Unless you’ve been hiding in some far off corner of the globe over the last week, you’d be aware that the UK is in the midst of a heatwave. Cue the frenzied panic of people fighting for tables in beer gardens and the rush to the nearest supermarket to purchase a mini barbecue kit. Packing your summer into a few sticky, humid days leaves much to be desired and if I’m quite honest, I’m over it.
I’ve been left feeling stagnant, struggling to keep a positive outlook on everything and the things that once served me clarity, now have little effect. I’ve been cursing myself over the lack of enthusiasm I have for these sun filled days that we’ve been experiencing, spending most of my time (when not working) tucked away at home watching episode after episode of Sex In The City and Bob’s Burgers. I can’t seem to escape the guilt when I see friends out having fun and I’m gazing out the window, unable to summon any energy.
Right now I feel the need to justify myself. I have been trying to overcome this slump, I’ve filled my days with yoga and tidying, I’ve cared for my body by eating fresh foods and I’ve made sure that I haven’t been sitting in bed wallowing. It’s just not working this time. So I’m coming to a conclusion today; maybe it’s okay to let ourselves not be okay. Maybe we try so hard to get back on top of things so quickly, to fix things at the first sign of trouble, that we disconnect from ourselves even more.
When things start to dip and our moods begin to drop we stop focusing on what our bodies and minds want, we begin to panic, we rush to quick fixes, things that may have worked before but aren’t necessarily going to work this time. So maybe yoga helped pick you back up last time you felt this way, or maybe writing in a journal helped the time before that. Great! Those are wonderful outlets, but what if this time your body needs a cry? or it really wants a bit of chocolate cake and a soppy chick flick? We need to realise that even though these things aren’t exactly ‘healthy’ or ‘productive,’ sometimes it’s just what we need!
When my mood begins to falter I go to panic mode, I don’t want to slip back into the darkness so I will try everything to get back on track. A couple of years ago I would have used food and self harm in attempt to feel better, I would over eat, purge and hurt myself. At the time I felt that it was the only way I could feel comfort. Of course, now, I have much healthier copping mechanisms, but maybe these new ways of copping aren’t always right.
After giving it some thought I’ve realised that there are a few things we can return to whenever we feel a little low or a little out of sorts. These exercises aren’t designed to make you feel better straight away, but they might help you focus on what’s happening under the surface when you can’t quite put your finger on it.
1. Accept your feelings
There have been heaps of times when I’ve tried to ignore my feelings, attempting to plaster on a happy face and pretend that I’m okay, when really I’m anything but. I did everything within my power to distract myself from all these negative emotions and even if it worked, that benefit was short lived. The emotion would be suppressed for a small amount of time but it would soon rear it’s ugly head.
We need to learn how to tune in and release that inner turmoil, to accept that this is where we are right now and it’s okay. These feelings matter and they will pass.
So have a quiet word with yourself:
‘I’m feeling really (insert emotion here) right now and it’s okay, I am here for myself and I will be okay.’
2. Change your internal voice
Stop telling yourself that these feelings will never go away, because they will. Your depression will lighten, your anxiety will ease and you will overcome it. Move away from the negative self talk, don’t let it consume you. Replace that negative voice with one of positivity and hope.
I am strong, I will overcome this
If that moment comes when you’re feeling breathless, tears are flowing and you just can’t seem to catch a break, make sure you take a moment to reconnect and breathe.
Breathe slow and deep, all the way down into your belly. Helping you calm the physical symptoms and in turn, calming the mind too. Remind yourself that you are safe and this too will pass.
Like I said before, these three things will not magically cure your sadness or anger or other difficult emotions, but they might just aid the process. I’m a strong believer in taking the time to reconnect to your body, to listen and work out what is really needed during that moment. So on that note, I’m going to put on Gossip Girl and have a slice of cake.
Take care my loves.