Mother’s Day is the day we set aside in our communities to acknowledge and celebrate the important roles mothers play in our lives. In previous years, Australians spent more than 2 billion dollars celebrating their mothers.
Everywhere you look there are ad campaigns that show mothers and families demonstrating their unconditional love and happiness — but that’s not reality for everybody.
While some people enjoy a happy day of bonding and celebration, Mother’s day can bring mixed or even deeply painful emotions for others, for all sorts of reasons — like new mums who are experiencing their first Mother’s Day when they’re exhausted from infant care, people who have strained relationships with their mothers or children, or elderly mums who may be celebrating alone.
The mixed feelings that Mother’s Day brings can be challenging. Joy, sadness, longing for acceptance, memories or fears of disappointment and rejection. Managing these feelings can be difficult when you’re working to change your relationship with alcohol or drugs — it can be tempting to turn back to substances as a way to minimize your unwanted and destructive feelings.
You need to know that it’s ok. Substances aren’t the only way to manage your feelings.
As Dr Ruth Ziemba says:
FEEL YOUR FEELINGS BUT DON’T LET THEM BECOME YOU
So: how do you stop letting your feelings become you?
Here’s our tip this Mother’s Day: be prepared.
Keep busy and give your day some structure to help you avoid being swamped by unwanted feelings. If you’re stuck on what to do, here are some tips:
1. An outdoor activity
embrace the symbolism of rebirth and growth by doing some gardening or potting a plant.
Take a morning walk to exercise the body and free your mind a little.
3. Make contact
Reach out to a friend for a good chat on the phone.
Plan your favourite meal and cook it — even if it’s just for yourself!
5. Leisure activity
Start reading a new book, playing a video game, or catch up on your favourite tv series.
6. Get out
Disconnect from social media for the day. Create space for you away from the background noise, and resist the urge to
Spend some time being mindful. Try some breathing exercises or a warm bath.
Remember: emotions and feelings pass like a wave. Riding the wave allows emotions to be with you. As the wave subsides, the calm comes. Know that waves will arrive in sets and slowly get smaller. As you feel the wave rising, know that it is temporary.
If during the calm in your storm you find yourself ready to get started on more strategies for change, have a chat with one of our trained counsellors — we are available 24/7.