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  • Dr. Liz Homan

HALT! Am I responding or reacting?

Alright ladies, I am going to get a little personal with you right now. I have not been liking the mom that I have been being lately. I feel like I have been loosing my shit a little too easily... At first I was thinking that it was some behavioral issue with Anna but what I have come to realize, through some reading and reflecting, is that she is feeding off of my energy. And when I get upset with her, she responds to my negative energy with more negative behavior and it is a bad cycle. This usually leads to an exhausting day and me feeling burnt out and just done at the end of the day… not really how I like to feel…

What I have found is that when I respond to her behavior instead of reacting to it, our days go much smoother! It has been a challenge to figure out how to respond instead of react, but I found something that I want to share with you all.

We are much more likely to react instead of respond when our personal needs are not met. I think we have all known that, and I know I have talked about self-care in the past, but what I read recently has really made an impact on me. It is the acronym HALT.

Okay, so HALT stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. When you experience two or more of these at one time, you are going to be much more likely to react instead of responding. So, let’s break them down.

Hungry. I mean when I am hungry, I do not have the focus or patience to deal with things. So make sure that you are eating a nutritious diet and satisfying meals so that you are not getting lows and spikes in your energy. If you do notice that you are getting hungry, slip away for a bit and grab a nutritious snack- maybe a handful of nuts or some fresh fruit- and then go back to what you were doing!

Angry. There are so many levels of anger. We could be angry with what is going on in the world around us, we could be angry at our spouse or we could be angry with ourselves. No matter what the source of our anger is, it is important to experience it and then let it go! There is no benefit in holding onto it and letting it grow inside of us! A few ways that I get my anger out is journaling, deep breathing, or dancing. Yes, dancing around the kitchen with the music up loud… who can stay angry in that environment.

Lonely. Unfortunately, we have to “social distance” right now for hopefully just a bit longer. But what I want you to know is that you do not have to stop all socializing! You can still call and talk to friends and family. No, you may not be able to meet friends for drinks, but you can still feel connected by either talking or texting back and forth! Remember, we are all going through the same thing right now and we could all use a little extra support. So, reach out to a friend or family member if you are feeling lonely. My guess is they are feeling the same way.

Tired. As a mom, we never know if we are going to get a full night’s sleep or be woke up several times a night. At least that is the case in our house. It is so hard to predict what the night will bring which is why I encourage you all to get to sleep at a reasonable time so that you have the energy that you need for the day. And if you didn’t get a good night’s sleep, see if there is a chance of you grabbing just a 10 minute power nap to feel energized through the rest of the day.

Above and beyond making sure that you are taken care of, I want to make sure that you are also giving yourself grace. Our children give us so much grace. I mean, we can react to one of their behaviors in a negative way but then 10 minutes later they are acting like nothing happened and coming up and giving us hugs. BUT, are we giving ourselves that grace as well? Or are we holding onto the negative feeling of what we just did. We need to let go of those emotions and move on from that experience. Because our kids already have.

I would love for you to try this out this coming week and let me know how things shift in your life! Try to make sure that your needs are met and that you do not have 2 of the above happening at one time. This has made a huge difference in my life and I hope that it helps you be the mom that you know you can be and the mom that you want to be!

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