CONFESSION: I’ve been struggling lately. I never want to give off the impression that I know everything and I’ve got my life under control. Honestly it’s a hot mess most of the time. I’m learning these skills still and working on actually implementing them (that’s the hard part as we all know). So don’t ever get discouraged thinking that I have it all together and you don’t because, my friend I certainly do not. Everybody cries on the bathroom floor sometimes.
Yes I’ve been struggling lately. My previous fire for life change and working toward my big dreams and changing the world has settled into the reality of Hard Work and consistency which is not nearly as exciting. Depression has come back full force, I’m anxious nearly all of the time, the shorter days are creeping up and I’m so so so so so tired. So tired. All. the. Time.
As a result, I’ve fallen back into old habits. Staying in bed all day, not eating or drinking, thinking negatively nearly all the time, choosing activities that numb or hurt my soul instead of feeding it. Mental illness is a monster that takes on a new form with every new season which makes it tricky to fight. OCD especially is constantly changing its focus, always targeting at your core beliefs and parts of your life that are most prominent. Lately mine has been attacking my perfectionism.
I’ve started to feel like I can never be good enough. I’ve been talking harshly to myself in an attempt to motivate me to do better. I’ve been working myself to the bone on some days and then laying in bed on others, deciding that not even trying is better than trying and failing to be perfect. I didn’t know how to get out of it.
If you have ever felt this or are feeling it right now, it’s okay not to be okay. It is. If you are grieving or hurting, or stuck in a funk, or overtired or depressed, it’s okay to feel what you’re feeling. Shaming yourself or pushing away those feelings will only make them worse. Accept them for what they are. Name them, figure out where the are in your body, allow them to run their course. Here is a great meditation that helps me with this.
Yes, let yourself wallow. For a time. BUT also, wait for more strength to come. Chances are your wallowing will give your body time to recover and force you to take care of some long undermet needs (i.e. sleep, relaxation, Netflix binging). And soon the strength will come. You’ll feel it in your head and in your body, a tiny voice that says I can get up now. It may be weak and you may doubt it with all that you have but if nobody’s told you this yet-
YOU ARE STRONGER THAN ANYTHING THIS WORLD CAN THROW AT YOU. You are a creation of an Almighty God who doesn’t make mistakes. He sent you here and he will give you the strength to listen to that tiny voice in your head and get back up.
How? Well here’s some ideas that are helping me that might get you started.
Run away from your problems. Just kidding, don’t do that. But I do believe in giving yourself a few mental health days to reset your mindset and negative habits. If you can’t actually leave on just designate some time for guilt-free indulgence. Do things that make you happy and only those things. Leave the dishes and laundry and whatever else and decide to only take care of yourself. It can be incredibly refreshing, but you MUST tell yourself that it’s okay to blow off your responsibilities. If you’re shaming yourself or feeling guilty the whole time it won’t do you any good.
Planning. I can’t tell you how much good it’s done me to go out and buy a really pretty planner to set goals and plans in. It just makes me feel in control, even when I’m super not. But there’s something to remember about this one too. For years I’d sit down on a Monday morning with all this fire and plan out this perfect week where I’d do my hair every day and never wear leggings (HA like that’s gonna happen) and get a million things done and work out 20 times and change my life all in one week. And guess what happened? None of it. I’d get so overwhelmed by the impossibility of my plans that I’d just crawl back in bed and try to forget about it all.
Don’t do that. Make plans that are so easy to achieve, starting with only the essential things so that you can cross off your whole list and feel super accomplished. If you work your way up from there you’re much more likely to hit bigger goals as you go. Then…
Building good habits. I’ve learned so much lately about the power of habits. Good habits aren’t to build but incredibly worth it. And in my experience when I get lax with my self-care habits is when my mental health goes downhill, and therefore I abandon more habits until I end up held hostage by my bed (as we’ve discussed, this is not a good option).
So this week I’ve started rebuilding my habits. I like to start with just one habit (because perfectionism). When I was on my mission my goal was just to shower every day. That’s it. Right now I’m building the habit of getting out of bed on time every day. I’ve decided that if I get nothing else done that day but that, I’m successful because I’m building this healthy habit that makes me feel so much better.
Affirmations. If you’ve never done anything like this you’ll probably feel ridiculous doing it. I know I did. But I honestly believe in the power positive affirmations. When we say things often we think them often. What we think about determines our feelings and ultimately what we believe.
My therapist helped me write out a list of the beliefs I held (some of them unconscious) and come up with an affirmation that counters that belief.
I’m not enough—–> I am good enough.
I’m a failure———> I am successful.
I feel terrible——–> I am okay.
I wrote those on a card by my bed and in my car and every time I see them, I say them 20 times to myself. It is working wonders so far.