“Dear Cousin, I’m thinking about starting a new revenue generating blog, but not sure I can take this on right now. My current site is working well, and the additional project would be a great income earner, but first I just have to locate and install my mojo – it ebbs and flows quite a bit during basketball season.”
I wrote this to my tech-savvy cousin via email several years back as we were discussing new work projects. Over the years, I’ve joked about losing my “mojo” during intense periods of child-rearing.
You know, those times when you’ve been up all night with sick babies, or your husband’s out of town, or it’s been raining for two weeks straight and your kids are climbing up the walls, (or you’re married to a basketball coach and you haven’t seen your husband before 10 pm for several months, like me).
Some people think of mojo as a charm, magic power or even sexual prowess, but the mojo I’m referring to is, according to the Urban Dictionary, “Self-confidence, Self-assuredness. As in basis for belief in ones self in a situation.” It can also refer to how one bounces back after a negative situation.
The more worn out I am, the less capable I feel of being confident and “on my game.”
My cousin artfully replied back, “I checked on Google Play and iTunes. Both sites have your mojo. You can download it there. Or if needed, I can send you a mojo file in an email. One click and it is installed.”
If only it were that simple.
But first, let’s laugh for a minute. You might remember the slightly tasteless movie, Austin Powers, and how he lost his mojo. It might be his silly puns or his bad teeth, but he pokes fun in such humorous ways, it’s hard not to find him lovable:
Okay, now back to the serious discussion of how to regain one’s lost mojo.
It’s always interesting to me the times in which I choose to write. Sometimes I have a great article idea that falls by the wayside until life catches up to me, teaching me a lesson related to the idea I hoped to pen.
In terms of this article, I procrastinated writing it for several months, although, trust me, between four kids, a dog, a business, and a basketball coach for a husband, I have lots of fodder from prior years to write about losing my mojo.
But this past weekend, having used up nearly every ounce of energy to support my daughter in her winter musical through a local Christian theater group (note: lots of volunteer hours plus six shows), I was nearly spent.
Then Sunday, we had a massive toilet overflow situation of the worst kind (we’re talking Shop Vac, fans, hair dryers and lots and lots of disinfectant), followed by my 13-year old waking up at 1 am violently vomiting every 20 minutes.
After getting a couple of hours of sleep, I woke up to my younger son waking me up to tell me that my daughter was mysteriously covered in throw up. Her older brother has mistakenly gone into her room and accidentally thrown up all over her bed and floor–thinking he was in the bathroom (yes, that’s how sick he was).
Happy Monday morning.
After not one, but two showers (I missed the vomit in her hair the first time), my daughter was ready for school. After miraculously getting the three younger kids to school on time, I returned to piles of laundry and carpet that needed steam cleaning.
I was still doing laundry from the toilet overflow, then add to it sheets and blankets to wash, a sick kid to take care of, oh yeah, and it was regular laundry day which normally consists of seven or so loads.
As a bonus, later that day I went downstairs and discovered that our dog had tracked poop in and it was all over the family room rug. She got a bath, I got a bath, and I had the joy of shampooing the rug downstairs as well.
Calgon, take me away!”
Can you say “lost mojo?”
So here in three steps you have a simplified “recipe” for regaining your lost mojo (I am still in the process of following these steps as I write):
Step 1 – Sleep
Often, going through emotional and/or physical ordeals mean that we are taxed physically. We are worn out and have tapped out all available resources.
We need rest.
We need a nap.
We need to go to bed early.
We need to leave the floor scrubbing and counter wiping for another day.
After each baby I had (I have four kids), people would offer good wisdom, “nap when the baby naps.” That sounds ridiculous, but I don’t think I would have survived having all these great kids if I didn’t take naps. I perfected the art of the 20 minute power nap. It’s like hitting the reset button and drinking a shot of espresso. I highly recommend it.
Go to bed early.
It’s hard to go to bed early, but it is one of the few ways to “get a leg up” and restore your lost mojo. Last night, my husband and I were in bed at 8:30 pm. This doesn’t happen very often, but we were so wiped out we new that we wouldn’t make it through the week if we didn’t sleep more, like right now.
While going to bed two hours early might not be possible, try going to bed 30 minutes earlier for three or four nights in a row.
It’s possible just a little extra sleep will help you regain your mental focus and press the reset button.
Step 2 – Go Slow
When you’ve gone down hard like the underdog in a prize fight, you might stand up eventually, but chances are you’ll still be worn out and in pain.
I have Fibromyalgia so my body is basically like an old failing car when the alternator begins to go out. First the AC starts blowing hot instead of cold, then the warning lights begin blinking, then the engine dies. If I pile on too much and don’t take breaks, the “engine fail” lights start blinking in the way of pain.
Even if you don’t have a chronic condition, your back might flare up, your head begins aching, and old injuries start screaming at you.
Take it slow. Give yourself a break in the form of kindness by taking time for yourself. Meet a friend for lunch. Go for a relaxing walk. Get a massage. Read a magazine. Watch a TV show. R-E-L-A-X and be kind to yourself. (I’m really, really bad at this).
You’ll probably find that when you’re nice to yourself and give yourself a break during tough times when you’ve just been through the wringer, you will eventually feel better.
In her recent book, Give Yourself a Break, Kim Fredrickson says, “We are with ourselves 100 percent of the time. The way you interact with yourself has a greater impact on your than any interactions you have with others. You have a critically important choice about whom you go through life with. Will it be with a kind friend or a harsh inner critic?”
Don’t be your own worst enemy. Be kind to yourself–especially during difficult times.
Step 3 – Ask for Help
I’ve written about asking for help before, something I’m incredibly bad at. There are all different situations we might be rebounding from–from short illnesses, to financial problems, to cancer, to losing a loved one–any of these can wipe us out and take us “out of the game” so to speak.
Asking for help can mean the difference of sinking or swimming. Ask a friend to drive your kids to school (thanks Kelly!), order a pizza or make an extremely simple dinner, ask your husband to go to the store–whatever you need–ASK FOR HELP!
We serve a God who knows our needs before even we are aware of them. He loves us with a kind of love we’ve never experienced; a kind of love that supersedes any human relationship, yet he allows His love to be shown by others to others in a way that helps get us through.
From the prophet Jeremiah, speaking words God had given him to the chosen people (first the Israelites and now everyone):
I have loved you with a love that lasts forever.
And so with unfailing love,
I have drawn you to myself,” Jeremiah 31:3 CEB
And from 2 Corinthians 1:3-5:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”
I’m thankful that with a bit more rest, a smidge of kindness towards myself, a dollop of help from friends and family, and God’s promises of love and comfort–I have the recipe for lost mojo to tackle better days ahead.