To my friend who’s curled up in the fetal position in her bed, mindlessly scrolling through her phone…
To my friend sitting on the couch in a darkened room, allowing his mind to list a million ways he is failing at life…
To my friend who feels the world is a dark and scary place that is “too much” to face day after day…
This letter is for you. It’s a gentle reminder to open the blinds…
….let the sun in and touch your spirit…
…splash some water on your face, because the truth seems too simple to consider right now…
… the self-hate feels too hungry for attention…
It is easy to sweep what we need to do under the rug when the emotions get heavy. We’re burdened down with the feeling of wanting to ‘crawl under a rock’ and disappear…. I hear you. 💚
The truth is this:
The only person who is expecting perfection from you— is you.
The truth is, nobody is expecting you to be perfect. Nobody is expecting you to be on top of your game every day. The only expectation they desire is for you to show up in their life— as you are… the perfectly imperfect person, because they LOVE YOU.
The feelings and emotions of complete depletion, frustration, anger, sadness and despair – are all symptoms of the light having been blown out of you.
No wonder you feel numb, nothing, empty, lonely… maybe even a little sick to your stomach with a headache… There is no flame lit inside you.
We need to find a way to spark that flame again…
This morning I woke up feeling sick. My dog, Henry, is pretty good at sensing when my head is in that space again, because I find him curled up against my back in the morning, extra close to me – refusing to move.
History has shown me that most often when I feel sick, my body is depressed. I’m not actually sick in the traditional “normal” way, a cold/flu. Symptoms of depression do manifest in a way that can resemble flu-like symptoms (nausea, digestive issues, headache, etc). I wanted to curl up in my bed and stay there all day— without any responsibilities. But instead, I just slept in and started my day late.
When I don’t feel well, when my mind and body are depressed, I don’t want any responsibilities, and I often feel resentful of the ‘have to’ tasks of life. I begin down the path of negative thinking, angry with myself for being slow, for not finishing projects, for being ‘sick again‘, for feeling depressed, all of which make me feel like a failure.
If only I could relax- really relax, without feeling like I should be doing something else…
What is that feeling? Because I can do relaxing activities – nobody is holding me back from doing them… but ‘something’ isn’t allowing me to completely let go of feeling guilty about doing so…
That feeling does have a name, it’s called anxiety. Being restless – the inability to ‘just relax’. I also like to refer to anxiety in different ways…
When it causes feelings of panic, I refer to it as a dragon.
When it sets HEAVY emotions, and obsessive worries, and feelings of self-hatred on the mind, sometimes making it hard to breathe, I refer to it as an elephant on the mind.
When I have a day like today, where “I don’t feel well”, I have to shrink myself really small so I can escape the large elephant weighing on my mind, making me feel sick. With myself being small, so are all my ‘have to’ concerns made smaller.
I then choose to focus on ONE thing for the day, measuring the task based on how I feel…
Shrinking the ‘Have To’s’ into ONE Task for the Day
You and I are both feeling depleted, so I have a challenge for us to spark, and reignite that flame in us, so we can have a better chance for a better day tomorrow.
In order to spark motivation within us, the task needs to be realistic, when measured against the heavy weight on our mind. Trying to tackle 10+ ‘have to’ tasks when we have a large elephant weighing us down is just not reality. We have to shrink small to the size of a mouse so we can escape that large weight.
So we focus on ONE thing. With that one task, we attach a realistic time. So let’s do 20 minutes. All you have to do, is just 20 minutes of that ONE task, and then you can call your day complete. The rest of the day is free!
What is one thing you feel you can do today?
The magic that sometimes happens, is not only will we be able to breathe easier, because we escaped that heavy weight of guilt of responsibility, but now we can believe we can do something! That task list is much smaller, and easy. After that 20 minutes is over, we will sometimes even want to keep going. What started out as 20 minutes, is now an hour! We just hacked our brain! 🙂
Yay!!!! We can do difficult things!
When We Simplify, We Get More Done
The goal is to keep moving forward. Once we have successfully sparked motivation back within us, we nurture that reborn flame with kindness towards ourselves.
We are kind to ourselves when we allow ourselves permission to be gentle.
Today, I felt overwhelmed at the thought of doing a full article as I have promised those who follow my blog, a new article every Monday. I never plan for difficult days to land on a Monday, but that’s what happened today.
If you’re reading this, it’s only because I successfully ‘hacked my brain’ by making the task look small. 🙂 I had a big topic to write about today, but I chose to move that to next week, and focus on ‘being real’ and relate to how I was feeling today.
I know that hacking the brain works, because I’ve done it before when I choose to focus on just ONE thing when I feel tempted to do absolutely nothing, because I feel like ‘giving up’. With the help of years of therapy, my coursework at Amen University, I know it’s scientifically proven to work when you reduce the load on the mind, but keep yourself moving.
Don’t stop. Find a way to keep a goal for the day and take small [realistic] steps towards that goal. This keeps your brain strong with mental exercise (you’re setting yourself a small challenge for the day), and keeps your body healing.
You don’t have to do everything today. Just focus on ONE. The rest will follow.
So if you made it to the end of this article, I’m proud of you. This shows me that you care about your brain health in much the same way that I do. 💚
I hope you will be gentle, and realistic, with yourself today and choose to focus on just ONE task.
That task may be to wash the dishes that are sitting in the sink, it may be tidying up the front room, it may be writing in your journal, or it might be finally taking a shower…. Whatever that task looks like, choose to change the narrative in your mind, and be proud of yourself. You are choosing to take your power back and take charge of your mind; refusing to allow your mind to control you. That takes a great deal of effort, and sometimes takes all the energy you have inside you. But the reward in the end will be you feeling accomplished. By focusing on ONE task, completing that task, you wisely set yourself up for success. Having accomplished something is healing. 💚
You are strong, your are brave, and you are worth it. I am proud of you for showing up, and not giving up. 💚