How to be positive when you feel like sh*t
- because dealing with the not-so-bright moods in a good way is an important step in my 2019 Positivity Experiment (more about that here), and
- because I want you to know that just because someone has an entire coaching toolbox at their disposal doesn’t mean they are given a pass when it comes to overwhelm, anxiety, self-doubt, and all the other unpleasant stuff. Everybody has to deal with that shit from time to time.
Right now, it’s my turn and that’s why I am spending a weekend night at home, eating pizza and chocolate, and after writing this post I’ll retire to the couch to binge-watch a few episodes of a French show with a very depressed detective. Compared to that guy I’m basically Miss Sunshine, even at my lowest low. Anyway, so much for self-coaching myself out of this funk—it’s so not happening tonight.
But as I am committed to finding the positive in everything this year, I will spare you the whiny details. Instead, let’s look at two other things: Where’s the positive in feeling like shit? And what can be done to feel better again soon? (Spoiler alert: It’s not retail therapy.)
Actually, times like these have one huge positive aspect to them—if you see all the sad and frustrated and whatnot as a reminder to check in with yourself to find out what you need right now: maybe more self-compassion and alone-time, less focus on work and partying, or exactly the opposite, more drive and socializing and less hiding from the world. Whatever it is that gives us the blues, a little navel-gazing and reassessing of priorities is usually in order. It’s a good time for self-care and getting to know oneself a little better. And that’s always a positive thing.
I definitely didn’t see anything positive in tripping and landing hard on the ground in a parking lot Friday morning, and I am still zero percent grateful for or happy about my swollen knee and bruised shoulder—but … I absolutely know why I had this little accident: it’s called self-sabotage. When you don’t listen to the quiet voice inside you that tells you to slow down, it’ll find ways to make you. Thank you very much for taking such good care of me, I guess. But unpleasant as the physical reminder is, I accept the lesson with gratitude and will be taking it a little slower—and focus on staying in the here and now instead of in my monkey mind—the next few days. So yes, that’s positive.
But let me be a little more specific about what to do when your body and/or mind give you clear slow-down signs. This is my plan, and maybe some of it resonates with you:
- Stick to my morning ritual of meditating and journaling because it gives me a good start to the day. Later, things may catch up with me and put me back into the what-if spiral, but I can’t prepare for that any better than with my morning me-time.
- Spend a lot of time outdoors, irrespective of the weather. After five years in Seattle, I have given in and purchased a raincoat with a hood, so there’s no excuse not to take my dog on a few longer walks along the waterfront in the next couple of days.
- Take a good long look at my to-do list and do some re-prioritizing. Yes, there’s a lot of stuff with deadlines. But other stuff is not—it’s me who has decided to do certain things asap instead of a little later, which is still soon enough. Well, that’ll have to change!
- Write my goals and gratitudes. Looking at these can be a good support tool for prioritizing. Also, do some extra journaling throughout the day to get to the core of what’s the matter right now. If you ask good questions and actually listen, the answers are all right there.
- Talk to someone who can help clarify what’s going on—in other words, my coach (yes, coaches have coaches too) and/or my husband, maybe a friend. Often enough, it’s a single observation or question from someone else that can trigger the unraveling of an entire mental or emotional knot.
- Cut myself some slack. My major issue is that I always think I’m not doing enough while actually working quite a lot. I hunt the phantasy of a day without a to-do list like Sisyphus the day when his stupid rock makes it up the mountain top. It ain’t gonna happen—so I may as well get used to it now.