Just Buy The Sliced Fruit 3 Tips to Reduce Your Triggers
It pains me to admit, but I can be a wasteful person…with the best intentions, of course! Each week at the grocery store, like many parents, I buy a bunch of fruit. Not just the simple ‘wash/peel & go’ varieties like apples and bananas, I buy the more high maintenance varieties like whole cantaloupe and pineapple.
I love having these beauties on hand because I want to have healthy snacks for the family, and I feel like I’m getting the best bang for my buck by avoiding the upcharge for pre-sliced fruits.
So, I buy those oversized pieces of fruit, lug them home and set them on the counter with the intention to cut them up sometime soon. And, as you can guess, ‘sometime soon’ is often not soon enough!
I’ll walk past that cantaloupe and think, “Oh! I have to remember to cut that up today!” The next day, I’ll walk past it and think, “Ugh. I reeeeally need to cut that up! Don’t forget!” — Spoiler alert, I’ll forget! Soon that sorry looking piece of fruit will be past its prime and no longer edible. Next thing you know, I’m secretly burying that melon in the trash to avoid having to explain my wasteful behavior to my family.
As I’m hiding the cantaloupe in the trash, I’m overcome with guilt and disappointment. My inner judge goes into hyperdrive: “Why are you so wasteful? You are so lazy! All you had to do was cut the fruit! You couldn’t even find time for that? Just like all the other things you ‘never’ find time for. Way to go…” And, boom! Just like that, I’m in a crummy mood and a step away from snapping at the next person who crosses my path the wrong way.
Then it occurs to me, am I really allowing a piece of fruit to determine my self-worth and mood for the day?!?! Am I going to allow this to get the best of me, leaving my family with the worst of me?
Let’s be honest, the moral of this story is not about cutting fruit. It’s really about cutting yourself some slack! It’s a reminder that it’s ok to reprioritize and let things go in order to make space for what truly matters in your life — your well being and family connections.
Parenting is hard, even on the best days. And on those tough ‘seriously, why me?!?’ days, parenting can feel even harder! When we are overloaded with stress, we just don’t have the capacity to deal with one more negotiation, one more request, one more tantrum. Rather than showing up as the calm, rational parent, on those days there’s a greater likelihood to overreact and blow up.
In the book, How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t With Your Kids, Dr. Carla Naumburg encourages parents to take care of themselves so they can show up for their kids with less drama, and more patience and calmness. She believes when parents notice themselves losing it with their kids, it’s usually a red flag that something is going on within themselves. Things like negative self-talk, overscheduling, trying to do it all, lack of self care, not enough sleep, anxiety, chronic pain, disorganization, unresolved trauma, financial worries, life changes…get the idea?
The good news? We can work towards a solution! Naumburg offers three suggestions to help parents get through their day feeling less triggered and more calm.
Step 1: Realization Realize what your triggers are, and identify the moments you are feeling triggered. When you catch yourself, take notice if you are tired, hungry, struggling with pain, going through a life change, dealing with clutter, or have too much on your plate. How do you react when you’re feeling triggered? Do you yell? Slam doors? Become passive-aggressive? Tear yourself down with negative self talk?
Step 2: Acceptance When you realize you are in a state of feeling triggered, allow yourself some self-compassion. Don’t let that inner judge shoot you down even more! Accept that you are triggered. Pause. Take a deep breath and get ready to work out a plan.
Step 3: Action Now that you are aware of what is going on, what can you do about it? Is there something you can change at that moment? Are you expecting too much right now? Perhaps there is something you can let go of? Like I said earlier, where can you cut yourself some slack? Could you consider:
Taking a break
Get to bed early
Putting your phone away
Letting go of perfection and order
Being more compassionate with yourself
Allowing yourself to be more flexible
Learning to say ‘no’ to unnecessary activities that don’t fulfill you
Letting go of the ‘shoulds’
Asking for help and relying on outside resources
Caring for your own needs is necessary in order to take care of others. Self-compassion can help preserve your patience and allow you to be more present for yourself, your loved ones and your priorities.
Moving forward, I plan on being kinder to myself. No more allowing fruit to bring me down, cluttering up my mind with criticism and stealing my patience. No more wasted energy and stress from ruminating on negative self talk. Next time at the grocery store, I plan to cut myself some slack and head straight for the refrigerator section for the sliced fruit!
Where will you cut yourself some slack? How will you give yourself a break today?