It’s November and I have been looking forward to starting a new beginning this month.
October was rough for me on so many levels. It felt like nothing was working right, both personal and professional. While I ended September on such a high, having just traveled to Europe with my parents and Aunts, October came crashing down on me unexpectedly.
Weeks later, the not-so surprising (and very obvious I might add) realization happened. This is life. It is indeed filled with highs and lows. One day, you’re feeling so excited. The next day, everything feels in disarray. So.. how do I carry on and thrive?! The multi-million dollar question we all have. Of course, this realization didn’t happen naturally. This came after weeks of an emotional roller coaster filled with frustrations. Then came sulking, analyzing and crying from endless doubts and unanswered questions.
So, how did I cope?
(almost in chronological order)
- I let myself be. I surrendered.
- I didn’t try to distract myself, because I knew I needed to go through the motion of it all and get it out of my system
- I gave myself space to feel everything. That means, a lot of crying.
- I watched feel-good shows and movies. Talk about rom-com movies, and Hallmark type of stories with predictable endings, yet they made me smile and not think about anything else.
- After many days of letting myself be and it was time to get back up… I listened to podcasts and audiobooks any chance I could and whenever I was in the right mind to listen - anything that could motivate me, inspire me and encourage me to keep going. I meant any time… like I was in the shower, washing the dishes, doing laundry, cleaning up, etc. I basically did not allow my mind to analyze any more and think of all the things that were not working right.
- I surrounded myself with very few people who lifted me up, and the little things that made me feel good
- Then, I slowly focused on my short goals each day, worked my way up and continued on…
- I’m still doing the work. I’m still figuring things out. Still in the middle of some hard stuff, but I’m coping better
- And, here I am.
That’s my FEEL-DO-BE Steps to my mental health. Now, I know that there is nothing so special about this list. It’s not tactical nor strategic. But it works for me (and I’m hoping it will help you find what works for you too!). I simply wanted to point out that having experienced mental health struggles most of my life, I have learned that one of the best things I can do for myself when things get really hard, is to allow myself to just feel it all. Let myself honor my body and my feelings first, then I can find ways to get back up and dust myself off after, which is exactly what I did.
When things get hard, it’s normal for many people to distract themselves. It’s common to go out and have fun, be “positive” and pretend that things are going perfectly well even though things are falling apart. While it’s a good intention, it may not necessarily be healthy.
As human beings, our minds, our bodies and our hearts can only take so much. Eventually, if everything is constantly ignored and suppressed, I believe sooner or later, something is bound to happen, either a physical illness or an emotional/mental breakdown.
My best friend reminded me this morning of the phrase she heard from the radio recently, “..we are human beings. And not human doings…”.
Here’s the big lesson. Remind yourself that your life is not just about doing and doing and checking off your to-do list. It is about honoring yourself - your body, your mind and your soul. Your state of being is comprised of your thoughts and your feelings - your mental health is your well-being.
Life will continue to happen. The highs and lows will come and go. And we get to learn how to navigate and live through the ebbs and flows in life. And if you honor and take care of yourself - like really take care of your being… You not only can do hard things, but you will have the strength and the resilience to withstand anything life throws at you.
This is how we try. We cope. We carry on. And this is how we keep riding this roller coaster called life.
How about you? How do you cope? Please feel free to share and comment below. I would love to hear from you 🤍
Hi Elizabeth, so sorry to hear you’ve gone through a rough patch but it is very refreshing to know that you have found a way to cope and it is a practical way at that. It gives others hope to know that even though we can experience some of the same “highs and lows” it is okay to give yourself permission to feel some of the very exact emotions and just let them be. Having an understanding of what exactly is going on and seeing it in words makes a difference. It let’s you know that you are not alone and that somebody actually does get it. Your post is very helpful!