facebook

19 Ways To Get Your Life Together (When Everything Seems To Be Falling Apart)

Photo: getty
19 Ways to Feel Better When Life Feels Rough

There's hope, but you need to take action.

So, you’re having a bad day. Or maybe a crappy week. Or maybe experiencing a series of days upon days of a funky blue feeling you just can’t shake.

And you’re tired of it, so tired of your heart hurting and general malaise. So tired of that sense of ennui and melancholy hanging around you.

Just like nature has different seasons, we humans go through a myriad of seasons and stages in our life. When a series of bad days bleed into what feels like more than a rough patch? Reminding myself that it’s simply a challenging season also reminds me that there are better days coming.

I wish I could tell you that I have a magic wand to wave or a special way of standing on one leg while chanting mantras that instantly took the pain away.

My darling, there’s nothing that fixes it all. Yet, there are ways to ferry yourself to the other side of a tough time. Tricks that help you lessen the pressure on your heart and ease your soul in small, yet tender ways.


RELATED: 6 Lessons In How To Be Happy (Even When Being Happy Is Hard For You)


Here are 19 ways on how to feel better when the season feels a little too intense, and depression is creeping up:

1. Be honest with yourself.

You can keep trying to pretend you’re doing just fine, but pretending doesn't always work. Sure, faking it until you make it might help a little, but it also can feel like denial.

Instead, just be honest with yourself: "I’m going through a rough patch." Awareness is your friend.

2. Feel your feelings (but don't wallow). 

The only way forward is through, so you must allow yourself to feel your feelings. Allow yourself to feel sad and have a little cry. Be angry and throw an old plate against the concrete to move through your rage. Feel all the feelings, and then allow yourself to feel the next emotion, which is usually relief.

Feel it, move forward. Play this game as often as you need to. But don’t be an emotional cutter. Don’t purposely wallow in it and focus only on the challenging parts. Let the raw emotion go through you and burn away the pain. Then, move on, darling.

3. Allow yourself to be comforted.

The folks that love us? They want us to be happy. Maybe no one can fix a challenging season, but do allow others to comfort you. Allow long hugs. Have more sex. Let your friend take you to lunch. Go for a weekend away with your partner.

Allowing yourself to feel comforted by others reminds you that no matter what you’ve experienced, there are good things in your world.

4. Don’t allow your inner bully to surface.

One of the biggest obstacles to getting through the other side of a challenging season is the ways in which we speak to ourselves. Oh, that Inner Bully who says "snap out of it" or "you should feel better" or "you have nothing to be sad about" or "get over it already" makes us feel even worse.

Because, yes, I have a wonderful life with so many blessings, I should get over a bad day or a rough week because yes, there are those out there suffering more than I am. But that doesn't make my feelings invalid. So, tune out that Inner Bully of yours. Remind yourself that your feelings — all of your feelings — are valid.

5. Move your body.

Sometimes, the mere act of moving your body allows your mind to clear out what’s making you feel blue. Take a walk. Rake some leaves. Mop the floor.

Physical activity pushes good-feeling endorphins through your body. It helps, even when lacing up your shoes seems like more effort than sitting on the couch.

6. Get out of our own story. 

Or maybe stay on the couch. The stories we tell ourselves about who we are and what a crappy day means keeps us stuck inside that story. Sometimes the best solution to the swirling thoughts is to escape them.

Choose, instead, to get lost in the stories of others: movies, books, or television series. Curling up on the couch with a trashy romance novel or settling in for a Netflix Marathon is just the right prescription for the day. You can’t escape your life forever, but you can escape a crappy day for an hour or two.

7. Make something.

There’s a reason why art therapy works: it allows you to use your body and brain together to create something. Make a cake. Make a video or a quick Instagram Story. Write a story or a poem. Color in one of those adult coloring books (or a kid one).

Making things with your hand and heart and soul and mind will heal you.

8. Try positive daydreaming. 

When you imagine that wonderful things are happening in your life — from meeting a soulmate to driving a new car to laying on your favorite beach — your brain makes a chemical cocktail of in response to the feelings those daydreams create.

Just like a gratitude practice creates new neural pathways in your brain, positive daydreaming also fires and wires new synaptic connections. Win. Win.

9. Primp yourself.

Feeling rotten on the inside? Then, darling, pretty up the outside. Go the salon for a haircut or just a blowout. Get your nails done. Buy a new lipstick or allow the make-up counter lady to give you a make-over.

Not only are you allowing yourself to be cared for by someone else, you’re boosting how you feel. Studies show that those who put on lipstick before a test scored better.

10. Treat yourself like a china doll. 

Maybe you just need a little tenderness. Spend the day or an hour or even five minutes treating yourself like you are a china doll that just might break without gentleness. Take a longer shower and lovingly tend your body. Spend an inordinate amount of time applying your makeup. Leisurely have breakfast at the table instead of eating in the car on the way to work.

Notice the key words here: tenderness, gentleness, and tending.


RELATED: 5 Ways You Can Embrace Happiness Even When You’re Totally Sad


11. Take yourself to lunch. 

Speaking of eating breakfast at the table instead of on the way to work, when’s the last time you went to lunch?

As in: go to a restaurant where you can order from a menu, have a waiter bring you a nice meal while regularly refilling your water glass, and sit and breathe. You can use this time to read a book or people watch. No fast food, no drive-thru lunch as you rush through errands, and no sad desk lunches.

You, at a table, in a favorite place to eat. A way to be around people without having to be social. This is one of my go-to’s for a challenging season: a weekly lunch date with me, myself, and I!

12. But don't eat your feelings. 

It can be oh so tempting to eat that pint of Hagen Daas. Or that cheeseburger. Or a box of Thin Mints you stashed in the freezer. And here’s the deal: you’ll feel crappy afterwards.

Instead, mindfully go for that treat. Put ice cream in a dish and savor it. Go for that cheeseburger, but make it a good one (at a table in a restaurant and not while in your car). Yes, eat those Thin Mints you’re craving, but put them on a plate and have them with a cup of coffee or tea.

The trick is to do it with your full attention. Tell yourself: "I know this ice cream isn't going to fix things, but I can enjoy the experience of eating this creamy treat and allowing myself to enjoy it."

That’s how you use eating as a way to experience a feeling of desire rather than numb it.

13. Retail therapy...in moderation.

I would never suggest that you spend money you don’t have or fill your home with things you don’t need, but sometimes, you just need a little retail therapy. Choose a talisman to represent your survival of this rough patch — a new purse, some sexy lingerie, a pair of sunglasses, a charm for your bracelet.

Indulge yourself with that book you’ve been wanting to read — in hardcover. Buy the pretty candle. Just do it in a mindful way, just like the eating thing.

14. Unplug and put your phone down. 

Do you ever find yourself in a funky mood after scrolling through your social media feed? If so, a tech detox might be just the thing to cure what ails you.

That nagging sense of negativity often comes out when we’re playing the comparison game — and we can all fall prey when our social media feeds are bombarding us with beautiful people going to fabulous places wearing ridiculously good outfits. Disconnect, put away your phone, and go do something that feeds your soul.

15. Go play.

I remember my granny sending us kids outside to play. It always made me feel better. When was the last time you played? Jump some rope. Play a board game. Go to the movies in the middle of the week. Do something fun and joyful.

Going through a rough patch doesn't mean you have to burrow into those feelings of seriousness and somberness all the time. Play helps you reconnect with your own inner light.

16. Spread joy.

While you’re out and about, choose to connect with others. I know, it’s the last thing you feel like doing when you’re experiencing a rough day, let alone a challenging season. But trust me, it helps.

All those things you want to experience? Happiness, kindness, tenderness, and gentleness? Be that person when you go out in the world. Smile at the stranger at Starbucks. Banter with the cashier. Listen to the lady behind you at the post office, really listen and allow her to know she is seen.

This is such a simple act, yet it’s probably the number one quickest way to get out of a funk. Get outside yourself and focus your attention on others.

17. Share with a trusted friend. 

Sometimes, you have to say things out loud to figure out how you’re really feeling. Or what might be triggering you to feel out of sorts. And sure, you can talk to yourself, but that’s not the same as being heard by someone who can be a good listener, be empathetic, and can help you identify what’s happening inside your head.

Usually, that helps me shift what’s happening to a more positive light or simply acts as medicine for my soul. Take ‘em out and do this over lunch or coffee or happy hour.

A few notes about this choice: Don’t choose someone that doesn't listen well. Don’t choose that person that always turns every conversation back to them. Don’t choose that person who will remind you how “lucky and blessed” you are. And don’t over-abuse the person’s ability to listen (a.k.a tell the same person the same sad story over and over again).

It works best with someone that can be there for you today — and then you can be there for them when they’re having a crappy week.

18. Hire a life coach or therapist.

But what if you don’t have that trusted friend available for coffee or lunch? What if you need a bit of help pulling yourself out of a funk?

Hire a life coach to work with to help you create a plan. Find a therapist to help you through this rough patch. There's a reason why talking about our challenges works.

19. Write it out.

Kind of like the trusted friend solution above, writing down your feelings in a journal can help you process what’s really going on. Complete honesty is a must here, so go ahead and purge your feelings onto the page, even if they seem stupid or irrational. Something about the process of words on paper often dovetails with solutions presenting themselves on paper.

Writing things out in an emotional way also allows you to distance yourself from the emotion and see your way to logic. That’s good heart medicine, marrying your heart and brain. While you have pen and paper out, you can also better own your story by choosing to re-write it. Research shows that it helps you to find a deeper sense of happiness.

Remember: you are human. Not superhuman. Not a robot. A flesh and blood human.

And that means that inevitably, you will experience challenging seasons. But that doesn't mean you can’t find ways to ease your suffering. Each season of our life adds to the rich fabric of our human experience.

We get to decide what we’re going to make that mean and the best way I know to not just survive this season, but find ways of thriving in the future,  means that you’ll have to care for yourself in lots of deep ways.

Just as spring follows winter, remind yourself that better days are coming. Even when a season is more challenging than beautiful, that doesn't mean you can’t get through it with tenderness and grace.


RELATED: 20 Ways To Be Good To Yourself Today


Debra Smouse is a life coach and author who discovered that when she fell in love with life, it loved her right back. Get a free e-book and a bi-weekly love note

This article was originally published at DebraSmouse.Com. Reprinted with permission from the author.

Author
Expert