When You're Not Thriving
Updated: Jul 16, 2020
These pandemic days are getting both easier and harder. Easier, because I have a routine now, and I’ve figured out how to make the most of this time at home. Harder, because we don’t know when this will end, or what daily life looks like after.
For couples planning their wedding, the not-knowing makes my tagline – “love your day and the journey” pretty difficult. The journey to the day is meant to be defined by a planning timeline, with mini-celebrations all along the way: the bridal shower, the bachelor party and bachelorette, the “OMG our wedding is in a month!” moment… Without these touchstones, and with the added stress of “how many times am I going to answer this same question about my wedding?”, some people are feeling lost at sea. Maybe you don’t feel this way all day, every day – I have noticed that I think about my clients’ weddings a lot more than they do! – but we all have days where it’s a little harder to feel hopeful.
If you’ve ever had a conversation with me when you're feeling down, then you know what I’m going to say next. It’s one of my favourite quotes, adapted from a Charlie Brown comic strip: This is my depressed stance. When I’m depressed, I always stand like this.
The takeaway? Feel your feels. Those feelings aren’t going anywhere, and if you don’t investigate why you’re having them, they will keep popping up in different ways: bad moods, skin troubles, indigestion, and sleepless nights. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, take the time to jot down how you’re feeling and consider what might be at the root of it. And then, let it go. I’m all for wallowing – I truly believe the only way to get over a breakup is to watch Veronica Mars until you feel empowered once again – but it has to have a limit. Are you going to spend the entire quarantine in bed?
Yes, you can sit here and cry for a little. Maybe you need to take a whole day to do your best unhappy sloth impression. But since we don’t know how long this is going to last, wearing a blanket-cape and crying into your pinot isn’t a tenable plan. Once you’ve given your misery the attention it deserves, try a combination of the following tips and tricks I use daily to get myself out of a funk and into the zone.
1. Get dressed: This is a little life hack I learned when I was fresh out of high school, and calling up my crushes. I would be super nervous to ask someone out (not so nervous that I wasn’t willing to risk rejection to do it, I guess) and looking at myself in the mirror and liking who I saw looking back was a huge confidence booster. Twenty years later, I definitely don’t need a full face of makeup to feel confident, but it does make me feel more capable when I’m on a work call if I’m wearing jeans versus yoga pants something fresher than this week’s pajamas. It’s like doing a headstand – changing up your outfit helps to flip your mood.
2. Gratitude practice: I’m reading Glennon Doyle’s latest, Untamed, right now, so I hesitate to say we ought to have an attitude of gratitude because it risks prioritizing contentedness over desire – so, caveat: that’s not it. You can be grateful for what you have while manifesting what you will have, and wanting more does not mean you don’t appreciate what’s working for you right now. But what is working for you right now? Can you name three things? Having a daily gratitude practice (I currently use this journal, but I encourage you to check out the many ones made by small sellers on Etsy!) can help you start and finish the day on a thoughtful, uplifting note. That means chiller mornings and better sleep.
3. Vision board: I watched a short YouTube video on how to make a vision board a few weeks ago, and since then, I have made three: one for how I am showing up in my business right now, one for how I want my home life to look in the near future, and one to decorate my habit tracker for this month. Having your goals represented to you visually helps you to get clear about your intentions, and having your creation somewhere you can glance at it throughout your day is a reminder that you are inching closer to your dreams every day.
4. Habit tracker: I have been using habit trackers for years to help me be a better version of myself (mostly: someone who drinks more water and occasionally breaks a sweat) and I love it. It’s like having a really easy daily to-do list, and who doesn’t love ticking stuff off their list? Usually, it’s just a small chart in my weekly calendar, but now that I’m confined to my apartment, I’ve made massive, colourful monthly ones that hang on my wall. You can put anything you want on a habit tracker. What would make you feel good to tick off your list? Do you always forget to take your vitamins? Do you want a daily meditation practice? To learn to play an instrument? Pick a few things that you’d like more of in your life, and start giving yourself props for adulting like a boss.
5. Exercise/meditation: However you choose to clear your head, whether it’s through journaling, sitting in quiet stillness, or running with your headphones blaring, it’s all good. Get outside if you can, and soak up some vitamin D while you think about absolutely nothing. I promise you can meditate. You probably already do, multiple times a day, without even realizing it – meditation is what happens when your brain takes a break, like when you are staring off into space, and you come back to reality, and you don’t remember what you were thinking about. If you need help getting started, try being guided by my meditation teacher, Jennifer Bonadio – her energy is pure magic.
6. Establish your message: This is something I do in my 1:1 and 1:2 coaching sessions, which is figure out how you’re going to answer the millions of questions and requests you get from well-meaning loved ones. From “why are you postponing” to “can you seat me with so-and-so” to “your father and I really want you to…” – you need to know what you’re going to say in advance, so you don’t accidentally cave in to demands that don’t reflect your and your partner’s values. You can try doing this on your own, but if you feel stuck, shoot me a text. Literally, right now, shoot me a text: 514.754.1105. I put my phone on do not disturb if I’m sleeping or in my workflow, so you simply cannot “bother” me.
Of course, the remedy will have to suit the ailment, and this isn’t an exhaustive list of suggestions. The most important part is to avoid sweeping feelings under the rug, and to recognize that you and your partner are not always going to be in sync. For heterosexual relationships, this is pretty obvious, since women have an obvious monhtly cycle, while most men don’t know their cycle, since they don’t have a visual marker. But even in female relationships, there is no proof that cycles sync up. What’s more, our biorhythms are made up of more than just one hormonal cycle, they are not always predictable or even stable, and for most people, these many cycles are either unexplored or mystifying.
So, while you may know that you and your partner each have multiple cycles, trying to micromanage or predict them is a waste of your time. Simply acknowledge that you and your partner will have your individual ups and downs, and that while sometimes you will feel in sync, at other times, you won’t. And that’s a great lesson to carry you through beyond the wedding day. As frustrating as this time is, it’s a really awesome opportunity to get to know the person you’re planning to spend the rest of your life with a little better. And maybe you’ll get to know yourself, too.