….to find more JOY! More happy. More peace.
I pride myself on being a girl who is usually pretty optimistic and happy. I can almost always see the glass as half full.
But with everything that has been happening in our world the past six months, I found myself really struggling. My “tools” that previously would have helped me snap out of my “funk” weren’t working this go around. Shifting my mood and mindset felt much harder.
To be honest, if I really think about it, looking back I think I almost had a little bit of mild depression. I can’t say for certain though. I never spoke with anyone professionally, so I say that with caution because I don’t know what actually qualifies as “depression”. But either way, I felt different. It was more than just my typical anxiety or worry. It felt heavy.
I lost interest in a lot of things. I felt tired (more tired than I should have). My chest felt heavy and tight, all the time. Activities that used to bring me JOY, now felt exhausting and overwhelming. It wasn’t just ONE thing – but rather a lot of little things that felt off. It was one of my first times as an adult, that I can remember feeling overwhelmingly sad.
And I know I wasn’t alone. So many of you shared that you were feeling the same. Along with so many friends and family. I have a feeling that almost ALL of us were struggling with something similar to some degree. Somehow just knowing that I wasn’t alone with this feeling – made me feel better.
Through all of this, the one thing I’m so grateful for was that even when I was feeling my lowest, I knew it would pass and I knew I was ok. As sad as I was deep down, I knew it was only temporary and I knew I had all the tools I needed to shift my mood. That I could, in every sense of the meaning, help myself. It was up to me to make some changes.
It’s been a few months now since I was feeling my lowest, and I feel as though a HUGE weight has been lifted off my shoulders (literally and metaphorically).
I wish I could say it was ONE thing that shifted everything, but in reality, it was a lot of little things that over time added up.
Below are just a few of the things that helped shift my mood, and hopefully may help a few of you too.
5 things to help shift your mood
1 Put down your phone and tune out
I know, it’s almost laughable that I’m typing those words and probably 80% of you are reading this on your phone.
I have a love/hate relationship with social media (and our phones in general). I think there can be so much good there. I love the community it can build and I truly believe that for the most part it’s used for GOOD.
BUT….there are moments for all of us when it’s more draining than filling. And you know when that it is. Sometimes when we’re feeling our most vulnerable or weak, all the noise from social media leaves us feeling drained.
2. Do the thing, even when you don’t want to.
I can’t stress this enough. I think this was one of the biggest “ah-ha” moments for me. So often I’d find myself not “wanting” to do a lot of things (making dinner, playing with the kids, going out for a walk). But I tried to remember that sometimes we have to put the action in FIRST, and the feeling comes next. Our emotions just need an extra moment to catch up.
Our brains are wired a little funny. Sometimes when we’re feeling really down, they need a little extra jumpstart to help them reconnect with our hearts. Purring the action in, doing the thing, helps them reconnect. So rather than waiting to “feel like it”….we have to just start, and in time, those emotions catch up with our actions.
3. Forget big picture, and focus on the little things
It can feel overwhelming these days when you look around at all of the things that feel “out of our control”. The pandemic, our government, schools, social issues. It can all feel overwhelming. And for the most part, very much out of our control.
So instead of worrying about those bigger things, focus on the small things we can control. I may not be able to choose whether my kids will be in school this fall, but I can control getting a little corner of our living room set up so we’re prepared.
Let go of the big things, and focus on the small, tangible things that are within our reach.
4. Do one thing a day that will bring you joy
Call a friend, go for a walk, buy flowers at the grocery store, paint your nails. I don’t care. But pick at least ONE thing every day that will make you smile. And really do it. Hold yourself accountable.
Lately, I’ve been making myself a list at the beginning of the week of the things I’m going to do that will make me happy. And it seemed almost silly at first. But it’s just a good reminder to make those things a priority. On your “to-do” list or calendar – add a happy list. A list of things that you know will make you smile and then really add schedule them in.
5. Be gentler on you
I say this all the time, that we ALL need to give ourselves more GRACE. But here’s why – WE NEVER DO! We are all so hard on ourselves, all the time.
Now more than ever, we need to soften and be gentler and kinder to ourselves. Set boundaries. Let go of expectations. Say no to work commitments and unnecessary obligations. Stop the negative talk. The comparison. The “I should’ speak. The self-hate and self-doubt and self-shame.
And as simple as it sounds, just learning to be kinder to ourselves. Being gentler. Softer.
For many of us, these past six months have been (and may continue to be) some of our most challenging. Filled with a rollercoaster of emotions and feelings. And while I can say that these things above have helped me to feel a little better, only you know what will make you feel better.
But most importantly above all, I hope that if you’re reading this today, and not feeling well. Please know that you are not alone. And that it’s perfectly ok, to not be ok. In fact, it’s more than ok, it’s natural.
Give yourself time. Give yourself patience and space. And above all, give yourself a little grace. In the end, whenever that is, I promise, it will all be ok. You will be ok. We will be ok.
Sending you all love and grace and a huge hug.