When you're a mum and you feel like you're living in Groundhog Day it can be hard to find your joy.
Sometimes the relentlessness of the daily juggle – work, cleaning, family life and social expectations can suck the happy out of you. You feel total and utter burnout and overwhelming boredom.
But it's important for the sake of your mental health, and your family to stop, take a breath and rediscover you happiness.
Here's five ways to find your joy when everything feels like it sucks:
1. Be selfish for a change
Stop doing all of the things for everyone in your house and, instead, put yourself at the top of your to-do list. Tell your family you need some time out to prioritise your happiness. Reassess how things are running in your home and get the rest of your family to step-up. It's not your role to always be the organiser, cleaner, bank and emotional support person.
You have to recharge yourself in order to be happy and you need to find your joy to be a better parent. It's important you give yourself the attention you deserve.
2. Take yourself out on a date
Put it in the diary and commit to taking yourself out to do something you enjoy. But first, make sure you spend the time getting ready. Have a bath, shave your legs, paint your nails, blow dry your hair, put some makeup on or don't – whatever rocks your boat. Do what you need to make you feel special. And then walk out the door. Just you.
Go and see a movie or concert, visit the art gallery or go roller skating – whatever makes you feel good, no compromising for others. Meet friends for dinner or do something else that you love.
3. Get physical in the outdoors
Go for a run, take yourself bushwalking, head to the beach for a swim or just take the dog for a wander to your local coffee shop. Leave the house, breath in the fresh air, hug a tree – whatever works for you. Put a rug on your grass in the backyard and watch the clouds or sit outside at night and wish on the stars.
Take yourself out of the confines of your daily life, find some place quiet and let nature do some healing.
4. Break the routine
If it's routine that's driving you around the bend, then ditch it for a day or two. Have a mental health day off work, take the kids out of school and sleep-in. Have cereal for dinner. Do lunch orders instead of lunchboxes. Cancel any after school activities or put your kids to bed without a book and bath time. Let everyone stay on their devices for a little longer. Take everyone out to the movies on a weeknight or drive somewhere fun.
Life is meant to be living. If you're feeling drained by doing the same thing every single day, switch it up. It's ok to have some fun.
5. Close the door and the pull the covers over your head
Sometimes the best thing to do is retreat. Get a book, a cup of tea or glass of wine, some chocolate and go to bed early. Turn social media off and let the family know you're having the night off. Snuggle under the covers and go to bed early. Tomorrow's another day.
And remember, if it's all too much then please talk to someone if you need additional help. Reach out if you need a hand.
If you feel you may be experiencing depression, visit Beyond Blue's website, phone them on 1300 22 4636 or visit your GP to discuss your concerns.