Wow! Here we are in April 2020 amid a pandemic and this post I stumbled upon from February 2017 is so fitting that I just had to revise and reshare it.
I am proud to say that I still do all of these things when I’m having a tough week. These practices have been especially helpful during these uncertain times.
Okay, so I know the title of this post refers to a rough week. But can I be real? I’ve been having more like a rough month. Can’t seem to throw myself out of bed. Kids don’t want to do their schoolwork. The laundry room has a pile of clothes that seem to reach the ceiling.
You feel me?
The New Year obviously did not care about my positive affirmations for living my best life. So, needless to say, I’d been in a funk for the entire month of January.
Maybe it was the sudden loss of someone very dear to me. Maybe it was all the craziness happening in the world. Who knows? What I do know, however, is that I’m so glad to see February. It’s a new month and, I promise you, it’s like I awakened
with a fresh attitude—seemingly as if by magic!
Yet, when I reflect on the month of January, and the craziness that was my life, I can actually see that there was no “magic” involved. In fact, there were a series of practices that led me to this breakthrough. Small, undetectable things that led to me waking up on February 1st with a renewed mind. Today, I decided to share them with you. So here goes!
8 Things I Did During My Tough
1. I prayed without ceasing.
Even though I wasn’t feeling it. Even though it felt at times like God wasn’t listening. I still got on my knees and prayed, not just for myself but for others. I’m a firm believer that prayer changes things. However, what many fail to acknowledge is that things may not change when we want them to. When this happens, we stop praying simply because we’re not seeing results when we think we should.
I’ve been guilty of this mindset in the past. But, especially in times of difficulty, I’ve learned to keep praying with gratitude, petitioning “change” to happen in my life. (Philippians 4:6)
2. I took authority.
I’m currently reading Psalm 91 for Mothers by Ruth and Schum. A major theme throughout this devotional is to make a vocal declaration of God’s word with a believing heart. During this study, my prayers began to change. I went from a helpless Lord please change my situation prayer to using Palm 91 to declare peace over my life.
In other words, I realized I had the power to speak to my situations by proclaiming the promises of God. When we make such bold declarations (and believe it), something happens—even if we can’t see it just yet. In my case, it took a couple of weeks to see the results of my proclamations.
3. I stayed consistent with my workouts.
Lord knows I didn’t want to workout. But I’m glad I stuck to my routine. For those of you who are just tuning into my blog, I workout during the evenings before bed. I focus on strength training because my goal is to be more toned.
These are not long workouts at all! They are only 30 minutes sessions but make a world of difference that even my husband can see. I find that 30 minutes of quality high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is very effective. By the end of the month, I was looking better, which automatically made me feel better.
4. I decreased my sugar intake.
People who know me personally know that I love to eat healthy meals and seldom eat fast food—but I also never turn down dessert. That is, until now. When I think about it, detoxing from sugar probably contributed to my “funky” mood because of the adverse side-effects.
Sugar is a contributor to hormone imbalance, which can make a person moody and prone to depression. That’s why I decided sugar must go! I also decreased my intake of bread and other refined carbs.
Let’s not get crazy here, I decreased my intake dramatically, but I improvised with yummy substitutes. For instance, I made healthy homemade granola bars and homemade chocolate shakes to curb my sweet tooth. Here are the recipes:
1 cup of natural peanut butter
1/2 cup of honey
3 cups of old fashioned oats
1 handful of cacao chips (unsweetened or bitter-sweet)
*Melt the peanut butter and honey for 1 minute in the microwave or pan. Mix in the oats. Spread into a nonstick baking dish. Press the cacao chips into the mix. Put the mix into the refrigerator and let cool for at least 1 hour.
1 cup of almond milk
2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons of cacao powder
1 frozen banana
*Place all the ingredients into the blender. Blend for 1 minute or until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!
5. I clapped-back at my negative thoughts.
I definitely struggled with some negative thoughts. However, I’ve learned to diffuse these thoughts by replacing them with positive ones. What does this look like? First, you must have a handful of positive affirmations in your back pocket waiting to deflect every type of negative thought that comes to mind. As a Believer, I draw my positive affirmations from the Bible. Here are some examples:
Negative thought: You don’t have what it takes to succeed. Affirmation: “He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
Negative thought: God is angry with you. Affirmation: The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. (Psalm 145:8)
Negative thought: You’re a bad mother. Affirmation: My children arise and call me blessed; my husband also, and he praises me. (Proverbs 31:28)
Negative thought: You should be afraid of what’s happening in the world. Affirmation: No evil shall befall me, nor any plague or calamity come near my home. (Psalm 91:10)
Catch my drift? During the month of January, I’ve been working on my comebacks. I think we all can agree that positive thoughts and words have significant power. For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. (Proverbs 23:7)
6. I changed my routine.
Yes, I switched things up a bit to disrupt the monotony. As a homeschool family, we made necessary changes to our homeschool routine that made sense for the season of life we were currently in.
We incorporated beginner piano lessons. My husband did some teaching. We even played board games, read loads of books, and put together a bunch of new puzzles instead of having formal lessons.
One of my favorite days last month was just picking up and going to the park to enjoy the unusual 75-degree “winter” weather. I plan on returning to our old routine this month, but it sure was great to have the freedom to break away for a bit.
7. I forgave myself.
That’s right. I looked straight into the mirror and forgave myself for my shortcomings. I forgave myself for not getting my kids out of the house more, for letting the laundry pile up, for losing my temper, and all the small things I tend to beat myself up about.
I learned this technique from Lisa Nichols, an inspiring self -made millionaire. She was also the inspiration behind my affirmations exercise. I admit, I didn’t think about this exercise until the end of January—after I made my confessions to God. But suddenly a lightbulb went off as I worked on this post and I heard a voice say: Nike, you have to forgive yourself, too.
I can’t begin to tell you how freeing it is to let myself off the hook for not living up to the rigid standards I’ve set for myself. Essentially, those rigid standards are aiming for perfection, which I am not.
8. I renewed my mind.
I already touched a little on the power of thoughts, but I want to expand on that point here. Our thoughts shape our reality. This is evident when Jesus mentioned that committing adultery in one’s mind is just as bad as committing adultery in real life (Matthew 5:28). Why? Because our thoughts eventually become our reality. It would only be a matter of time for a man or woman who entertains such thoughts to start acting on them.
The same goes when we tell ourselves stuff like “This isn’t my day” or “I’m having a bad day.” Did some things happen today that really sucked? Of course! But when we change our thought pattern, we can actually train ourselves to focus on what was good about that day. When we do this, our perception changes—and so does our reality.
So, as I look back on the month of January, I see that it wasn’t such a bad month after all. In fact, January was a victorious month! My triumphs far outweighed my losses. Wonderful things happened to my family that I refuse to discount because of a “funky mood.”
The truth is, even people who practice good habits get into a funk from time to time. The key for me is to learn how to push beyond those feelings and stay consistent. The more I maintain my consistency, the faster I overcome my obstacles.
And now here we are! Welcoming the month of February with new wisdom and understanding. I want to encourage you today. If you’ve been in a “funk,” try out some of these methods for yourself and watch your attitude transform. In the meantime, I pray that God grants you peace of mind and your heart’s desires.
Until next time, friend.