These past few weeks have been hard. Without getting into specifics, I had planned for something fun for my family which turned out to be anything but. It ended up being very stressful for everyone. This on top of an ongoing legal issue. Then I received multiple counts of very sad news of loss and illness from friends and family. (When it rains, it pours, people!). I admit, I was feeling REALLY low. I hadn’t felt that way in some time. I basically wanted to curl up in a ball and wish for simpler times. For myself and for all those that I care about.
I woke up yesterday still in a funk. The adult in me knew the steps to take to get me out of the funk but my God, the surly and hurt inner child in me was resistant! Nevertheless, I forged ahead.
I wanted to lay in bed until the last possible second before getting ready for work. Instead, I got up to exercise. It was THE LAST THING I wanted to do but I know that exercise is a natural mood lifter. I sucked it up and did my 30 min of my C25K app. I wish I could tell you that I had rainbows and unicorns popping out of my head but that was not the case. However, I did feel better that I had done something positive for myself and less lethargic.
Step 2: Get Organized
I also straightened up my room. I don’t know why but cleanliness and orderliness make my foggy brain seem to function more smoothly. It calms me too. I guess it makes me feel like I have a sense of control. There’s quite a bit around me right now that is outside of my control and I guess I find that unsettling. A clean room? Calming.
Step 3: Get Zen
Next, I sat down to meditate quietly. I did my deep breathing. I tried positive visualization. I’ll be honest, it was a stretch. Again, I did not experience much immediate relief but I did feel more centered and very much aware that my low feelings were temporary. This too, shall pass.
Step 4: Get Inspired
I picked up "A Course in Miracles" (ACIM). I read a passage almost every morning. Ironically, the passage I opened up to was about guilt. I had so much guilt over the turn of events with the family outing-turned-debacle. And in trying to discuss the turn of events with my family, I feel like I transferred some of that guilt on to my loved ones. Honestly, I felt even shittier afterwards and I think they did too!
ACIM describes guilt as a form of fear and the result deep unconscious belief in wrongdoing. It’s judgment at its worst. Guilt is healed and released with forgiveness (a form of love). My takeaway? I need to forgive my perfectionist self and in doing so, give her some self-love.
Step 5: Be Grateful (Get Grateful is grammatically painful to my ears)
Lastly, I cracked open my gratitude journal. Oh joy, I thought. (Insert sarcasm) I get to come up with 5 things to be grateful for in the midst of all of this. Here is what I wrote:
- Helping my son bake macarons after our craptastic afternoon. He definitely brightened up and was so proud of himself and happy for my help.
- Having my daughter’s bestie and dog over for dinner and play. Instant therapy!
- A good night’s sleep – it is hands-down my favorite activity in the whole world. It is so restorative. It’s like hitting the reset button. Yesterday however, not as much. It was more like getting a power up so I can keep going.
- My daughter surprising me with dark chocolate from the mall because she knew it would cheer me up. It’s also known to be a mood booster too so I ate it all but I’m feeling slightly less grateful about that part…
- Getting to kiss my eldest goodbye as she left for the day
Step 6: Pray
When you are feeling helpless, like there’s not much you can do, there is always prayer. In prayer, you are simply asking for help from your higher power.
So I prayed. I prayed for my friends and family going through difficulties. I prayed for strength and I prayed for the doom and gloom to be lifted from me. As they say, I gave it up to God.
I often forget about this step. I forget that I am not on this journey alone; that it’s OK to ask for guidance, signs, relief, etc. And it’s incredibly empowering to do so because really, when there is nothing you can do about a situation, you CAN always pray. Prayer IS a form of action. And that matters -- especially to the doer in me.
Bonus Step: Write It Out
I thought that was it, but the last step I realize, is this post. I had forgotten how cathartic it is to just write and get it all out: the fear, the uncomfortable feelings, the remorse. I am no longer giving life to the negativity in my head because now it’s on paper. And seeing all of this on paper gives me clarity and a sense of empowerment. I took concrete steps to address, feel and release the feelings that were bringing me down and they are helping.
Life can get really tough at times and make us feel powerless, but there are things we can do to better our situation or if nothing else, our emotions. I hope this helps you too with whatever you are dealing with. If you have other strategies, please share them in the comments.
Yours in peace & love,