Hello, everyone. As you know, I’m big on staying positive and living your best life, which is what many of my blog posts and a lot of my Instagram account is all about. However, I don’t want anyone to think that I believe a positive mindset makes all your problems go away, or that I’m suggesting that there’s something wrong with having times where you’re just not ok.
It’s taken me a little while to reach a point where I felt like blogging about this, but I’m there now. For a few weeks, I have not been entirely ok. Work has been extremely stressful, I’ve had some serious disappointments both personally and professionally, and both a relative and someone I used to work with passed away. I’ve had a long series of emotional gut punches, and it’s been very difficult.
So I’ve been reflecting on everything that’s been going on, and wanted to share a few important things to remember when you hit a dark stretch.
1. It’s all right to take time for yourself.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been terrible about keeping up with all the great blogs I follow. I temporarily offloaded a few things at work. I backed out of social commitments. I took several personal days. And I briefly struggled with guilty feelings related to all of those things. However, I reminded myself that I had to prioritize, and that one of those priorities had to be my emotional health. I needed to rest. I needed to spend time with my family. I needed to provide support for people who were hurting more than I was, and then set aside time to focus on my own grief. There’s nothing selfish about taking care of yourself.
2. Use your strength wisely.
When we’re emotionally exhausted, we aren’t able to operate at the same level as when things are going well, so it’s important to prioritize. There have been lots of times over the past few weeks when I needed to put on my game face and put my troubles in a mental box on a shelf. It’s important to conserve energy for those situations, and then to allow yourself recovery time afterwards. Even when things are tough, it’s a bad idea to withdraw entirely, but you never want to just try for business as usual right away.
3. It’s all right to wait on talking or processing.
As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t want to blog about this right away. When I wrote my last few posts, it was actually a relief to get into a different head space and focus on things I felt good about. I’ve responded to some expressions of sympathy and concern with a simple, “Thank you”, while others have lead to a frank discussion of how I’m feeling. It depended on the circumstances and the person. I’ve even hit full stop on my own emotions when someone in worse shape needed my help. It’s up to you to decide when and how to discuss and work through your feelings.
4. However, you should never feel guilty about leaning on someone.
I sometimes find it difficult to open up and admit that I’m struggling, but I’ve been working on that a lot, because it’s so much better when I do. The people who care about us aren’t asking if we’re all right or if we want to talk as an empty social nicety, but because they genuinely want to be there for us. Don’t ever hesitate to ask a friend or loved one for their time, attention, or help. You aren’t “bothering” them-you’re giving them a chance to be there for you.
5. It does get better.
I’m taking it one day at a time and slowly getting back to feeling like myself again. I’ve been through difficult times before, and I know that I will heal. It can be hard to remember that in the middle of everything, but it’s true.