While on maternity leave at home, I watched a lot of television in the first few weeks of my son’s life. We would spend hours on the couch figuring out breastfeeding, cluster feeding, hunger cues, sleep cues, and each others’ faces. It was during a really hard day that I noticed an Oprah episode featuring Elizabeth Gilbert. I am not a huge Eat, Pray, Love fan, but one thing she said has stuck with me and it was so helpful in pulling myself out of some dark days during those first few weeks.
She said to do the following each day:
1) Ask yourself what do you really really really want.
2) Write down the happiest moment of each day.
3) Refine your mantra.
That third step was important for me because at that time my mantra seemed to be, “I can’t do this.” So each day I would have to tell myself over and over and over again, “I can do this because I am doing this.” Whatever works, right? My son is now seven months old and he has just consistently slept for a two weeks with 5 hour + stretches–that is the most sleep we have received in these seven months. If there’s something that you never truly understand until you’re a new parent, it’s how terribly awful sleep deprivation is, especially when charged with caring for a little, tiny, beautiful life.
In the early posts, I reference these 1, 2, and 3 lines without the tasks assigned. I hope to continue this as needed and I encourage you to do the same if you ever find yourself in a funk and wanting to just focus on writing down three simple things each night before you go to bed.
Here is the except from the Oprah page:
You can take your own spiritual journey every, single day. Liz has three daily rituals that anyone can do anywhere.
Start a journal and answer this question every morning: What do I really, really, really want? “You have to say really, really, really three times or else you don’t believe it. And answer it truthfully and do it again the next day and the next and the next,” she says. “Because you can’t set your journey if you don’t know what you’re for.”
Write down the happiest moment of every day in a happiness journal. “It’s a way of reminding myself what really makes me happy and what doesn’t,” she says, “and learn and study and look back and see what is it consistently.”
Refine your mantra. “I say refine, not choose, because we all actually already have a mantra. We just might not realize that we do. Whatever you repeat constantly in your head is your mantra whether you know it or not, and that is leading you on your way,” she says. “So if you’re repeating, ‘I’m a moron, I’m an idiot, I’m a failure, I’m a jerk, I’m a loser,’ it’s your mantra. So decide whether that’s working for you. … Maybe it’s not and then maybe you might want to choose a different thing to try to say whenever you remember that you’re thinking what you’re always doing.”