cloud.
Enter joy triggers.

Ariana Huffington, Founder and CEO of Thrive Global spoke about this in an interview.  "It’s not enough to be productive, it’s not enough to be successful, I need my joy triggers. Joy triggers are not rational. Bring them into your daily life, because I really believe that ... it’s all a part of how we can bring balance into our life... getting joy from simple (but beautiful) things — scents and sights and tastes."

Joy triggers are the tiny things in life that bring you joy.  The scent that reminds you of your favorite relative.  The rainbow you see after a storm.  Watching your kids run after bubbles squealing with happiness.  Petting a dog.  Quick chat with a friend online.  That first sip of coffee in the morning.  Recently in an effort to have some normalcy I started taking a daily walk.  As I was out walking I noticed lots of chalk drawings.  It always made me smile.  Some of the most amazing chalk arts I saw

Being more mindful of these joy triggers is key.  Being present in the moment.  I highly suggest having a journal or note in your phone titled joy triggers.  Write these things down or type them in your notepad as they happen.  Reflect upon them when you are feeling overwhelmed and anxious.  In a perfect world your joy triggers would be something that is simple to do and easily replicate-able.  What I mean is that when you are feeling down, sad, or anxious you can quickly reflect back to those triggers and hopefully it will help you continue on your day in a more joyful and peaceful way.  

What are a few of your joy triggers?  Remember that "quick chat with an online friend" I mentioned above.  I have a place where you can chat with other moms.  Some of my best friends I have only met "online" and they spark the biggest Joy trigger ever.  I'd love to have you join us here.