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if all at once...

Do you ever have those days where it feels like nothing’s going right?


When the morning was essentially a no-good haze, and the rest of the day seems to follow suit like it was some kind of assignment?


Yeah? Well, this is for us.


Before we dive in, I want to acknowledge that what's written in this space may come across as bleak to some - calling out things we don’t like to talk about can seem that way, can’t it?


There’s a light in the end, though - promise.


Sometimes, the feelings and bitter thoughts that linger from days like this can be brushed off or processed quickly.

With previous experiences giving us the blessing of hindsight, we build rhythms to take some deep breaths, and "restart" our day any time, like a flip of a switch.

We really do have more power then we give ourselves credit for with regards to our own thoughts, directing our perspective in a brighter direction.


But other times?


What wears on you like a wet jacket won’t shake off so easily with motivational mantras and walks outdoors.


So what brought us here?

It could be there's been a lot on your plate in the last week (or two years…) and the dreadful burnout everyone's been talking about seems to not have an expiration date.

Be it from circumstances beyond your control, or by committing to more then you know you should.


There’s not enough blank space in your calendar to take a breath - or at least not enough with all the standards of success that fill the gaps.


Or there isn’t anything happening at all.

At least in the present moment.


Or, it's a combination of both. This is typically the way I find myself into a day like this.


Events of the past may haunt like ghosts as the “little triggers” bring them back to life.

Followed close behind by a replay of the worries you thought were put to rest the night before.

Complete with doubts to our sanity and effects of sleep deprivation sprinkled throughout the day.


Let’s be honest, what really does it is when on top of all of that, we stub our toe.

Come on universe, what’s the deal?


How these rocky days make themselves known will obviously manifest differently from person to person.


It could show up in our response and reaction (or lack thereof) to those closest to us.

It makes itself known when its’ good pal exhaustion enters in with nothing but a bag of notes from your inner critic.

It's the limited amount of patience we have left for the strangers in the grocery store.

It waltzes in with high expectations and hands thrown in the air proclaiming “what’s the point in trying” as today’s psalm.


So just as quickly as the day began, it has turned to one where you're consumed by words ironically starting with "over":

Overwhelming.

Overbearing.

Overstimulating.

Overcautious.

Overcompensating.


Sure, you may not have any revolutionary answers as soon as you think to yourself "how did I get here", and that’s not the point.


Big words are not required when the goal is small movements.


When our mind begins to work against us - with little help from our current circumstances - it’s not so much of a sneak attack as it is a misfire approach to dealing with past and present aches.


Maybe it's stack of life events that haven’t either been acknowledged for what they were or fully processed. Leaving them to poke and prod at the worst and best moments.

We could've misinterpreted something as "not a big deal" when it was anything but.


A big move with the newness and shine wearing off.


Pressure to be more than what we have the ability or desire to be.


Holding back tears because "it's a sign of weakness".


Stretching beyond our limits because that’s how you "become stronger".


Jumping from one thing to the next without making the time and effort to close it.


When all of this, and more, have the high frequency that it does - enough to alter your entire day and beyond - it can seem like an affirmation that the negative notions are true.

That there really is not point in trying.

That you don't matter.

That everything sucks.


Let’s change that narrative, even if for a moment: just because something is loud, it doesn’t make it right.

The volume doesn’t determine reality.

What breathes truth into our longing hearts is the slow moving, gently flowing quiet truth’s we can only hear when we make a point to listen.


Our need for instant gratification would tell us otherwise, but I digress.


Sometimes for me to get there, I have to escape.


Literally.


So here I am, sinking into a sofa seat at a coffee shop seated next to who feel like my kind of people.

We don’t exchange names or chat about weather, rather we exchange a comment or two in passing, a glance up from our small monitors or tattered books.


There’s an unspoken agreement to sip our hot and cold drinks within our own barrier surrounded by sea green walls, oak floor boards, and paintings of horses, skulls and birds loosely fitted into golden frames.


The humming of the harmonica streaming on the stereo overlaps with the sounds coming from my headphones.


There’s a sweeping hush that comes with every turning page of the thriller my neighbor is reading.


It feels as if all at once, alongside the bitter morning breeze that drew me in, I have space to allow myself to just be.


And that - to just be - is more freeing then reading a million "self help" books.

To allow space for the gritty and the good.


There’s not always going to be a “magic sauce” to make your day better.


Sometimes, you’re going to walk through minutes or days of heartache, and I wish you didn’t have to.

When we start to believe we can live pain free, that’s when we rob ourselves of the joy that follows that same ache.

Accepting the waves as they come brings relief of its' own - almost like you can ride it as you fumble finding your breath.


How can we lessen the impact + longevity of these days?

I had initially written “how to prevent” instead of "how to lessen", but that’s an unrealistic expectation we don’t need to set for ourselves.

Events out of our control will happen, and they will perhaps leave an ache on our hearts for a long period of time. It may turn from a wound to a scar, a memory with less of a sting, and more of a throbbing ache over time that we don't notice as often.


Where things can take a turn toward the downward spiral is when we internalize it to mean we are damaged goods and there is no hope for us to ever experience the good or to be it ourselves.


What to do when you’re not in one of these days:

  1. Allow time to process when something happens, or else it will sink until it rises by the push of other thoughts and disturbed ghosts

  2. Keep track of what, and how much, you consume mentally on a daily basis. Over consumption of any kind has the potential to feed into our already possibly present battle of comparison.

  3. Take breaks. Rest is necessary to recharge, reframe and get back to it. You aren't weak, unmotivated or lousy: you're human.



What to do when it’s already here:

  1. Show up for yourself. If the thoughts start to consume you, talk about it. Write about it. Rewrite the ugly narrative you were creating for yourself - as real as it may be, consider the potential. Note: you don't have to force yourself to be in a better mood, this is to work toward not becoming buried by the heaviness you already carry. Make it one with forgiveness and validation sprinkled throughout.

  2. Get out of your own head (cue eye rolls, because I’m definitely doing so to my own writing right now, but I need to hear it). The moment I put on my jeans and out of my sweats (figuratively speaking - this rarely happens in actuality), perspective shifts even if just a little. Write a letter to a friend. Do something for your community. Take your kids to the park.

  3. Remember that there is enough room for both / and (similar to #2 in the first section). The day may have started out like a dump, and that won't necessarily define the mysteries left in the day - at least we can control some of that with a little perspective shift.

  4. Turn off the distractions that give the false impression of solving your problems. You know the one's. (if you don't: social media). Even when people try their best to be "authentic" (*cough* me) it's not going to be the truest version of them. Don't compare you life to the 30 second bit you see into someone else's life.

I'm going to repeat myself: feeling what you’re feeling doesn’t make you broken, lesser then or a burden, it makes you human.


A quote I will forever hold dear on days where it’s all at once, is, "transformation is the business of winter".


Winter could be today, this week, this year - transforming us for the better through the bitter winds that draw us to where we're meant to be.


Keep in mind that winter is a season.

In its' definition it comes and goes.


Bitter, battered and bruised as we may be, there will be a bolder (and very tired) version of ourselves when we look in the mirror by the setting of the sun.



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