Having just navigated my way through a few days of (rare for me) ‘down time’, its got me thinking…
What really helps when you are feeling down?
Well, the starting point is simply this:
1. Accept how you are feeling.
The energy we put into resisting our feelings when difficult emotions are bubbling under the surface is incredible. Instead, we keep ourselves zombie-like – plodding along in a low-grade half-life – not happy, but not engaging with what’s going on either.
Our habit of blaming ourselves can mean that we’d rather remain in a state of brittle denial. We can’t admit to ourselves that we feel this way as we would judge ourselves for being so. It is better to pretend that we are okay.
But if we can just surrender for a few moments – really allow ourselves to feel how we feel – yes we feel the pain more fully, but we also begin to let in a little love and tenderness. Much like we would if we were giving attention to a friend who was having a hard time.
Rather than being lost in this no-man/woman’s-land, it is better if we can NAME what we are feeling. Naming it means that we are no longer subsumed by it. Part of us is now standing outside and looking in, and we can feel some compassion for ourselves.
And having accepted how we are, we have the option of turning towards something more positive.
2. Take ONE tiny step.
When we are feeling down, everything can feel overwhelming. We don’t WANT to do anything to help ourselves. It’s all too much.
So my suggestion is this – choose ONE thing from the list below. Just one. One thing that appeals a little bit…
* have a bath
* go for a walk
* make a fresh juice or a wholesome soup
* listen to a guided meditation
* get closer to nature / go outside
* confide in a good friend
* clean and tidy up
* read something inspiring
* count your blessings
* have a nap
* hang out with positive people
* enjoy some exercise
* listen to uplifting music
* pray to receive support
* do something to help someone else
* channel inner guidance
* reflect on your good qualities
* make love or have a cuddle
* look for beauty in everything
* find the hidden gem/lesson /meaning in your issue
3. Take another step
What you will probably find is that once you’ve taken one step, you feel inclined to take another. And some positive momentum builds from there.
For example, this morning, still feeling a wee bit under par, I decided to do one thing nice thing for myself – have a bath.
That prompted me to read some inspiring words from a book while the bath was running. After my bath I did a little light housework and made a fresh juice for breakfast.
It is a bright day and I could hear the church bells ringing, so I went for a walk, pausing at the church door to listen to the congregation singing a hymn.
On the way home I popped in at our caravan in a nearby field and told it out loud how wonderful it is and how much I love it.
During my walk, all these ‘how to lift yourself up’ ideas came to me, culminating in the inspiration to write this blog. My hope is it might support you too if you are feeling less than wonderful today.
4. Find the hidden gem
There’s always a nugget of gold buried in our difficult emotions. Our feelings are trying to tell us something, bring our attention to something that will open understanding and meaning to a situation or experience.
I reckon the hidden gem in my ‘down time’ these last few days has been a) the need to rest and restore at the end of a very busy, productive year b) the opportunity to release some grief from the past (see below) and c) the prompt to write this blog and share something that might be supportive to others going through a bit of ‘down-time’.
This is my Facebook post about my hidden gems:-
“Emerging out of 5 day inner journey. Started with feeling of ‘flatness’, low energy, tinge of unhappiness, lack of customary inspiration/creativity, desire for more sleep, not wanting to do anything or communicate much…
Felt curious – was this just me being tired at the end of many months of huge activity and productivity? A bit weary after 10 days of tending to son Jamie being acutely unwell? Raw after an emotional sort-out with my husband Pat (the resolution of which was postponed around Jamie’s illness). Was astrology / weather getting me down?
Counted my blessings that there wasn’t much in the diary and I could potter on with undemanding filing and accounts. Then yesterday, it dawned on me – memories of Decembers caring for ill, dying and bereaved loved ones in years gone past, and not being too well myself.
Age 15 when dad was ill and had a fall; age 17, when mum and dad were both in hospital, my boyfriend was having a breakdown, and I was home alone with flu (dad died in hospital some months later); age 34 caring for mum after my step dad died and mum had a minor op (then I had a severe chesty cold); age 46 caring for mum around a major illness /op; last winter when Jamie was ill for 6 weeks with chest, ear, sinus and throat infections…
So it seems I was just releasing a bit of seasonal grief and heartbreak, perhaps triggered by Jamie being ill again. Felt better as soon as I realised this. Better to feel the raw grief rather than the depressive blanket of nothing that holds it out of awareness.
Reminded that its healthy to feel these things, lovingly acknowledge buried feelings, that we only feel these things when we are ready to, that I must be experiencing a deeper healing around these issues than ever before.
Thinking of going along the Movement Medicine dance class this evening – a beautiful way to honour, heal and release any anguish still stored in the body. That and I think I’ll put up the Christmas tree now – to remind myself of all the many, many loving, celebratory, happy memories that Decembers have given me too…”
5. Love is the answer
Giving a little attention where it is due is a profoundly loving act. That’s all we are doing when we honestly accept how we are feeling – truly loving ourselves just the way we are.
It gives us the momentum to take a positive step, and maybe even another, and another…
And opens up the possibility of gaining some wisdom and insight from our experience, some meaning, some letting go.
And so I’ll leave you with this song sung by Aloe Blacc, Love is the Answer.
This was shared by my Facebook friend today, the very lovely Mark Bajerski. (Check out his wonderful biography, Diary of an Accidental Psychic.)
Love is the answer, that’s for sure, and we need only begin with one tiny step to let it back in to our life.