What to do When You Feel Really, Really Down
Every once in a while over the past few years I’ve had periods where I feel as if everything around me has a tinge of grey. Nothing seems all that exciting and nothing seems all that bad either. It’s a period of neutrality that leaves me disengaged and retracted from the world.
To be honest it’s a place that I used to fear because feeling nothing while we have hundreds of emotions at our disposal seemed unbelievable to the point where it was down right frightening.
And when I reach this state now it is still unnerving, but I make a conscious decision not fear that state of mind or being. Because I have the power the change it.
I don’t have an immediate solution for you because I don’t think our emotions work like that (even though that would be amazing) but I do have 7 steps on what I’ve been doing to bring myself into a healthier, happier, brighter state of mind, body, and soul.
Sending all my love and hugs to you beautiful souls!
#1 Give Yourself Permission
When I fall into these ruts, I find myself bombarded with questions of “Why are you feeling this way? Why aren’t you being productive? Why can’t you do work? Why are you just sitting there?”
These self-inflicted questions do nothing but give myself a big box of stress, anxiety, and guilt, all wrapped up in a nice tight bow of self-judgment.
Throw that box out the window, shove it out your front door, dump it in your nearest garbage can—bow and all—and give yourself permission.
Give yourself permission to feel whatever you want to feel. Do whatever you want to do (or not do). Be whoever you want to be in this moment, with the feeling that you have, and whatever you choose to do.
Give yourself permission to just be honest with yourself. And listen to what you need. It’s your admission ticket to the exit.
#2 Give Yourself Time
When I first started to experience these low periods, I focused a lot on how long it was taking me to snap out of it. I would pile on even more stress and anxiety, as I grew more and more aware of just how long it was taking me.
Why am I not feeling better? What’s wrong with me? And the more time passed the louder these questions became.
A lot of our energy, which could already be limited, is spent interrogating ourselves for our less than ideal emotions or state of mind when in reality, the question should be: Why can’t we feel that way? And why are we judging ourselves for it?
We were gifted with a whole spectrum of emotions that feeling any one of those emotions all the time would be a waste for all the other ones that we are fortunate enough to be able to feel and experience.
These emotions that we got going on that make us a feel down, is perfectly alright. It’s more than alright, it’s necessary at times. It’s just one of the emotions on a spectrum.
It may not make us feel the best, but judging ourselves for not being able to feel something else, do something else, or be something else is just not worth our precious energy.
Give yourself the gift of time. To take a break. To hit the pause button. To breathe. You’ll get there.
#3 Embrace the Temporary
In the beginning a lot of people would tell me “It’s all temporary” and I’m like “How do you know? This f*cking blows!” Because when you’re feeling down, “It’s all temporary” just sounds like a bunch of B.S..
But when I really thought about it out of the context of low and high periods, and just put it in the context of every day life, it’s beyond true.
Our breakfast is temporary, our lunch hour is temporary, our commute through rush hour is temporary—we all accept these things and know them to be true, so why do we have such a hard time applying that to our emotions?
We’re not always happy, joyful, and productive. Just like we’re not always sad, miserable, and lazy.
We go through many of these emotions is just one day. So if one emotion seems to take over for a day or week, we all know that soon another one will take over. And we’ll be back.
#4 Practice Compassion
One of the best lessons I’ve ever learned is to talk to yourself like you would your best friend.
You would never tell your best friend “You suck for feeling that way. You should really be more productive, what’s wrong with you?” But apparently we have no problem telling this to ourselves.
We are our own mean girl (or boy). We create our own personal bully. Doesn’t that blow your mind?
If we have the ability to create such a nasty bully, why not use that talent to be our own best friend?
#5 Change Your View
When I feel low one of the absolute last things I want to do is leave my place of comfort and go outside.
But that’s exactly why we have to do it.
I’ve found that when I can come up with a long list of reasons of shouldn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t—that long list points me in the direction of the exact thing that is absolutely vital for me to do.
Going outside, even if it’s just your backyard, breathing in all that fresh air, soaking up that Vitamin D, has been clinically proven to increase your serotonin. And who doesn’t love serotonin and all that mood boosting goodness?
#6 Yesterday’s Gone
Sometimes the weight of yesterday can weigh so heavily on our minds and our hearts that we find ourselves carrying that weight into the days ahead.
While it’s hard to be able to put down the weight completely, a way that I’ve found to make it lighter is to acknowledge and find liberation in that the past is gone.
What I mean by that is, however I felt yesterday is in the past. And the past does not predict the future. And today is the future.
So if yesterday’s got nothing on me, then what today brings is completely up to me, isn’t it?
#7 Love Yourself
You’re doing a great job.