So, you’ve decided on adoption and have begun your journey . . . GREAT! Everyone is excited, but that’s because they’re not in the details. They don’t know how many times you’ve come “this close” to having your placement fall through, or how the paperwork is stuck on someone’s desk. They don’t know the roller coaster of emotions that is taking its toll on you, or the stress of finances you’re trying to juggle.

Sure, it’s exciting and you know you’ve made the right choice . . . but BOY IS IT EVER EXHAUSTING! Well, it’s time to rise out of the funk. Time to grab that bull by its horns and hop on again for the crazy ride. It’s time to pull up those bootstraps and trudge with renewed strength and energy through the thick, mucky mire of adoption red-tape. But how? Well, let’s start with filling your cup, empowering yourself, infusing your mind, body, and soul with renewed energy and excitement.

1. Give yourself a BE KIND TO ME day. This is not a cookie-cutter day, I can’t tell you exactly how it should look. The great thing is that YOU get to paint that day’s picture. What makes you feel pampered, relaxed, invigorated? Maybe it’s an entire day in your PJs having a Harry Potter marathon.  Maybe it’s kicking everyone out of the house, starting the day with a quick shower, then rearranging all the furniture, creating a “new” home.  Perhaps you feel great when you have $100 cash and spend the day shopping for nothing in particular. Whatever it is, give yourself an entire day. Guilt-free. Give yourself permission to be kind to yourself, then fully enjoy it, knowing that you truly deserve this treatment.

2. Vent. This might mean talking to a trusted friend, or it could mean stepping back in time, grabbing a pen and notebook, and writing until the writer’s cramp stops you.  With technology assisting us, there’s no end to great venting opportunities!  Blog, FaceTime with your grandma, or hit the “voice recorder” button on your phone and talk to no one in particular. Say it all!  Get it all out . . . all that stuff that you would never normally let escape your mouth. You shudder even to think it, but it’s there and it’s crowding your happiness. So let it out!

3. Do something for your physical health. It will make you feel better emotionally, too, I promise! Spend a day eating only to fuel, or extend your exercise time by a half hour. Go to bed early so you can rise earlier . . . it’s amazing what a good night’s sleep will do for you! Shut the door and take 10 minutes to breathe . . . just breathe. Focus on each breath as it comes in and as you let it go. Do a 15-minute easy yoga routine, even if you’ve never done it before. Walk the stairs instead of taking the elevator—and do that all day; and while you’re at it, park at the far side of the parking lot to give you ample walking time.

4. Forget about adoption for a day. Don’t talk about it, work on it, and for heaven’s sake, don’t think about it! Whatever you have to do to distract yourself, do it. Fill your day so you have no idle moments. Meet up with friends. Set a good book by your side of the bed so that even as you prepare to go to sleep, your mind will be occupied with something unrelated to adoption. A day away from it all may not change what’s happening, but it certainly could change your perspective.

There is nothing more rewarding than family . . . creating, adding to, nurturing, growing.  But the pendulum swings both ways. There is also nothing more exhausting. So remember throughout your adoption journey:  When it weighs you down, take time to focus on you.  The weight will lighten, the mood will brighten, and in the end, it will all work out.