How are you this week – are you finding that life feels harder than last week?
I definitely am and the more people I mention it to, I realise that I am not the only one. It’s like we’ve hit a bit of a wall.
For me, the best way I can describe it is a feeling of mental tiredness. That’s quite unusual for me and I’m quite thrown by it. As we’ve now had months (actually almost a year) living like this it’s really no wonder that our mental resilience sometimes takes a knock.
Like everything that is going on in the world, this too shall pass and so I am here to tell you that it’s absolutely normal (whatever that means) to feel like this right now.
This time of year it’s always quite hard to get going, the darker days, the colder weather and on top of that this year, we have got all the other current anxiety making stuff. We may have felt short-changed at Christmas and had to change numerous other plans and it all takes its toll.
During this last week, I have been the Queen of Procrastination. I can’t tell you the amount of things that I ‘have just got to do’ rather than doing the things that I really need to be doing.
For instance writing this blog post, I just couldn’t come up with anything to write about and instead of sitting at my computer and doing some research, or sitting with my thoughts to see what I could come up with, I have been pottering around doing anything but.
Then panic set in and I started to worry that I was never going to come up with the right topic, then that progressed to ‘if I can’t write the blog post then I will be late with my Tuesday Tonic newsletter’.
Then my subscribers will think I am a useless Life Coach who can’t keep to her own deadlines…
That all happened in minutes, the 0-60 effect in all its glory.
Then I got a text from a friend who I’d spoken to on Sunday and she suggested that maybe I should write a blog post about how I am feeling and so here we are.
From that point on, I decided that while I am feeling like this, I am only going to do the things that I want to do or have to do – anything else that’s not important can wait.
And that felt like a relief to give myself that permission.
If you recognise this, then I would urge you to give yourself permission to either do or not do whatever you want this week.
In my work I support my clients to look at the things they want to change, we look at the situations they are not happy with, I work with them to give support in working things through and together, we look at what’s important in their lives.
All great - if they are in the right headspace and mindset to do that.
Some days that might feel like too much to even think about and at that point what I think is important is a big shot of self-care.
And that’s what I think is important for you now - in whatever way that feels right for you.
Whether that’s eating nourishing, healthy food, having a few treats, reading books or watching movies that take your mind away to a fabulous place, whether it’s staying in touch and being (virtually) surrounded by the people that are important to you, whatever it is – do it.
Make sure you are getting enough sleep – if you need to grab an extra half an hour in the afternoon and you are able to, then get that into your schedule, you will really notice the difference in your mood.
Another self care tip that I think will get us through is living in the present, not worrying about the past and trying not to fear the future – easier said than done I know, but give it a go.
I encourage you to enjoy the here and now and to live for today. But whilst living in the present is very beneficial in lots of ways, sometimes it can feel tedious, a bit frustrating and for some people it can seem quite intolerable.
Having some light at the end of the tunnel, something to hope for and dream about is essential and makes life much happier and well, easier – everything feels better with the world.
In research, looking forward to events proved to be far more enjoyable than looking forward to buying or receiving material things.
A sense of anticipation is so important. It can help energise us and can get us through both the mediocre and the tough times. Something positive to look forward to helps us build the discipline and motivation that we need to help us tolerate whatever we are currently going through and it helps us to keep on going.
When we book a summer holiday, a day out or perhaps a theatre ticket, even though it could be way off in the future, it gives us an immediate hit of positivity. That keeps us going for the months ahead and helps us to cope with whatever is thrown at us in the meantime.
In our current circumstances this type of planning is a little harder and the events may have to take place a lot nearer to home than we are used to and maybe a bit further into the future. But it’s all possible. You don’t have to stop making your plans, you can tailor them to a different destination, perhaps to a revised budget.
Whatever it is, plan it, anticipate it and savour every last minute. It doesn’t have to be a huge thing, it doesn’t have to be a major goal.
Pick something that makes you happy and that makes you feel good – you’ll know it’s the right thing because you will feel physically and mentally different, you will feel excited.
So along with the earlier self-care ideas, my 3 tips for you are:
1. Add something to your calendar for 6, 9 and 12 months from now
2. Allow yourself to dream – don’t immediately dump your ideas because they might
not be possible right away
3. Satisfy your anxious mind by creating a Plan B. For instance if it’s impossible to get a holiday this year then make some plans for next year. Don’t see it as second best, put as much effort into the planning as you normally would – it’s just a bit longer to wait
Anticipating an exciting future situation will get us through a difficult present situation. As human beings we need things in our future to be excited about and most of us want (and need) to feel optimistic.
If you give yourself something to look forward to, I guarantee your world will instantly become a better and brighter place, regardless of the January weather.
You know what, just writing this has made me feel better.