Author: Emiliya Tsaneva
Some mornings we wake up in a wonderful mood, we feel like doing sports, we are full of energy and we can’t wait to start getting things done in order to move closer to our goals. Everything happens with ease, people are nice to us and there are even some pleasant surprises. It would be wonderful if we could wake up like this every day and things were happening with such an ease all the time. Those days, however, are often followed by other types of mornings.
We suddenly woke up with a heavy heart and start thinking – I don’t feel like doing anything; there is no point; I am tired; today I don’t feel like doing sports; I haven’t done anything right so far in my life; I haven’t accomplished anything; nothing works for me; it’s no point trying, it won’t work anyways. We drag ourselves throughout the day and our inner criticism keeps growing – I am not productive enough; I broke the promise in front of myself to do sports regularly; there is such a mess all around me and I haven’t done anything about it; nothing happens as I wanted it; I am not good for anything. I lack the power and motivation to do anything, so until the end of the day I have slipped into a downward spiral to such an extent that things seem even worse than they were in the morning.
Having days when everything happens with ease and then days when there are a lot of difficulties on the way is something normal. Life is not only sunshine and roses, there are hardships as well – and this is true for all people. The good things in life give us energy and support, the difficulties on the other hand help us develop our will and character. This is the rhythm of life, similar to a heart diagram – up and down, up and down over and over again. However, the sad part is that many people have the tendency to use the moments when they are down not to build their character, but to hurt and destroy themselves. This is why I’ve decided to give you some ideas what you could do in order to support yourself instead of hurting yourself:
- Compare only with yourself – the comparison with others is the fastest way to hurt yourself. There will always be someone more beautiful, smarter, more successful, healthier, with a more attractive partner, thinner, fitter, happier, no matter how many things you have learned, developed, created. Social media could be a blessing if we use it as a source of ideas on how to create something beautiful in our lives, but it could also be a curse, if we use it as a source of pain by comparing ourselves. First of all, on social media a person usually posts only when the pulse of life is in the upward direction. The low moments we usually keep for ourselves, which creates the illusion of perfection. Second, each of us has their own path in life and we choose where to invest our time and energy at each moment. Yes, at the moment I am not traveling to interesting places, but I am finishing my education. Yes, at the moment I don’t have a partner, but I got the promotion at work I wanted. We chose one thing over the other, because it was more important for us at that point. So when you are in a bad mood, don’t allow yourself comparison with others, instead try to think of how much you have developed over the years and what you have achieved so far.
- Roll up your sleeves – when we are in a low mood, it feels natural to simply do nothing. If you go with this and just scroll on your phone or watch one series after the other whole day, at the end of the day you will most probably feel worse, especially if you’ve actually intended to get some things done, but because of the low mood you’ve kept postponing it. We can’t keep going all the time – of course we also need a rest, however, it is important to give ourselves the conscious permission for it and really be able to relax, otherwise most of us tend to punish ourselves in the end because we didn’t get the planned things done. When you are feeling down, you could consciously allow yourself a couple of hours of laziness with a set end, then choose something important for you and start doing it. Yes, at the beginning most probably you won’t have energy for it, you won’t feel like doing it, you could even start criticizing yourself that you are not doing it well enough – this doesn’t matter. Just start and keep on doing the thing you have chosen as important at the moment and soon you might all of a sudden feel a bit better already.
- Give yourself support – if someone was hard on you, why would you punish yourself additionally and keep thinking about it over and over and over again? Or you had a conflict with someone and you feel bad about it, because you hate conflicts, you simply want to hide from the situation, you feel like a bad person in it. There is no way that all people will be nice to us, neither could we go through life without running into a conflict situation. Conflicts are not pleasant, but going through them can teach us a lot, as well as make the relationship with the other stronger. If we try to avoid conflicts all the time, we actually rob ourselves – our personal life and our job will suffer for sure. Yes, it is not pleasant when someone is rude to us or is not happy with the way we did something. This is exactly why in such situations we need care and support, not rubbing additional salt in the wound. We could think about similar situations, which we went through and are still alive and healthy afterwards, we could read a book on the topic or talk to someone who would understand us. In such situations we really need to give ourselves tenderness, not self-punishment using compulsive overthinking.
- Get moving – yes, I know that in such a mood the energy you have is just enough to lay in bed curled up the whole day. I know how dark, bad and heavy it could feel. But is this what you want for yourself? To stay in the dark, bad and heavy the whole day? It could even be a whole week if you decide to stay there! No? Great then! Your body will help you get you out of there. When we start moving, this helps us get out of the head and the constant criticism towards ourselves. Turn on some music and get moving. But don’t turn on sad and depressing music (this is exactly what we tend to choose when we are in a low mood), do the opposite – go with happy and energetic music. That’s right! Turn the volume up and start dancing. Or go out in the park and have 3 rounds of walking. Just get moving. You will feel better afterwards, I promise!
- Contact a psychotherapist – in case that you are constantly experiencing low mood and you can’t remember the last time you had a good day; if your thoughts are mostly about how there is no sense and you are not good for anything, don’t wait for matters to get worse, just contact a psychotherapist. The sooner you take care of yourself, the better.
Don’t hurt yourself by default. When you are about to do or to skip doing something, simply ask yourself the question – is this supporting me or is it destroying me? Be gentle with yourself, you matter!