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When Gratitude Seems Out of Reach: Strategies to Lift Your Spirits

Updated: Apr 29

Have you ever been in the pit?


You know, that place where everything seems to be going wrong—the house is a mess, the homework is undone, the kids are fighting, and you're yelling and screaming? You feel defeated, discouraged, and overwhelmed. (Sigh) 😮‍💨


I've been there... many times.


It's tough to practice gratitude when you're in a dark, deep, dreary place.


So what do you do when you're just not "feeling it?"



Sit With "What Is"

Sitting with "what is" does not mean "wallowing in your misery." If we do that, we risk falling into the trap of grumbling, complaining, and comparing ourselves to others, ultimately leaving us angry and resentful.


What I'm suggesting is that you take a moment to acknowledge that parenting a differently-wired kiddo is HARD - REALLY HARD!


What you go through every day is different. Your challenges are "bigger," "louder," "more frequent," and "more intense" than others can imagine.


This means it takes a ton of energy to manage, so you get tired, overwhelmed, and frustrated—and that's okay.❤️


It's more than okay; it's to be expected.


Don't allow the "shoulds" and "should nots" to drag you further into the pit; pause and recognize your worth.


Practice Self-Love

Self-love involves deeply appreciating and caring for yourself and embracing your strengths, weaknesses, and imperfections.


So, take a deep breath and love yourself a little. Acknowledge all that you do in a day to keep your family going. You are doing the best you can with what you have. 


B-R-E-A-T-H-E 


If you don't know where to start, here are a few exercises(less than 5 minutes) to practice self-love.


Pause and Reflect (1 minute): Take a minute to reflect on something you do well, no matter how small. Celebrate your successes, even if they seem minor. This brief acknowledgment will boost your self-confidence.


Self-Hug (1 minute): Give yourself a quick, self-soothing hug. The physical act of hugging yourself can provide comfort and reassurance in seconds.


Set Realistic Goals (1 minute): Adjust your to-do list and daily expectations. As we say in coaching, "Let it be easy."  This will help reduce stress and guard against self-criticism for not completing "everything" on your list. 


Smile at Yourself (1 minute): Stand in front of a mirror, smile at your reflection, and say something positive to yourself. It may feel silly at first, but it will lift your spirits and increase self-compassion.


As you embrace these small acts of self-love, it's essential to extend that kindness inward with self-compassion. It's about responding to your struggles and imperfections with the same gentleness you would offer a dear friend.



Practice Self-Compassion

Self-compassion is meeting your suffering and imperfections with kindness and understanding, acknowledging that you're not alone in your struggles. It means handling your shortcomings patiently and adopting a gentle, nonjudgmental attitude towards yourself.


A simple way to do this is to practice compassionate self-talk:

When feeling tired and overwhelmed:

  • "It's okay to feel overwhelmed; I'm doing my best."

  • "I'm not alone in this. Many parents face similar challenges."

  • "I'm allowed to take a break when I need one."


When facing challenging moments:

  • "This is a tough moment, but it doesn't define me as a parent."

  • "Mistakes are opportunities for growth and learning."

  • "I can ask for help; it's a sign of strength, not weakness."


When managing expectations:

  • "It's okay if everything isn't perfect. I'm human."

  • "I don't have to be supermom; I just have to be loving and present."

  • "Today's small wins are tomorrow's significant achievements."


When needing a break:

  • "I deserve a moment to care for myself."

  • "My well-being matters, too."

  • "Self-care is not selfish; it's self-preservation."


When seeking inner peace:

  • "I can find peace in this moment by taking a deep breath."

  • "I choose to release the tension and stress in my body."

  • "This too shall pass, and I'll be okay."


So, as you weave these compassionate phrases into your daily narrative, remember this: self-compassion acts as a trusted guide, leading you back to your inner strength. It's that gentle companion navigating you through the twists and turns of your parenting journey.


Final thoughts

It's okay to have moments, or even seasons, of our lives when we're just unable to "practice gratitude." When you're in the pit, the way out seems impossible. Instead of fighting with what is— acknowledge it, show yourself some love, and let compassion in—it's like flipping a switch in that dark pit.


Suddenly, the daily grind doesn't feel so heavy, and you start noticing the small things that bring a smile. Hold onto those moments, savor them, and remember the more you take care of yourself, the more you'll find your way to practicing gratitude.


It's a journey, not always smooth, but definitely worth every step. Take a breath, mama—you're doing great.🤗


With love and gratitude,

Coco



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