You may have seen it coming; you may have not. It may be your first time feeling like this; it may be your 50th. Regardless, when a wave of negativity, depression, or anxiety knocks you off your feet and you can’t seem to find the strength to stand up again, it’s difficult to know where to even begin.
While there is no textbook solution to making yourself feel better, these are the things I tell myself when I’m not feeling my best:
1. It won’t last forever.
It may last an hour, a day, a week, even a month – but you haven’t always felt like this, nor will you for the rest of your life.
2. Don’t rush it.
Our automatic reaction is to fight off negative thoughts, to push aside what makes us feel uncomfortable in an attempt to get back to normal as quickly as possible. Feelings cannot be treated by a course of antibiotics and a day in bed like a bout of flu – just focus on taking care of yourself and accept that it takes as long as it takes.
3. Listen to yourself.
What do you need right now? A hot bath, a hug from a loved one, a spring clean, a walk in the countryside? Listen to your body and your mind and take care of them both. This could mean facing a difficult decision or laying on the sofa with a takeaway – self-care can mean a whole manner of different things, so do what works for you.
4. This is a part of you, and that’s okay.
You can’t be perfectly happy all the time. Having days like this is a part of who you are, just remember that it is not the whole you. Like it or not, this is what makes you unique.
5. You have so much to offer.
You are more than this. You have relationships you thrive in, a career, ambitions and dreams. You are the only one of you in the world, and you’re here for a reason.
6. You are loved.
Friends, family, partner, colleagues, pets – you mean so much to so many people. Listen to voice notes from your nephews, nieces or godchildren, listen to voicemails from your parents, and read supportive texts from friends – keep them close and look at them often.
7. You have so much to look forward to.
It could be as immediate as grabbing a coffee from your favorite cafe that morning and dinner with a loved one at the weekend or as life-altering as the prospect of a new relationship, falling in love, travelling the world, starting a family – there are so many exciting things ahead of us all.
8. You’re still here.
No one knows where we go when we leave this earth or when our time is up – but until that day comes, you are still here. We can’t predict the future, but we can control how we are in the present. There’s a lyric I recently fell in love with in a song called Youth by Daughter: “If you’re still breathing, you’re the lucky ones.” And I can’t stop thinking about it. We’re not here for very long, so while it’s okay to not always be okay, remember just how fortunate you are to be where you are right now.
You’ve got this. You’ve done it before and you sure as hell can do it again. So when you’re ready, take a deep breath and try to move. You’re doing the best you can — please remember that that is enough.