I know quite a few people right now who are feeling bad – heck, I just came out of a hard time myself thanks to stupid breast cancer. Post election blues, pneumonia (waves hand), personal crises, major medical issues, depression, anxiety and holiday stress. I know, it’s a lot. And you know what? It’s OK.
It’s OK to feel bad. Life is hard and it gets us down from time to time. You’re only human and it’s bound to get to you sooner or later.
You aren’t, nor do you have to be, SUPER WOMAN.
You are allowed to be bummed that you and your sister got into a fight and aren’t talking. You are allowed to stand up for yourself if you’ve had enough of an abusive friendship. You are allowed a day or two or three to recuperate if you are sick. Heck, you’re allowed to have a bad day.
Take a day (or an afternoon) to stay in your pajamas and watch Christmas movies or eat cake. Roll around in your sadness. Feel it deep down in your bones. Cry. Wail. Keen if it is what is needed. Write down what is bothering you and burn it. Have coffee with a trusted friend and unload. Do what ever it is that your gut tells you you need to do – providing that it is safe and legal, mind you.
The key is not to take too long.
The longer you take the harder it is to get back on track.
Get it out of your system.
If it’s a BIG issue you might need to tell yourself that you are going to wallow for exactly three days (or 10 or 30) and then you will work on coming out of it.
Give yourself the time you need to process what is happening and recover. Get counseling, see your priest or minister, go to a grief group.
DO NOT feel guilty for this time you need to take care of you and your emotional state. It is NOT a weakness. Self care is critical to your health!
Then start working your way back to you.
Write a list of the things you love about your life. The things you are grateful for.
Make a list of a few small things to look forward to.
Can’t think of anything coming up?
MAKE something to look forward to. Commit a Random Act of Kindness – simply paying for the coffee of the person behind you in line is such a mood booster! For both of you.
Plan to bake cookies and take them to a friend who is down. You may decide to leave them and run away real quick because you don’t want to get sucked into their issues. You just want to help them (and yourself) feel better. When you are hurting isn’t the time to allow yourself to get drawn into someones drama.
Practice saying, “I’m sorry I can’t stay, I have something else I need to get to but I wanted to drop these off real quick and let you know I was thinking about you.”
Buy tickets to an upcoming concert or make a date with yourself to see a movie that is due out soon. It doesn’t have to be a major production, just find a few things to look forward to.
Make a gratitude list. Being grateful is actually a trait that people work on. It’s not just there for some and not for others. You have access to that sense of well-being and gratitude just like they do. Make a list – start with the basics – family, home, cat, etc and then work your way into the smaller things. Stars, the smell of hot coffee, freshly washed laundry, a favorite movie, flowers. You get the idea. Work that list until you can’t think of another single thing. And then come back and add to it often. Nightly if you wish.
Get back to work. Sometimes, after you’ve had your day or two to wallow all you’ll need to do is make a list of things that need doing, roll up your sleeves and get sweaty. Clean out the fridge, scrub the bathroom, tear your bedroom apart and make it fresh and inviting. Go for a hike or a run. Get the blood pumping and work those bad feelings right out of your system.
Remember you are not alone. We all have times when we are feeling bad. Every one of us. It doesn’t make you less of a mother, wife or friend. It makes you human. Be as good to yourself as you would be to a friend who was going through a similar time. Be good and gentle with yourself and then get back to business.
Now, I know that this won’t work for everyone and I don’t mean to over-simplify anyone’s trials. Some of us simply have so many burdens or a chemical imbalance that makes it feel impossible to cope. I want you to PROMISE ME that if you feel like you just can’t be here another single day that you will pick up the phone and all the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255. You can even chat online here.