I took this photo yesterday while walking the dog and talking to a friend. Yesterday was a struggle, but all I could ask of myself was to get through it without hurting myself.
When I say that, I don’t mean the obvious self-abusive choices of drinking, picking arguments or blowing off work. I mean the more subtle things like zoning out in front of the TV, drinking too much caffeine, eating too much sugar.
Y’know – numbing out.
I was on the brink of a shame storm so I pulled out the big guns.
- I called a friend. Luckily this was the right friend to hear my story and talk me through it. She was supportive, non-judgemental and everything she said helped me take the self-compassion route, not the self-hatred route. During the day I ended up talking to two more friends, all of which helped in their own way.
- I saw my therapist. A weekly appointment with perfect timing. Having a completely objective place to tell the story again helped me get it off my chest.
- I drank lots of water and ate healthy food.
- I didn’t drink alcohol or go get some crazy caffeinated drink to power through the day (and my mood).
- I cried. This allowed me to get some of the emotional energy out of my body. Sometimes words aren’t enough.
- I kept to my grounding rituals. I wrote morning pages, walked the dog, showered and ate breakfast.
- When it was too much, I got into bed and wallowed. I knew if I could take the space, I would feel better soon. And I went to bed early.
- I spent time with my husband, who is my most supportive self-care advocate.
- I stayed off the Internet. Too much information is abusive and my brain needed a rest.
- I trusted that if I could wait this out a few days, things would wear off, and feel less raw. I trusted that my emotional reaction was partially related to my hormones, and that “this too shall pass”. I trusted that things would work themselves out whether I knew how I felt or not. And I trusted that things are fluid and I didn’t need to figure out anything immediately.
Today was much better. I had energy, blasted through work and still feel really good this evening. My ability to get through all of that is a testament to all the work I’ve done the past 3+ years, not some crazy plan I threw together last minute. I’m learning what works for me and what doesn’t.
And I am really proud of myself.
What self-care rituals do you have in place for when things get tough? How do you deal with events that send you off course for a day or two? xo