Like clockwork on any given Tuesday, I have broccoli steaming on the stove, chicken on the grill or oven and some other side dish simmering. Getting to this point in the day took a small miracle and PBS programming to keep my girls entertained.
This is also the time when my almost 2 year old toddles over to me, book in hand and in a gruff voice, demands: “read it!”
“I can’t right now, babe, I have to get dinner ready.” Cue meltdown.
“What time are you leaving?” I ask my husband, phone squashed between my shoulder and my ear because now the baby is on my hip screaming.
“Ugh. I’m trying!,” he tells me, “I have to finish this up for a client.” But his voice is really saying “I’ve had a tough day.”
Dinner is on the table. The 2 year old doesn’t like anything green. The 4 year old wants to know what happens when you die and I have about an hour before I’m supposed to be in bed.
Exactly one hour later, there’s a naked tot running down the hallway as my husband finally makes it through the door. He knows I have to get to bed, so it’s a quick exchange of kids and pajamas and brief rundown of all the things (bad and good) that happened in our day.
And finally, my head hits the pillow.
Sounds hectic, right? Does it sound familiar?
Here’s the real problem: My description of the end of my daily routine was a flurry of frenzied details.
What I didn’t tell you is that my children are healthy, my home is safe, my husband is amazing and devoted and I have to get to bed because I have a job to get to in the morning.
A few weeks ago, I met a holistic nutritionist, Sarah Saxby, when I was doing interviews for a story I was working on for WKYC. I brought her in to talk about “super spices” that you can add to your meals to get a nutritional bang-for-your-buck. But when we were done and just getting extra video, she mentioned how she tells clients they’ll never achieve their health goals until they address their happiness.
I couldn’t get that idea out of my head. It seems like a no-brainer, but I wanted to know more.
So, I asked her if she would do another interview for this blog. We met at a park and I told her “This will only take 10 minutes, I know you’re busy.”
But before I knew it, we were talking for 40 minutes. And what I thought would be a simple conversation about being happier, maybe sleeping more and eating fruits and veggies, turned into something much deeper.
“We are so in robotic mode, we wake up, we get the kids ready, get them to school, go shopping, it’s this robotic sort of consciousness,” she said.
And then she said something that describes how a lot of us feel on certain days, but would never want to admit.
“We feel resentful sometimes. Look at all the stuff I did and no one appreciates me. But did you really do it for those people or did you do it because you want to get to Netflix at the end of the day, and a glass of wine?”
It’s not just that wine that is bottled up. It’s our stress and dissatisfaction.
We survive our daily routines. We hope that at the end of the hustle and bustle, we find some time to ourselves.
But don’t we deserve happy?
Unless you are unbelievably lucky in life, I’m going to guess that you have times you feel like you are unappreciated at work, there’s tension with a co-worker, family member or friend that eats at you, or maybe you feel like you’re the glue that holds your family together, but no one says “thank you.”
“We are in a victim consciousness,” says Sarah, “Everybody! It’s no judgement because we are all operating like that. We blame other situations for where we are.”
Then she told me about a simple exercise she has her clients do that really starts to change your mind-set.
She says to write down all the bad qualities that you see in other people, the ones that make you made and cause tension in relationships. For example, you might think someone is inconsiderate or self-centered. And then hold the mirror to yourself.
Sarah says we recognize certain qualities in others because we have those qualities ourselves, they just manifest in a different way.
When you start to look internally at how you are possibly inconsiderate or self-centered, you start to feel more compassion toward others. You become more understanding. And most importantly, you start to break that cycle of stress and unhappiness.
It’s a first step and a simple exercise, but can have a profound impact.
I was thinking of this exercise the other day when I was driving to a story with one of our news photographers. Even though we were in hour 5 of our work day, it was rush hour for everyone else.
I had the benefit of being the passenger in the car, while Shane darted in and out of traffic.
Once we had gotten off the highway, Shane realized he needed to be in the next lane over to the right. He put his signal on, he had plenty of room and he started to merge. That’s when the driver who was about to be behind us, sped up and laid on the horn.
BEEEEEPP!!! Then came the international sign for “YOU CUT ME OFF A-HOLE”. He jerked his wheel and the car into the left lane and sped past us.
But as soon as he got a few cars ahead, the angry driver cut off another driver with far less room.
At that point, Shane and I laughed at how this road rage victim was SO offended to be cut off, but seconds later, it was totally ok to do the same thing to another driver.
How many times in our day are we the guy with road rage?
I really think this simple exercise that Sarah lays out in the video will help you think differently through out the day. And hopefully at the end, when your head is on that pillow, your mind goes to a more grateful place.