People get the wrong idea about me. They think because I’m a life coach that my life is perfect – that I’m always happy, always taking great care of myself, never scared or worried or feeling lost. Not so much.
Just this morning, another rainy day in Central PA, I felt the blues hanging over me like the grey clouds filling the sky. I just couldn’t seem to see all the beauty and possibility in my life even though I had just been so clear about all that the day before.
Does this ever happen to you? One day you’re chugging along, handling everything with some semblance of grace and not a little grit and then – crash!
How do you get back on track, or through the dark tunnel to a lighter, brighter place?
Here’s what I did, maybe it can help you, too.
The first thing that has to happen to shift out of the doldrums is that I have to recognize them. Not always easy, when sometimes all I can see is the dark cloud and I think it will always be that dark. I can begin to think that’s my world, when really, it’s just a momentary perception. I try to remember that all feelings are real, but they’re not all true.
Once I recognize, “Oh, I’m bumming out and feeling bad,” I need to really pinpoint what the feeling is: am I angry, disappointed, sad? Have I lost my sense of connectedness? Am I lonely? Frustrated? I’ve noticed everyone has their “usual” downer syndrome, the one they gravitate toward. For me it’s sadness wrapped in isolation, surrounded by tiredness. Not a happy cocoon. For others it might be anger and frustration, for another guilt and shame.
Once I identify the feeling, I might use one of the tools from the Worry-Less ToolKit to work with the feeling as a physical sensation (since so much thinking about it won’t help because my mind is what got me into this in the first place). Or I might look behind the feeling to the belief that’s causing it and work with that.
However I choose to work with what’s happening, I also look back at my self care, or lack of it, over the last 48 – 72 hours. Am I overtired? Have I eaten well? Have I gotten any exercise? Have I been outside? Have a meditated, journaled or done yoga? These 5 simple components are, for me, crucial to keeping not only my body, but my emotions, in balance.
Turned out, when I looked back at the previous few days, I realized my self care had been completely out of whack, due to traveling and being with family over the recent holiday. I was reminded about how taking a vacation from self care comes at a high price, and one I might not want to pay in the future. Then, I forgive myself now, and vow to make better choices when next time I travel.
Finally, I look at the rest of the tools in the Worry-Less ToolKit and I recommit to the daily ones that really help me stay on track. Usually, I’ve stopped or become spotty in one or more of them and the feedback of sadness reminds me to pick the tools back up again and use them.
Here are the steps I’ve mentioned, above, for getting back to center when the bottom drops out:
- Recognize that you’re feeling “off”.
- Pinpoint the feeling, remembering that it’s real, but not necessarily true.
- Use a tool or strategy to work with the feeling and/or belief behind it.
- Check your self care routine.
- Forgive yourself.
- Recommit to taking good care of yourself.
I’d love to hear how you get re-centered when the bottom drops out. Leave your comments below.
All My Best,
P.S. I’d be honored if you’d check out the Worry-Less ToolKit. There are 8 tools, for dealing with all kinds of difficult emotions and mental states, not just worry and anxiety. Plus you get an optional Free 30 Minute Phone Session with me to help you choose and use them successfully. All for only $15.