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Family joy Mommy Maintenance

Mommy Maintenance

Halleluiah, today my body, mind and spirit were cheering as it was finally the day I had scheduled myself to get an hour long deep tissue massage! And truth be told this massage was long overdue as I sat stiffly in the waiting room chair thinking, “Why do I always let myself get to this point and why do I run myself down to the point my body starts to revolt against me?”

I literally had knots in my back and shoulder blades the size of silver dollars which finally had created a ripple effect on up to my neck muscles to the point where I was having difficulty turning my neck and head. It was yesterday the headaches and fatigue made their way into this picture after one of the longest and more stressful weekends of work I had worked in a while. The exhaustion and pain finally set in to the point all I could do was lay down and rest while my kids (age 2 & 4) napped. And napping is not something I do. Hardly Ever.

But today, after my massage, even in the pain of getting those silver dollars worked out of my upper back and neck for a whole hour, I reveled in the quiet. I reveled in the way my body finally relaxed and released tensions and toxins in that time, enough that when I got up to leave I felt refreshed and I could turn my neck and return home to my family feeling so much better than when I left the house for my appointment. Taking care of me is what allows me to best take care of my family and ultimately be the mom I want to be.

And this, my friends, is what Mommy Maintenance is all about.
Mommy Maintenance is giving yourself permission to step into the mindset that it is okay and important and vital to take care of our health and set aside special time to do something that makes us feel good, healthy, beautiful and refreshed of body, mind and spirit, so that we can in turn be our best self for ourselves and our families.

So, for all you mommy’s out there running on “E” just like me. Here’s some great Mommy Maintenance ideas to give a try. (And yes, after this blog I’ll be printing these tips out for me and my, “Type A, driven, pleasing personality, run on coffee self”, to be working on daily too.)

1. Schedule a Deep Tissue Massage or Spa Time
Today I brought with me a pure essential oil soothing muscle blend of Blue Heat, Frankincense, and Lemongrass for the massage therapist to use & my muscles are thanking me already.

2. Exercise On A Regular Basis – Find what activity feeds your soul.
I have found that yoga has been one of the best restorative and strengthening activities that has rejuvenated my spirit and it can be done with minimal equipment and minimal expense.

3. Rest- Take a nap and go to bed early
Here’s a great article put out recently by the CDC on sleep called “Are You Getting Enough Sleep.” http://www.cdc.gov/features/sleep/index.html

4. Journal

5. Read A Book In Your Favorite Quiet Place while indulging in some dark chocolate and your favorite cup of coffee or fancy tea.

6. Give Yourself A Mani/Pedi with a happy, bright color.

7. Sit Outside And Watch The Sunrise Or Sunset.

8. Soak In The Bathtub with some lavender essential oil infused epsom salts to calm and relax and decrease inflammation in your body.

9. Sign Up To Take A Class To Learn A New Skill such as painting, pottery, jewelry making, dance, guitar or some skill you’ve always wanted to try.

10. Get A New Hair Style, Color Or Just A Refreshed Haircut.

11. Sit Back And Watch Your Favorite T.V. Show Or Movie without any distractions.

12. Go To The Beach Or Near Any Body Of Water, as this is an energy booster.

13. Say “No” to things that are draining your energy.

14. Do Absolutely Nothing for 10 minutes or an hour or for a day as far as household chores are concerned and allow yourself to just be present in the moment with yourself, your family and count the blessings around you.

Life is good. Motherhood is great, but Motherhood is no cakewalk and I am walking it out one day at a time and learning to give myself and others more grace in this fast-paced life I lead and say “Yes” to more Mommy Maintenance and “Yes” to a healthier, happier me and family! I hope you will too!

Blessings,

Jara Johnson
(Wife, Mother, Marketing Educator, Medical Technologist, Singer/Songwriter, Wearer of Many Hats)

Goals happiness joy

Choosing Joy: Tips for Living More Joyfully

Happiness. That’s what life is all about, isn’t it?

Many of us are chasing it, in one way or another. From that coworker who is always so cheerful in the morning to the teenager trying to find their path in this world, we’re all just trying to be happy.

You’ve probably heard people say, “I choose to be happy.” They make it sound so easy! Surely we would all choose to be happy if we could? But if they can do it, what’s stopping you? Let’s dig into the science of joy—and how to make happiness your choice.

Joy and the Brain

According to an article by Dr. Marianna Pochelli, the brain has several chemical systems that contribute to “feel good” emotions such as optimism and relief from guilt, regret, shame, anxiety, and agitation. Some of these hormones include dopamine (the reward hormone), endorphins (natural pain relievers), and serotonin (the mental relaxation hormone). Although there are many drugs—both legal and illegal—that produce similar effects, there is no single chemical for joy in the brain or in the pharmacy.

So, if you can’t trick your brain into releasing a chemical for joy, what can you do to start feeling happy today?

How to Live More Joyfully

The key to living more joyfully now is to make a conscious, continual decision to not only engage in mood-boosting activities, but to think about things that make you happy. Yes, there are a few frustrations in life (like walking into the messy living room you just cleaned—thanks, kids!), but one technique is to try to avoid any negative thoughts or activities that bring you down.

According to neuroscientist Rick Hanson, our brains are wired to pay attention to negative things more than the positive. That’s how we evolved—and survived. That means that one has to make a conscious effort to feel happy. To rewire one’s brain, in a way. Some people have to work harder at it than others, and of course what makes one person feel happy might actually be hell on earth for another. Here are a few suggestions for living more joyfully:

1. Stay Away from Negative People

Misery loves company, so you may have to reevaluate your friend circle. Avoiding people who are not only negative but who drain your energy as well will go a long way in ensuring your happiness. Set boundaries and keep those people at a distance as much as possible. Spend time with those who make you smile and feel good, and nurture those relationships. You want to surround yourself with people who add value to your life.

2. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

It’s easy to let day-to-day stresses affect your life, but chances are these things won’t matter in the long run. One mantra to live by is, “If it won’t matter a year from now, don’t let it bother you today.” Admittedly, this mentality may take a while to adopt, but staying focused on your long-term goals should help keep your mood upbeat.

3. De-Clutter Your Space

How could cleaning up your home make you feel more joyful? Well, do you ever just look around your home or office and feel a sense of dread, frustration, or disgust? Every moment you experience those feelings is a moment you are living without joy—and considering the amount of time we spend at home or in the office, that’s a lot of non-joyful moments in your life.

4. Focus on the Silver Lining

Sure, certain aspects of our lives can get us down: a stressful job, debt, unsuccessful business ventures, or the kids’ looming college tuition. While you work towards fixing your problems, try to focus on what’s going well in your life. Do you have loving family and friends? Do you have a job with great benefits? Are you healthy? Incorporate gratitude into your daily routine for the good things in your life.

Choosing Joy: Mindfulness is Key

Mindfulness means focusing one’s awareness on the present moment while being conscious and accepting of one’s thoughts and feelings.

Yoga or meditation might be your thing, or it might not. But you don’t have to meditate to practice mindfulness. You can, however, wake up 15 minutes earlier (I know every minute of sleep is precious for us moms!), or take 10 minutes in the shower to stay still and be aware of your thoughts and feelings (if your toddler isn’t barging in).

It’s really all about taking the time and making a conscious decision to think joyfully. Easier said than done—but as with all things in life, practice makes perfect.