Have you ever hit a wall, thinking, “That’s it! I’m done holding myself together. I’m going to throw a temper-tantrum in the middle of (Insert Location Here).”?
If you didn’t say yes, you’re either lying or you’re the luckiest person I’ve ever met.
I feel like I have been hitting this wall frequently, and at full-fledged ramming speed. Anxiety has become a battle that I am facing and I find myself taking so many ‘deep breaths’ that I am border-line hyperventilating. I’ve never had a constant struggle with anxiety, so learning how to manage it has been a learning experience.
As I learn what works, and what definitely does not, I have realized how much pressure we put on ourselves to keep it together; to stand strong without breaking. Before you say it, this is not a pity party, nor is it a place to whine. That’s not what I am about. But I will admit that I am in a slump. This Slump happens every once in a while and time after time, I find myself feeling ashamed, like I can’t handle everything. Because, you see, I am a perfectionist.
My perfectionism is not found in methodical tasks or by doing and re-doing projects. My perfectionism is found in the way I want others to perceive me. I don’t do this so that everyone will like me or so that other people think better of me. I do this because I want to think better of myself. I want to ‘fake it til I make it’. I want to inspire others through my actions. I want to be a good role model for handling life, even when life is hard. However, putting this perfect ideal onto myself is exhausting, especially when I start failing.
In the last year, I have made my fitness journey a very public experience. I have heard countless people say, “You inspired me to hit the gym more frequently,” or “I started eating healthy because you have shown me that real people can make changes.” This warms my heart more than I have words to explain, but what happens when I lose my motivation because of an injury? How do I continue to inspire people when I feel my strength fading?
How do I stay true to my own journey when I don’t know how to work around those failures? In comes the Slump. When I find myself in a cluttered work space, in comes the Slump. When my sleep schedule is off, or I makeout with someone that I probably shouldn’t have, or when I feel the hammer come down at work, the Slump comes in and makes itself very comfortable.
But there is hope. The beauty of a slump is that it’s not a permanent location. A ‘slump’ is defined as “a period of decline,” meaning that it’s a small portion of the whole picture. Sure, I haven’t been going to the gym. Yep, I drank too much a couple weekends ago. You are right, I did drop the ball on that work project. But you know what? My slump is going to give me the motivation to climb my way back out to success! (Insert corny crowd-cheering noises here!!)
So, what do you do when you don’t feel like Polly Pep-in-her-step’?
Let yourself freak out.
I may or may not have had a good, solid, Kim Kardashian cry in the car the other day. It wasn’t pretty, but I definitely felt better when I was done. As my mom says, it’s better to let a little water out of the dam, than for the whole thing to come crashing down. Sometimes you need to get it out on your own, and sometimes you need a shoulder for support. Have both options ready when you need it.
Let yourself relax.
In a world where being busy is praised, take some time to yourself . Read a book. (For awesome reading recommendations, and all around awesomeness, check out this killer blog, Sorry, I’m Booked). Go on a run. Build a bookshelf. Go on a hike. NAP. Do whatever soothes your soul. Just the other day, I took a bubble bath and read for a half hour. It was absolutely glorious.
You can say No.
I am the biggest hypocrite on this one. If I am asked to do something, I usually say yes. Whether it’s helping with a friend’s wedding, going to a baseball game, or even happy hour, it’s okay to say no to things, even if they’re fun! I have a horribly social problem, where I want to do everything. Unfortunately, I need to start practicing the art of Saying No. It’s hard when you want to do everything, but sometimes, you need to preserve your peace of mind.
Make a get-away plan.
I don’t mean like the Italian Job. No mini-coopers involved. (Unless you own a mini-cooper, and then I’m jealous…) I mean a plan on how you can get yourself calmed down when you feel your SH*T getting out of control. For me, I know that cleaning or rearranging my room gives me a sense of order and accomplishment. I also love building crappy Target/Ikea furniture to calm myself down (which is a very expensive relief mechanism), but whatever you do to gain an ounce of control, make sure it is being done for you, and as your choice.
Yeah, keeping your SH*T together is hard sometimes, and it would be super great if we could just pound our fists on the ground, wailing like misbehaving 3 year olds, but unfortunately as adults, we have to at least TRY to keep some sense of composure. We are human. It’s okay to not be positive and peppy all the time. It’s okay to have times where you don’t feel like you can handle things. It’s okay to be down on your luck. Adulting is hard, and doing it gracefully is nearly impossible. Let yourself hit the slump, but use the momentum that was bringing you down to act as a pendulum and swing it back to the upward slant.