Real talk: 2019 has been a rough year so far. It has had a lot of reminders of how sometimes things just don’t go our way. And that’s ok. Because that’s life. Nevertheless, with a string of unfortunate and sad news happening of late, I’ve been working hard to reframe my mindset to move forward with a positive attitude. Given we all feel like this at times, I thought I’d share how I’ve been working through this time.
I’m a rather upbeat and positive person but when time after time you’re getting hard news, it can be really hard to remain this way. It’s been easy to feel like 2019 may be a $h!t year all together and it’s been easy to snowball everything happening and feel very doomsday. The truth of the matter is some months and some years are just way harder than others. And frankly I’ve been blessed by a very positive 2017 and 2018 that left me feeling great.
All of that aside, no matter how things are going in your life, every day we’re given a few options. We can seize the day or we can just get by. When times get tough I’ve historically muddled through. But I’m really working to train my brain to tell myself every morning to get up and seize the day. I will say that one of the hardest parts for me when the going gets tough though is having a public persona online. I feel a responsibility for keeping up with the blog and my social channels outwardly which, when your private life is taking some hard hits, is incredibly difficult. It is why I took some time off Instagram when in California recently and it was really lovely to step back and do that.
Anyhow, I’ve been making note of some of the thing I’ve done and recommend doing when you need a bit of a pick me up or a mindset shift. Here goes:
- Know you’re not alone and that everyone is bearing a burden. Some small, some big, some unthinkable. But we all have things going on that are less than desirable. Be there for yourself and for those around you – we all could use a bit more support.
- Put good out into the world. Putting good out often leads to getting good back. Give a small charitable donation, send snail mail, buy someone’s coffee. You get the idea. Need more ideas on how to do this? See here.
- Give yourself a break. I’m Type A and tend to try and be a perfectionist in a lot of ways but when things are stressful I have to remind myself to let some things go. I want progress during times of stress, not perfection.
- Focus on one task and get it done. Then do this again. One of my favorite ways to do this is to put my phone on Airplane mode while I’m tackling tasks. It eliminates any distractions and allows me to tick through things on my to do list. Most importantly, don’t leave things hanging or undone. Start things and then ensure you finish them.
- Take a walk outside. There’s a lot of science that indicates that a change in scenery – particularly one outside – is a mood booster. Even better if you move while outdoors. Walking is incredibly invigorating for the body and mind and even if it is just 10 minutes around your office block or in your neighborhood – get out there and do it. No doubt you’ll feel better afterwards. Better yet? Grab a friend and hit a local park for a long loop. I did this recently and I felt so good afterwards.
- Focus on small things you can control. As the priest at my church recently said “give over. Give over to God the things which you can’t control.” I felt a lot of freedom in being reminded of this because the things in my life that have been causing stress aren’t things I can control. I have to give them over and focus on the things I can control. As mentioned previously, things on my to do list take center stage when I’m feeling a bit out of control. And this habit proves really helpful, too.
- Remove things from your life that aren’t providing value. Spring cleaning is a great opportunity to purge things in your home that aren’t providing value or that you’re holding onto for no reason. I also recently went through an Instagram purge that felt so good. I unfollowed people who weren’t providing me value or weren’t making me feel good. I’ve also been being incredibly protective of my time. People reaching out from whom I don’t get value – they aren’t getting my time at the moment.
- Meditate and take deep breaths. These are huge ones for me. When my anxiety kicks in – often right as I try to fall asleep – I reach for the Inscape app. Their Sleep Time meditations help me so much and the deep breathing I’ve learned from the meditation I call on often during particularly stressful moments of my day or during travel. A few deep breaths can cure a lot for me.
- Don’t let fear derail you. When we get caught up on fear, it permeates so many aspects of our lives. In my time being self employed I have allowed myself at times to be paralyzed by fear. But I have been learning to lean more into risk and lean more into my intuition. I have been learning to embrace change and unforeseen circumstances and see the future beyond the fear that these things bring to me.
- Take a personal day. If your company allows them, take advantage! Don’t check email all day and instead do things that make you the happiest. Go to your favorite workout class, take yourself out to lunch, do a face mask – anything goes as long as it leaves you feeling happy and fulfilled. Ways I self care can be found here.
- Change your mindset. It’s important we stop living in a state of reminding ourselves that things haven’t been going great. I’ve been working hard at emitting a lot of positivity in my day every day and am reminding myself how positivity out = positivity back.
In case you’re interested in exploring some of these theories more, I recently read this book at the recommendation of a friend and really liked a lot of the philosophy in it. I took notes from the book on my phone and have been referencing them in the days following. Things like “you can take charge of your own mind and impact how your life unfolds.” Powerful things that are helpful when things are hard.