Monthly Archives: September 2015

Enjoying life and finding hope through daydreaming

Dreaming big and living well!

Dreaming big and living well!

I have a confession to make: I’m a 30-something adult with a big crush on someone! And, even though it’s nothing more than me daydreaming, it brings fun and hope into my life. It puts me in a good mood and makes me want to be and feel pretty. It makes me want to listen to romantic music and smile.

It’s not even a realistic crush, but the daydreaming is like a form of meditation. I sit and let my thoughts drift off so I can think about pleasant scenes and forget my daily stress for a while. It’s like a mental vacation, (with a cute guy ;)) So, today I did some searching online about the value of daydreaming. I found a lot of technical articles about how letting your mind wander can lead to big ideas and inventions, but I also found another shorter article about how daydreams give us hope. I could really relate to several of the ideas in this post:

Wishing and Hoping and Daydreaming

To quote the author, Amy Fries:

We daydream for a variety of reasons, and one reason is they give us hope and help get us through the rough and boring patches of life. This isn’t a small thing. All of us face our challenging days, and without the capacity to envision a brighter future or new goals, life would be bleak indeed.

 

That is how I feel. I like the idea that daydreams empower us even when we aren’t at the best spot in our lives. They keep us hopeful and that is important to keep going.

Another quote from the article spoke to me in particular:
While the relationship between daydreams and depression isn’t entirely clear, there are some theories that depression is marked by a lack of daydreaming–in other words, when depressed, we lose our ability to daydream in ways that boost us when feeling low or amuse us when tired or bored.

I’ve always been a dreamer. I was an avid reader as a kid, and I was always staring out windows, (and getting in trouble in school,) because my head was figuratively in the clouds. I loved making up stories and daydreaming about my future. Like many girls, I used to daydream about growing up and marrying a prince charming. I remember when I married my first abusive spouse, I was desperately in love, (or so I thought.) When he started being controlling and critical every day, my daydreaming stopped abruptly. It was like the horror of finding out all my daydreams were wrong killed my hope for the future. I remember telling my therapist that I didn’t daydream anymore. I just had a very gray and bleak vision of what life was going to be like with that man.

When I realized I no longer daydreamed, I felt sad. It was like a part of me had changed and lost my wistful positivity. It was like losing a part of my personality.

But, not forever! I am feeling much more like my old self these days. Even though nothing especially exciting is going on in my life, I feel alive, pretty, hopeful, confident…and like dreaming again. It’s a great feeling!

Daydreams at Work: Wake Up Your Creative Powers
And there is science to back up the benefits of letting your mind wander and take a break…. For example: research shows that when we give our brains a break, our brains have a chance to process things we’ve been learning and we can remember things better.

Daydreaming also correlates with better working memory.

I also found articles that say daydreaming increases happiness and hope, it enhances productivity, it can help build empathy and more.

If nothing else, I know that drifting away into fantasy land gives me a welcome break and helps me think of the good things I’d like to add to my life. I’m enjoying my crush ;)

Taking care of yourself as a single mom when you have no support

“I restore myself when I’m alone.” Marilyn Monroe
Like many women, I am a single mom. Like not as many women, I have absolutely no family to back me up during emergencies, or even on a normal day when I could use a break. I can go months at a time without ever having time for myself. I go to work, then I come home to be a mom. I haven’t even been able to get to the doctor or dentist recently because there is too much going on at all times. Not that I don’t want to be a mom, but I think I’d prefer to be a mom who had a couple hours alone once a month or so! Being a mom is a 24/7 job that takes a lot of physical and emotional strength, and it’s only human–and healthy–to need a break to replenish your inner strength. But…I don’t get one. I don’t have a functional family that I feel safe around, and I don’t have spare money for a baby-sitter. So…I constantly seek ways to pamper myself a little without actually spending time alone.

I know other moms who get girls’ nights out, go to salons for a “me” day, get together with friends, go to movies, and have time to do things for themselves. I’m a little jealous in a sad way, because I know a happy and well-rested mom with a support system can be a better mom, (or at least it’s easier to be a good mom when you have back-up!) Sometimes I worry that my kids aren’t getting as good of a childhood because they don’t have the support of a bigger family, and because it’s all on ME to make sure they turn out okay. Yikes! So, I make an effort to find replenishment in little ways that help me stay peaceful and strong.

Recently I saw another parent looking for ways to get a break without actually getting away, (and that one wasn’t even single!) so I know I’m not the only one. What are some ways to get a few minutes for you when you can’t leave your home or your children?

Here are some of mine:
1. Buy a new bottle of fingernail polish, then paint my nails. I get to feel pretty at work the next day!
2. Stay up late to watch a movie or show I like after the kids go to bed. (Then daydream about the leading man ;) )
3. Take an extra few minutes to use my favorite lotion and massage my feet.
4. Eat some fattening food and enjoy it without feeling guilty.
5. Listen to my favorite music, (through my ear phones,) after the kids sleep.
6. Repeat the song I like best over and over until I have heard it as much as I want to!
7. Look through humorous websites until I’m laughing.
8. Look at happy photos from my photo albums.
9. Waste time doing nothing…without feeling guilty.
10. Chat with a friend by phone or online.

And of course…read and write blogs!

Having strong boundaries and dating deal breakers–and sticking to them!

laymitrustgiftglowinghands I was thinking earlier about dating and how some people have very strict guidelines for what they want in a relationship. Sometimes we call them deal breakers….

In my own experience, I have an ideal in mind. I know that there are certain qualities that are essential to me. BUT, in the past, I have almost always let them slide. I have dated too many people who weren’t a good match for me, and I knew it from the start. Maybe there was something they did that I found ethically unacceptable, or a belief they held that I thought was really awful, or any other personality trait. Knowing that something made me uncomfortable, I’d still date someone that I knew wasn’t a good match. Why? I always thought I was being very open-minded and I was great at compromising. How about…I wasn’t being true to the qualities that mattered to me? I’m not talking about a cute butt or nice wavy hair, but about core religious or political values, life goals…things that matter.

I’ve always been super shy, so I was just so glad that someone wanted to date me, that I never stopped to wait for someone who was more my type! On the other hand, I know people who will refuse to start a relationship when they know there is a deal breaker. I just turned fuzzy and waived what should have been deal breakers for me, but people who have stronger self-esteem, more patience, and more respect for themselves seem to be better at making choices that will enhance their lives in the long run.

There’s something to be said for giving everyone a chance, but there’s also something to be said for holding strong to the qualities that are very important to us. That’s a lesson I’ve had to learn–very painfully–in life.

I know my tendency to “over compromise” and to be very long-suffering has a lot to do with my having dated more than one abusive man. If one of them did something that would scare away a girl with more sense, I’d just ignore it and keep trying to make the relationship good. Lost cause!

I am learning to be the woman who says “that is not good for me, and it’s not what I’m looking for in a relationship” when it’s obvious that the relationship is not going to go well.