Last year I wrote an article about staying happy while your spouse is traveling and, much to my delight, it ended up being pretty popular. It turns out I’m far from the only wife that finds herself home alone while her husband is off working afar.
My tricks for staying happy have always been lifesavers for me, but the past few months have proven to be extra challenging. My son is getting more active, but the real challenge has just been the winter and limited daylight. Getting outdoors, being active at night, and even just keeping flowers around the house can be EXTRA challenging.
So, I’ve been on a mission to figure out new ways to cheer myself up and keep motivated while my husband is away. The original list still applies, so be sure to check it out here, but if you’re still finding yourself down and out, hopefully some of these will help. 🙂
The 90 Second Workout
To be clear, this is not a weight loss plan – 90 seconds is not going to burn up any calories. BUT, it is enough to get your heart rate up and you’d be really surprised by the mini endorphin rush. This is really helpful on the days that are too cold to go out or when it’s 5pm and already dark outside.
Jumping jacks and jumping rope (even without the rope) are tougher than you think, so try them out. 90 seconds of push-ups or crunches can also give your muscles a little burn – even just trying to touch your toes for 90 seconds can be a killer.
No joke, there’s got to be at least 100 reasons why Pinterest is useful and amazing, one of which is that it can cheer you up in a matter of seconds.
The trick is to know the keywords that will trigger a smile in you and to create boards that you can fall back on when you’re down and out. I have a Dream Board for when I need to feel special (or just need to dream myself through this winter…), a Blogging Board when I need motivation to get work done, and a Fashion Board when I want to feel beautiful (ok, fashion may be pushing it…it’s basically my tribute to cute flats).
Use the search feature! You will be so shocked by the amazing images you find. Have I made it clear enough how much I hate the winter?? Lately, all I’ve been searching are words like paradise, luxury, yacht, and Greece. When I was pregnant I couldn’t get enough newborn photography. Puppy, chocolate, and travel are great too. Think outside the box and dive head first into the Pinterest pool of keywords.
I wrote last time that you need to make sure to avoid sad TV – and you really do need to do that. BUT – that just isn’t always enough. So, with the help of my husband, we came up with a great list of inspirational documentaries that we watch when either of us needs a good pick-me-up (you can check it out here). When he’s gone, I watch these over and over and over again.
The same can be said for books. I hate, hate, hate the term “self help”, but if you can get past that designation, you might be surprised by some of the uplifting reads out there. I finished one called 10% Happier a few weeks ago and it seriously boosted my spirits (not to mention gave me some things to think about!). I’m also a big fan on non-fiction books. If you steer clear of political topics, there are tons of options of inspirational books in the career, business, and travel categories.
Coffee, tea, alcohol. Each is amazing, each deserves their own place in your life. Don’t overdo any of them (obviously!), but let yourself really enjoy your morning cup of joe, your afternoon tea, and a nice, fun happy hour cocktail. In moderation, there are numerous benefits to each and being home without your spouse is not the time to be making life difficult. Time to treat yourself!
Ok, I realize this sounds really dumb. But I’m telling you from my own experience, this works. My family and I took a trip to Hawaii last year and I brought home a cute mug that had a map of all the islands. I could not believe what it did to my mornings! Just seeing it brought back all the memories AND motivated me to get stuff done (maybe the thought that I could get back there??). Since then, I’ve sprung on some of the Life is Good mugs and any other ones that I think will bring a smile to my morning. It’s weird, but I HIGHLY recommend it.
Make a To Do List and Read It Regularly
I try to pay attention to the specific things that make me feel bummed out when I’m alone and without a doubt, one of the biggest triggers is when I don’t know what to do with myself. I know there’s tons to be done, but I have no idea what to do. That instantly makes me feel unproductive, which snowballs into feeling like I’m not contributing, which snowballs into this and that and you know how it goes…SO I now spend every morning (with my coffee and my mug 🙂 ) and I make a list of what I need to do for the day. Yes, I realize this isn’t a novel idea, but it’s hard to actually do each day when you’re only accountable to yourself. So don’t let yourself off the hook!
Take On Projects
Here’s another secret that’s not novel at all, but really critical – keep busy! Honestly, time will fly by if you’re hard at work. But instead of the usual chores and tasks, decide to complete a project or two that you’ve really wanted to get done for a while. With your spouse gone, the options become endless. 😉
With options like Face Time, Skype, and Google Hangouts, you can talk face-to-face free and easily. This is a bigger deal than you may think when one of you is traveling, so it’s worth working into your schedule. Texting and phone calls are important to stay up-to-speed, but actually seeing your spouse’s face is entirely different. And it’s free! So no excuses.
The 90 Minute Workout
Sorry, I couldn’t avoid this one! But at least I put it at the bottom 🙂 There’s no question that working out will improve your mood, so if you can work it into your schedule, you should. More importantly, if you can schedule in a really, really long workout, you’ll feel that much better. Try running for at least an hour or participate in a strenuous class. You’ll sleep better, eat less, and will feel like a million bucks when your spouse finally returns.
Good luck with your alone time! As always, let me know what other tips you have – I need them too 🙂
And be sure to follow me on Pinterest so you don’t miss any new posts! 😉
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