Archives for Healthy Coping
There are days when you almost leap out of bed, ready to welcome the early morning, ready to tackle your to-do list, ready to navigate whatever challenges come your way. You're able to do so much and do it so efficiently: You complete an important project, jot down a few great ideas, tidy up the house, make a meal and get to the tasks you've been avoiding for days. It all seems so, surprisingly, easy. You're simply plugging along.
In the last few weeks I've been exploring the topic of embracing ourselves as we are---and actually letting others see us. The real us. Beautiful and bruised. Shattered and standing. Flawed. Vulnerable. A multitude of contradictions and hues. People with rich, painful pasts. People who've struggled, messed up, loved, lost, abandoned, been abandoned, triumphed, failed. People who've tried on different identities as teens and young adults. People who are still trying to figure ourselves out.
Are you rushing a lot? Hustling to get everything done? Do you feel exhausted and depleted? Regularly? Have you forgotten what it feels like to simply sit and do absolutely nothing? Do you play? Do you even remember how to play? When was the last time you wasted time---and didn't feel an ounce of guilt?
"Being someone we are not is nearly a guarantee for unhappiness," according to Christine Selby, Ph.D, a psychologist in Bangor, Maine. And these words couldn't be more accurate. After all, happiness happens when we create a life based on our values, a life that is meaningful, that includes activities that fulfill us, surrounded by people who truly understand us. Which are all things that we don't exactly do when we wear a mask. Or two. Or three.
Is it easy for you to be kind to yourself? If you're like many people, the answer is a big, clear-cut no. It's not easy at all. Instead you're more used to berating yourself. Instead you're more used to criticizing your every move. To being impatient. To minimizing your struggles. To minimizing yourself.
You have to organize your paperwork. You have to scrub the tub. You have to wash the dishes. You have to fold the laundry and start a new load. You have to make dinner and pack lunches. You have to hang up that picture. It's been leaning against the wall for months. You have to check your bank account. You have to buy that thing. Stop. Just stop.
Do you feel bad for wanting to nap in the middle of the day? Do you feel bad for wanting to set a certain boundary---like telling your friend to stop commenting on your weight? Or telling your in-laws to call before "stopping by?" Or like saying 'no' to something, to anything?
Does this sound like your morning: You wake up to your alarm, grab your phone and start scrolling social media, news headlines and your inbox. You learn about something terrible or tragic, something you can't shake. Your mind focuses on the 100 tasks you need to do before 10 a.m. Or it turns to a few or a slew of negative, worrisome thoughts. Or you jump out of bed, already fearful that you forgot something. Or you sleep walk from your bed to the bathroom (and likely trip on something on your way). Or you beg the kids to start brushing their teeth, and sprint into the kitchen to start breakfast. And you already feel behind.
Every day, we face many annoyances that only weigh us down. Annoyances that sink our energy and our mood. Annoyances that genuinely affect us. Annoyances that take time and attention away from what really matters to us. We assume there's absolutely nothing we can do. And sometimes, acceptance is our best bet. But other times we can get creative. Other times we can become intolerant (in a good way, of course).