Life is unpredictable. There will inevitably be weeks or months where your balance is completely thrown off. The best we can do is roll with punches: savor the good, prepare for the worst, and most importantly, learn from our mistakes.
I’m still learning to make peace with the difficult season that just passed. There’ve been incredibly heavy days, but I got through every one of them so far. If you’re in the middle of a storm, I’m writing to let you know you will get through it too. We can’t change the past, but we can always claim responsibility for the messes we created (both in our heads and in real life), and take what was meant to overwhelm us, and use it to overcome.
I’m not here to minimize anyone’s pain, nor am I a mental health expert. I’m simply coming from my experience. Here are 5 things I’ve been doing to get myself to a less-dark place:
1. Move your body.
Exercise gets you into your body and out of your head. It’s a delicious distraction, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be exhausting or time consuming! I prefer high energy group workout classes (indoor cycling, Zumba, Barre3) or cardio like running or swimming. You can’t go wrong with endorphins.
2. Go offline.
This is tough since much of work and social interaction is done online. But oftentimes, the “drama” we experience comes from being too plugged into what “everyone else” is doing. Limiting screen time brings us back to reality and lowers the noise to a minimum.
3. Leverage your routine.
On my messiest days, it’s a struggle to even get out of bed. To help myself, I started to audit my time through a simple schedule. Mapping out my activities, listing baby steps, and plotting when I would get to each task has done wonders. I use a humble sketchpad for this. I also follow a morning routine (make my bed, drink my juices, journal 2-3 pages) so that I can have a framework for “winning” each morning.
4. Ask for help.
Sometimes you just really need to lower your pride and admit you need help. When you start transferring your pain to others through words and actions, it’s a signal that something is deeply hurting inside. Seek comfort in trusted friends and family, or if at all possible, see a professional therapist. Psychotherapy has been a real source of clarity in managing my depression and anxiety. Understanding my triggers, traumas, and delusions has been humbling and overall, healing.
5. Keep creating!
Whether it’s arts or whatever allows you to express yourself: PLEASE KEEP DOING MORE OF IT! Expression is survival. It offers a way out for those corrosive feelings within. By casting the light of creativity on our shadows, we transmute suffering into wisdom, pain into meaning. When you own your insecurities, they no longer own you. That’s the power in telling your story.
These 5 tips make up my basic strategy to recalibrate my perspective so I can live to see another day. I can’t choose what life brings but focusing on what I can control (my self-care, perspective, expression) equips me with strength to keep going. Others can be strong for you, but ultimately you have to choose this for yourself.
Everyday, I’m choosing gratitude. I’m grateful to be able to fail and try again, to get hurt and heal, to survive and thrive. I’m grateful to still be alive.
With love & intensity,