I am not really the emotional type. That’s not to say I don’t have emotions – I most certainly do. I just hardly every cry, I prefer not to yell, and I tend to be able to keep my emotions under control. This isn’t always a good thing, as I tend to have issues communicating my feelings, but I am working on it. Anyway, I have had a rough week – one could say an emotional week. I fought with my husband on more than one occasion, my baby had a fever for a few days, a new client turned out to be very nasty, and my dogs had a vicious dog fight that has left us thinking about re-homing one of them. All in a week. It left me feeling undone, a bit numb, and like I just wanted to hide away from the world. So, I did just that. However, there are a few things that I did this week that I believe helped me get through the week without succumbing to my emotions.
I get down like everyone else, but it’s rare that I have a week like this. I don’t need much to be happy, and spending time with my children usually is all I need to find my center. This week was a little different.
You may be the kind of person that needs a good cry and a glass of wine – and that is perfectly fine. Give yourself permission. However, if you are like me and you want something you can actually do when you are feeling low…give these tips a try.
1. Journal: When I am writing blog posts, I have to critique myself. When I journal, I can just let it all pour out on paper and not give it a second thought. It is a release for me, and helps me organize my thoughts and relax my brain.
2. Unplug: This is one of the first things I do – unplug from the world. Turn off all electronics for the day if you can, and just be present. This can help you feel less attached to external pressures and demands.
3. Clean: This is one thing I do almost immediately when sad or stressed. Take 10- 15 minutes and tidy up your surroundings. Get lost in washing dishes or folding laundry. I know it sounds strange, but there is something soothing about cleaning up when your emotions are high. Less physical clutter often translates to less mental clutter.
4. Brain Dump: I love lists. I find making a list when I am sad or worried helps my mind clear, and then I can focus. Your list doesn’t have to make sense, just get everything that is locked inside your head out. Emotions, feelings, to dos, errands, quotes, anything.
5. Exercise: This can be a tough one to do when you are feeling low, but it has a big effect. Many studies show that people who exercise regularly benefit with a positive boost in mood and reduced stress levels. I might hate doing it, but I never regret the feeling of accomplishment and stress reduction.
6. Serve: Lifting others up will naturally lift you up. I don’t mean to tell you to neglect your needs, but finding ways to be a blessing to others when you are feeling low can take the overwhelming feelings down a few notches.
7. Self Care: You can not pour from an empty well. Take care of yourself. Make sure you are getting proper nutrition and hydration. Take a short nap if you need to, take a shower. Do something to fill your soul. You can’t take care of anyone or anything if you do not practice self care.
8. Ask for help. Delegate tasks, talk to your husband or family members. Tell people what you need and how you feel. Accept help and advice, and above all – pray.
If you are in a rough season right now, I pray that some of these suggestions will help you feel better. I’ve been using all of these strategies over the past few days and they have helped. I feel like myself again. It’s important not to feel guilty about being sad or upset. God gave us emotions and feelings and we can use them. I just don’t want you to fall victim to them and forget about the beauty of life around you.