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.
For When Things Aren’t Going Your Way
Anyhow, I’ve been making note of some of the things 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.
p.s. the 10 minute habit that has been changing my life and how I battle negative self talk.
Great post! I have had big changes in 2019 and was saying it was my year of struggle/hardship and was recently told instead to view it as a year of hope and possibility. This small change in my thinking has helped so much.
Precisely!! It’s hard every day to remind yourself to think of it that way but it really is powerful! I’m doing the same so know you’re not alone 🙂
Love this (and you!) and agree wholeheartedly!
So glad you recommended the book to me, too!!
This post really resonated with me. I found out in January that my job is being eliminated effective May 1st. I won’t say it’s been easy, but I have tried very hard to view this as an opportunity to explore new options and leap into some ventures I was thinking about only tiptoeing into, like starting my own business. Some days are harder than others for sure – even though the decision had nothing to do with how well I do my job, it’s hard not to get down about it sometimes. But I do find that so many of the things you’re doing also work for me. Going easy on myself, taking steps forward and trying to have faith that if I keep going in the right direction the results will come, volunteering, exercising, sleeping. It’s hard not knowing exactly what the future will look like, but really, when do we ever really know that anyway? I also truly believe that happiness is a choice, and when we focus on the source of happiness and contentment from inside ourselves as opposed to from external events,it’s much easier to hold onto it regardless of our circumstances. That being said, I do hope your 2019 gets easier and better!
I’m really glad the post resonated with you and I hope it only helps along what you’re already learning with this career challenge you’re dealing with! Seeing it as an opportunity will be hard but I think is SUCH a good way to frame this change.
I really appreciate these recommendations. They are such small, but actionable items that I do think can make a huge difference in reframing your state of mind.
I only recently discovered your blog, but I have been so impressed with how real you keep things. You seem to stay very true to yourself and I admire that so much. At the ripe old age of 33 I’m starting to really feel that whole idea of “who cares what other people think?” kick into gear and you know what — it’s kind of amazing. I really value your candidness and honesty. THANK YOU!
Brigid, you’ve made my day! Thank you for the kind words. I am so glad you’re enjoying my posts and am so happy to have you following along!
I’m still waiting for things to look up after a terrible two years. I want to believe it’s going to happen but the longer it takes, the more I feel like it never will.
That said, I do try to be positive and I’ll see if I can put some of your tips into my daily life.
I hope the tips will help! HIGHLY recommend the book I linked to as well – it is a game changer in mindset training. Things ALWAYS get better – promise xo
Thank you so much for this post. I am so sorry to hear — from this and statements you’ve dropped in other recent posts, too — that you have been going through such a hard time lately, and I hope things improve and am sending good vibes your way. I do have to say, thank you for keeping up such honest content during your difficult times — between this post, and the post about being single in your 30s, and the recent post about being your own date, I am blown away by how powerful those posts have all been, and all about difficult topics! I really appreciate it, because we are all human and struggle at times.
So very kind of you! And so grateful for your appreciation of the work I do here – I can’t tell you what that means to me!
Love this, 100% true. Another tip is to watch what you eat. When big changes (that can actually be positive or negative) happen we naturally gravitate toward junk food as a self-soother. The better you eat, and the more mindful you are of how big changes are affecting you the happier you will be – even big positive changes can have a negative affect on your mental health. The human body/mind is built for stability and routine and does not handle change well.
The end of 2017 to the beginning of 2018 was DIFFICULT to say the least. I handled the day to day by mostly doing what you discussed in your article. It got me through in what I thought was pretty good form.
What I was not expecting, however, was how the positive changes that came in the latter half of 2018 and beginning of 2019 would throw me. And how long the changes in 2018 would take to fully catch up to me.
I realized about 3 months ago that while I have great self care habits, a good grasp on my mental health, and a solid, wonderful support network, I was, in fact, probably dealing with some mild depression. I changed my diet, which got me motivated to be out and active again and helped kick my mental health into high gear. There is an incredible mind-gut connection that is not often discussed and I think rarely realized, but ever so important.
And of course you have to be gentle with yourself. Allow the sad/mad/bad days. Celebrate the small victories when the happen. And take time for you.
I so agree, Sarah! I always emotionally eat and definitely end up feeling worse and more lethargic as a result! Thank you so much for sharing your wise words and your experience. Really appreciate it and know other readers of this post will, too!
Could not agree more with all of this! For some reason all my most difficult challenges have seemed to be weighted to the end/start of each of the past few years, and while I’m normally an unfailing optimist who believes we determine our own happiness, it can sometimes be hard to remain positive and optimistic when it’s just one thing too many. I found myself spiralling into really low self confidence and negative self-talk (bookmarking your post on that!), so I’ve spent the last few weeks accepting that I can’t control what I can’t control and instead focusing on taking charge of my own thoughts, attitude, and happiness-boosting things. That + the spring weather have made all the difference and I feel suddenly less adrift.
Sending so much love and abundance and happy vibes your way!!
“accepting that I can’t control what I can’t control” – so much power in this statement! It really is so true. Wish we lived closer to boost each other up in person more often! Sending you loads of good vibes in the meantime. <3 you friend!