The Down Day Survival Guide
We all have them. Those days when we've lost whatever effervescent playfulness we've got. When life feels like it's railing against us, and as tight as we may be clinging to our hope, or our self worth, or just our sanity in general it feels like a loosing battle. The days when the voice of self doubt somehow got its hands on a blow horn and it's shouting in your ear "You are a mess!" "You will never be successful." "Who do you think you are to think you are worthy of ________"
Everyone goes through those days, but not all of us have been taught how to over come them, which is what this impromptu guide is all about. Like everyone else, I've got days where it just feels like I'm going nowhere, so here is how I have learned not to give up even when the odds seem unsurmountable.
1. First of all, when you are in the midst of one of these days try to consciously be gentle of yourself. Eat food that makes you feel good, drink lots of water, get lots of rest, and don't try to force yourself to be a ray of sunshine if that's not where you're at. Try to strike a balance between acknowledging what you're feeling but not giving it too much importance. Most importantly remind yourself that you will not feel this way forever.
2. Feel those feelings and express them somehow. Whether that's writing it out or dancing it out, let yourself actually be a little blue. Cry if you need to. Scream if you need to. Go to kick boxing class and punch it out if you need to. Just let yourself be angry or sad or frustrated or whatever mix of all of those things that you are. This isn't about trying to "fix" your feelings so that you're always happy, instead its about keeping everything in perspective. It's about consciously choosing how you wanting to live your life instead of reacting to your feelings.
3. Bring in some company. Call a trusted best friend or family member and talk to them. Invite someone over for tea or a movie. When you're feeling down it's easy to start thinking you're alone, that you don't matter. Reminding yourself that you matter to other people, or that other people are going through what you are going through makes it that much easier.
4. Find reasons to move your body. I like to give myself errands that I have to walk to. There is just some sort of extra resistance around "going for a walk" that I don't have for "walking to the grocery store to pick up milk" or "grabbing some command strips from target". It's not like you'll suddenly feel like your mood is lifted, that's not what we're going for anways, but getting even a small thing done and getting your body moving is a tally in the column of choosing things that are good for you. If you have to bribe yourself with a cup of coffee or a book or something you enjoy, do it. Just set yourself a budget and stick with it so it doesn't become an opportunity to try and spend your way away from your feelings.
5. Listen to music. I use this playlist on Spotify , but follow your mood. Personally, I go for instrumentals since I'm trying to quiet the chatter in my head, not add to it. The important thing to remember is that ultimately the goal is to keep your critical voices from completely taking over, so avoid any lyrics that supports that world view. We're also not trying to steam roll your emotions, though, so don't feel like you have to listen to a bunch of peppy pop music if you're not feeling it.
Everyone has their blue days, but they don't have to completely de-rail you when they come up. Do you have a favorite coping mechanism? Share it in the comments.