I may have put my foot in my mouth when, a few months ago, I claimed that "strolling the aisles of Target didn't constitute self-care." Or maybe I just haven't been doing it right this whole time. Because, recently I managed to completely turn my mood around with a quick trip to the bulls eye and an off-the-cuff mantra chanted in my car.
Labor Day weekend was hot and rainy and basically miserable. So my husband decided that it would be a perfect weekend for a bbq. I immediately started panicking and thinking about all of the dishes that needed to be washed, things that need to be prepared/purchased/hidden/thrownaway/remodeled/reupholstered/repainted/etc.. And that was just in the kitchen. The thought of a party immediately started causing me stress and anxiety.
I'm a great but often unwilling hostess so it was going to require a titanic-sized pregame mind shift to change my mood. Oh, and it basically had to be instantaneous.
So, the morning of the bbq my children and husband are driving me insane. The mood was not good. I was crabby and complaining and biting everyone's head off.
So, what did I do? I ran from my house as fast as womanly possible, grabbed my favorite new apple AirPod earbuds, and headed to the place where moms go to be understood, see friends, and restock every inch of their lives with "necessities": Target.
My mood was foul. I put on my "New Mood" playlist. It’s basically my Rachel Hollis' inspired list of "songs that make me feel like a badass" and blasted them as loud as I could take it. I got out of my car and walked through the parking lot into that Target with my (totally fake) badass attitude. I walked up and down the aisles picking out hamburger buns and tortilla chips as if everything was exploding around me, like the most awesome movie you've ever seen, the loudest, angriest, music I could muster from my playlist, blasting in my ears.
When I got back into my car, some 20 minutes later, I realized that I was SO close to flipping my mood but it just. wasn't. quite. there. I was so frustrated. And still irritable. The party was in a few hours and I had another 10 minutes before I was home. I didn't want the day to be a bad one just because I was in a funk! I had to do something more.
Years ago, I used to force myself to fake smile when I need a mood change. It was SUPER cheesy but I read somewhere that when your face is in the shape of a smile, it triggers something in your brain to make it think it actually IS smiling so you actually feel like you would if you were smiling. Meaning that I could basically fake myself into a good mood.
If that had worked in the past, I figured smiling AND telling myself that I was in a good mood would work even faster. I sat in that car in the Target parking lot and plastered the biggest, fakest grin on my face. And then I started to talk.
"I want to be in a better mood.”
“I want to be in a better MOOD.”
“I WANT to be in a BETTER MOOD! I WANT to be in a BETTER MOOD."
That turned into, "I'm going to be in a good mood. I'm GOING to be in a good mood. I'm IN a good mood."
"I am in a GREAT mood. I AM IN A GREAT MOOD!"
I started talking to myself. In my car. Out loud. And I talked. And talked. And I repeated the same phrases over and over again. Fake smile and all. Until my words began to change. Became more positive. Stronger. Happier. My voice got louder. Stronger. Happier. Exactly what I wanted my mood to be. I said what I wanted to feel as though I was already feeling it.
And, then, maybe because I felt so ridiculous, at which point I no longer could feel irritated and annoyed, I actually started to feel good. Better. It was working. It HAD worked. Woah.
I pulled into my driveway ten minutes later and felt different. So much better. I hadn't really done anything that extraordinary and I hadn't been gone all that long, but I was changed. And I felt good. And the rest of the day was a lot of fun.
It’s a amazing thing, isn’t it? Mindset. How’s your mindset today? Maybe you need a quick run to Target? You don’t even have to buy anything. Just walk those aisles like you own the B and tell me you don’t feel better.