Feeling better on difficult days

As our daughter turns one, we’re having a bit run of difficult days. Nothing we can’t handle, and it’s largely due on her sleeping (not sleeping!). It’s got me thinking about things that make a difference when life is feeling trickier.

Here’s what gets me feeling better on difficult days. These actions help me support our daughter and to do my best with gentle parenting.

1. Moving my body

Some days, just getting out of bed feels more than I can manage.

Moving my body is the last thing I want to do on those days. But, moving my body always helps with things feeling better.

This can include:

  • Having a five minute dance with my daughter. Songs my daughter is enjoying right now include Iko Iko, and Smoke on the water, which are both great to bop along to
  • Cleaning and doing the laundry energetically
  • Taking a walk. I keep banging on about it, but I’m taking part in the walk 1000 miles challenge for the second year. This challenge seems to help me to move my body, day after day, and even when I don’t really want to.
  • Yoga and stretching. I’ve been really surprised how tight my muscles get within the course of my everyday life, and in particular my hip flexors. Pigeon pose sorts this right out.

2. Getting outside

Getting outside seems to help my daughter with feeling better on difficult days too. Even the grumblest days seem to be resolved by being outside.

I think the outside light before midday really helps me. This can be getting active, or just taking a cup of tea to the garden or park.

Some days we find time or space to get outside more than once throughout the day. Days with more time outside tend to be good days, and charge my batteries for several days to come.

3. Prayers

I grew up going to church, and then spent a good number of years not attending. Recently, I’ve been finding time and space to pray – reflecting on things I’m grateful for, and things I need help and support with. I think of this in a religious way, but lots of people don’t (mindfulness, journalling, gratitude). I particularly love Phillipians 4:8:

 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

4. Keeping our home tidy and organised

Keeping on top of housework is one of the things that helps me feeling better on difficult days, and it’s taken me a really long time to realise it. Doing the laundry, tidying toys and books back onto the shelves, and keeping our kitchen tidy all make a sizeable difference to how I feel.

The difficulty and slight irony of this, is that housework is often one of the first things to slide: when I’m having a hard time, these things fall out of whack.

It helps me to think of clearing up as investing my time into making our house into a home for our family. This helps me stay buoyed up, and not get too down about the endlessness of the housework grind.

I have no particular system for keeping our home tidy, other than a loose weekly rota, which looks like:

  • Bedrooms change cot / bed sheets, dust, hoover
  • Bathroom and lavatory: daily minor clean, weekly through clean including wash floor
  • Laundry: daily, as required
  • Living room: dust and general tidying, daily and weekly
  • Hoovering: throughout the house weekly, tidying throughout the house daily
  • Kitchen: washing up, wiping surfaces, and sweeping the kitchen floor after every meal

5. Napping

It makes me embarrassed how much sometimes a nap can help with feeling better.

6. Connecting with friends and family

Being intentional about who I surround myself with makes a big difference to how I feel. On a tricky day, speaking to someone other than my husband can be a life saver.

7. Cooking a vegetable

I feel better when we are cooking and eating normal food. Feeling better on difficult days is sometimes a case of making an effort to make normal food, even if I don’t want to.

I’d love to hear about you, in the comments or on @wholemealmum or #wholemealmum.

What do you do to help yourself with feeling better on difficult days?


Mother of a baby girl, born in July 2021. Finding my way with it all. Recipes, parenting, and walking.

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