How to do the days you’re rather not do
No matter how hard you try NOT to, some day, one of those days is going to track you down. You know what I’m writing about. It’s the days that just feel like crawling under a rock (if that is possible?) and shutting out the rest of the world. The days that start with stubbing your toe and end with sediment as you pour the last glass of Cab Sav into your glass.
Before I go on a disclaimer — there are those days, and then there is depression. I’m not writing about depression. If you can’t remember when you didn’t have one of those days you might want to explore this material.
Back to those days…
Did you ever notice that on those days it’s easier for your mind to throw around the things that you don’t feel quite so good about? The things you should have done, could have done, are yet to do?
Have you ever noticed that on those days the list amplifies? Every minute detail on it suddenly becomes urgent and important and all of a sudden the weight of the list drags you down into the deep depths of overwhelm (or is that just me?)
You may wonder if you’ll survive this, if you’ll rise above this day…
But you can…
And you probably will
One way to get beyond those days is to have another type of list prepared. This is a list that will drag you out of a hole of overwhelm. Mine list is below and I thoroughly recommend you steal it and add in your own bits — put it somewhere prominent so that when one of those days comes along you have a different plan.
Let’s get to the point (s);
- Check in on your closest influences: Someone said the quality of your life is influenced by the 5 people you spend most of your time with. You’ll soak up the energy around you so make it positive and let it take you to where you are going — not where you are stuck. (and don’t get hung up on the number 5, maybe it’s 10 — think you get the point).
- Remove the drama: gossip, drama, white anting and the likes do nothing but destroy your life. Best place for such things is on TV. If there’s too much of it going on in your life tune into Home and Away and get your fix. Leave it there.
- Get outside: There’s something about the natural landscape that is so healing. My best days start with a walk along the dirt road near my house leading to the river. The gentle sounds of the breeze in the trees and the ocean in the background and the aroma of the red dirt and eucalyptus always gives me a sense of calm. Whatever is outside your door get out into it.
- Do something different: Do you have a regular bedtime? Drive the same way to work every day? Change it. Yes, it may seem inconvenient but you’ll be amazed how a small change can make an enormous difference.
- Press pause on your crutches: Pour a glass (or 3) of wine every evening? Eating too much? These could all be indicators of something you don’t want to face up to. What are you ignoring? What are you doing as you turn a blind eye to that thing? Remove the crutch — see what happens next.
- Be gentle: It’s far too easy to put pressure on ourselves in difficult times. Just don’t. It’s OK to have an off day. You don’t have to pull yourself up by the bootstraps, suck it up or keep a stiff upper lip. I’m a master of smiling my way through BS but something I’m just loving about getting older is learning that I don’t actually have to do that — you don’t either. Honesty builds more trusting relationships. Be gentle with yourself.
- Tell someone: Think you’ll be judged for having one of those days? For exhibiting signs of weakness or not wanting to bother people with your issues? Think about it this way… When you disclose your not so great day to someone you secretly give them permission to do the same on one of their not so excellent days. It’s that simple.
- Notice something beautiful: Even the most built environment contains an immense and intense amount of beauty. It’s all there, waiting for you to notice. The curl of an eyelash, a feather floating in the breeze, a smile, a laugh, a kind comment. Stop, notice it, soak it up — be as cynical as you like about this one but I dare you to do it and do it regularly, noticing will change your life.
- Think about tomorrow: Even the most troubled day is followed by another 1440 minutes, even though it may seem right now those minutes will be equally as gruelling maybe they won’t. It’s worth a look don’t you think?
- Express gratitude: Gratitude is very much in vogue right now and you don’t have to guess why. Expressing gratitude for the things in your life, no matter how hard on those days will bring you back to base. Doing this is your chance to claim and recognise the things that you value in your life and maybe you’ll even think about how you might go about turning up the volume on that — and turning down the volume on the other stuff…
Kerry Grace is a community engagement practitioner currently leading a regional development organisation in NSW Australia and managing her own company Evolve Group Network.
Kerry’s work focuses on sustainable small regional communities. She is a strong advocate of people leading the life that matters most (by their own definition), a mum and a big (read obsessed) fan of alpacas whom she adores to watch roaming on her hobby farm in regional NSW, Australia.