Life can be chaotic, but knowing how to keep calm amongst all the chaos is how you make life fun! My family and I are currently moving across the country so a cross country road trip was in order. Everything definitely didn’t go to plan, heck we didn’t even have a plan half the time. BUT I kept my calm, and the trip has turned out better than we ever could have expected! It’ll definitely be a core memory for my kids. Don’t worry though. I’m not just going to tell you about how amazing our cross country road trip turned out. I’m also going to be going over tips & tricks you can use in your everyday life to keep calm and banish that lasting stress from your life! Let’s get into it!
My Family’s Crazy Cross Country Road Trip
Let’s start with some backstory for you. This trip started out incredibly frustrating. Even in the days leading up to it, nothing seemed like it went to plan. If we were going to take this cross country road trip, (being the planner I am) I wanted to plan out the entire trip. Where we stopped, what we did there, and how long we would drive each day to optimize for amazingness.
Before we even started this cross country road trip, we had to stay in a hotel in Virginia Beach for a week. All of our stuff was packed up or in moving trucks and we had to stay in a hotel to wait on our whole house to be packed up and headed to San Diego. That may have been the longest week of my life. Two adults, three kids, and a dog in one hotel room is A LOT. The kids were constantly bickering and honestly, I had given up on the hope of a cross country road trip. I thought, “Let’s just fly.”
I had been going back and forth in my head with the idea of flying with the kids alone and Mike driving our car on a cross country road trip of his own. Sounds less stressful, right? Wrong! I ended up booking our flights to northern California where we could stay with my in-laws while waiting for Mike to get to California. The day of we got an email saying our flights could be canceled due to a winter storm. Being stranded in a connection state alone with three kids sounded like a nightmare so we canceled the tickets. And so the cross country road trip for all of us started!
So… Change of Plans…
Because the plan was to fly, I had no plans at all for this cross country road trip. Every plan we had was demolished, so we decided to just flow with it! We’re almost finished with the trip at this point, and you guys… it’s gone frickin’ amazing! The constant theme in my life is that everything turns out better than I ever could have planned (even though I still try to make plans)!
We’ve driven each day with very loose plans of fun hotels and decide what to do & where to eat as we go. We’ve seen so many synchronicities and so much cool stuff that the kids probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise! For the first time in so long, I’ve cried happy tears, tears of relief, trust, and gratitude. I used to experience this all the time when we lived in California, but hadn’t experienced it in a while. It just validates our decision to move and make this cross country road trip that much more. Which feels so dang good!
Giving Up Control
Giving up control can be the hardest but the best thing. Moving away from that stress and frustration into grace, ease, and going with the flow is hard, but it’s where you’ll start seeing everything coming together perfectly. Nothing is perfect and there are always stressors and chaos along the way, but when you let go of that and look at each situation with a positive attitude you’ll see that the redirection was for the best! Redirections can feel like chaos, but in all reality they make life an adventure and help you to live your life to the fullest!
I like to embrace the chaos as much as possible. I think of things going wrong as breadcrumbs to what is right for me and the current situation. Add kids to frustration and stressors and it brings a whole other layer! Remember this though: childhood is a feeling not a memory. Try to create a positive feeling around situations, even when the worst is happening or you’re terrified. We had a super stressful time driving through Texas, and I had to practice giving up control and flowing with it a lot more than usual. Let’s chat about all the things that went wrong in Texas.
Everything That Could Go “Wrong”, Did
On our way through Texas, we drove 5+ hours one day and stopped for dinner next to our hotel. We booked the hotel before seeing it and eating dinner. We thought it’d be fine, but it was far from safe-looking. It was so sketchy, and there was no Wi-Fi or cable. It was truly something out of a horror movie. They wouldn’t let us cancel so we headed to our room to unpack and the room was even worse! We realized the AC wasn’t working and that was the moment they let us cancel. It was so late and we couldn’t find any chain hotels nearby on our phones. So we took off and trusted that we could find a good hotel in the next town.
The Next Town…
Well, the next town’s motels were even worse. A little defeated, we headed to a nearby gas station. My son cleaned our windshields and I played with the girls in the front seat. I was terrified and worried that we wouldn’t be able to find a place to sleep that night. Like I fully thought we’d be driving all night to get out of Texas and to an established town. But I didn’t let it phase me!
Mike and I just laughed and called it an adventure. We could have made the situation even worse, panicked, scared the kids, and ruined the adventure. Instead, we kept the adventure alive and the kids happy! When I was a kid, my mom and I made a cross country road trip from CA to MA. It’s such a core memory for me, but not in a good way. That’s not how I wanted my kids to remember this cross country road trip, so it wasn’t an option to freak out!
While planning how far we could get I decided to make one more search for hotels and found one by Hilton two min away! The night was saved! We cozied up in a safe hotel cuddling and laughing about the day’s festivities. This whole story is to say: be conscious of the energy you’re feeding. Whatever you feed is what will take over. If you’re feeding fear, frustration, and anger, your outlook on the situation and the redirection will be exactly that. And vice versa! There, of course, will always be a little of both, but this trip has shown me over and over again that I have a choice. When I choose positivity, fun, and the knowing that life is truly an adventure and everything is ok, I’m beyond rewarded.
Having a Stressful Moment? Here’s How to Overcome it
Life can be stressful. TRUST ME, I get it. My body is special and responds to stress physically. I have something called syncope. Normally, you’ll have an emotional response to stressors in your life, but because I’m just special like that I pass out from too much stress (eek). So I HAD to find ways to relax and decrease those stressors in my life or I’d be passing out all the time. Let’s chat a few tips & tricks I’ve practiced along the way to decrease the stressors in my life.
I use affirmations for everything but especially when I’m stressed or fearful. Affirmations can be anything! Personally, I repeat phrases like “I am safe”, “everything is working out perfectly”, or “I am okay” in my head when I’m feeling overwhelmed with stress & fear. If these don’t resonate with you, there are tons of examples of amazing affirmations on Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest! You have to trust that everything is coming together. Even if you don’t believe the affirmations to start out with, after repeating it in your head or out loud you’re brain starts to believe it as fact. Neuroscience has proven that affirmations rewire your brain! Which is always the goal when healing. This article goes over how affirmations help your mental health. Give it a read for sure!
When you feel the weight of stress on your chest, relax and breathe. Count your breaths, 4 in and 4 out. I, personally, hold my breath when I’m stressed so having this release is always the best!
Count to 4
When I’m super overwhelmed, especially with my kids, I’ll count to four over and over again in my head. It’s a type of meditation you can do no matter what you’re doing. It works great to stop mom rage from taking over, even in the middle of an internal storm.
When you’re feeling super overwhelmed, get some space! Go to the bathroom, to your bedroom, or anywhere to be alone and recenter for a second. A good cry can always help too while you’re getting some space!
Mindfulness has helped me so much in my journey to find the goodness in life. The practice of mindfulness is all about focusing on what’s going well instead of what isn’t. Pick three things in your head and feel gratitude for them. Sit and soak in that feeling of gratitude for a little while. I often get goosebumps during this and try to keep that feeling as long as possible!
How to Make Life Magical
Life is meant to be an adventure. Life is meant to be magical. It’s all about perspective and flowing with whatever comes. It’s not always rainbows and sunshine, but depending on your perspective it’s always magical! My husband knows best that my life can be truly magical with amazing things manifesting out of nowhere and little miracles. It never gets boring over here!
Signs & Synchronicities
Pay attention for signs and synchronicities from the universe. I think of them as winks from the universe, especially when I see 1111 and my number 4. Paying attention to these signs can help guide you through life and keep the adventure alive. If you have no clue what I’m talking about, I have a couple of blogs going over what these are and how to not ignore them!
Go with the flow.
I had a family member who used to always say to be like water. I only recently understood what he meant! Go with the current instead of against it. Flow around anything in your way instead of letting it bring you to a stop. Frustration is always my cue to relax into a situation and maybe look for alternative solutions. Plan, but be open to changes. When things aren’t working out there’s a reason!
Don’t take life too seriously! I used to find myself throwing internal and sometimes even external tantrums like a kid when things wouldn’t go my way. But it’d only make things worse. Whenever I laugh and loosen up, the situation becomes better and less debilitating. Have FUN.
It’s a psychological fact that just the act of forcing a smile on your face makes you feel better internally. Try it right now! Smile. How do you feel now? Better?
Trust the universe AND yourself. You know what feels off or isn’t right for you. The universe always has your best interests in mind. Follow the breadcrumbs even when you feel lost, the universe will surprise you. While you see what’s right in front of you there’s an all knowing force that sees the big picture!
This One’s For the Mamas
Parenting is beyond overstimulating and tantrums happen. We’re all human dealing with upsets, overwhelm, and stress. As parents, if we can remember to use these tools as often as possible life becomes easier. The more times you put them into practice, the more automatic they become. So next time you are super overwhelmed from your kiddos, try these practices to help overcome it!
When all else fails or even from the start of a meltdown; cuddle, hug, and show love! Acknowledge how they feel and state it back to them. “I know you’re disappointed/sad/frustrated but..” Remind yourself how little they actually are even if they seem so mature. Their brains literally aren’t developed yet, and they lack impulse control because of it. Google this! I promise they aren’t “manipulating you”, they just need a little connection and attention.
Mirror the energy you want them to have.
Mirror to them how you want the energy or their behavior to be. Don’t join their chaos by getting upset! Be as calm as possible and ask them to breathe together to calm down. I love this Puppy Mind book for teaching kids to breathe and be present when life get’s chaotic.
Put things into perspective.
Try to remember that the mess and chaos and overwhelm of this childhood stage will be over before you know it and you’ll miss parts of it. This always puts things into perspective for me. Don’t waste this precious time by dreading it, make the best of it!
How do you want them to feel?
Ask yourself how you want them to feel about their childhood & about you as a parent. It’s my goal in raising my kids to become a grandparent that is loved and adored one day. I want my kids to come to me for advice when they have kids so I’m constantly keeping that in mind!
YOU GOT THIS!
Life can be messy and stressful, but it’s my hope that with these tips in your corner you’ll be able to live life like the adventure it’s meant to be. Our cross country road trip might not have gone exactly to plan, but it’s better than I could have ever imagined! Let the universe guide you and make your life magical. Remember redirections aren’t always a bad thing! If you loved this blog and want more healing education, head to my blog! It’s chocked full of healing & mindfulness education. Let’s live life to the fullest and make your life magical again!