Have you ever had one of those days?
You know, like the ones Elvis sang about? Where nothing goes right, from morning ‘til night? Sometimes, life throws so many challenges that you start feeling like you want to sling some mud back! And, suddenly, the light at the end of the tunnel seems to disappear. In fact, noticing any positives at all becomes a near impossible task.
And so, I found myself in just such a situation this past week. I was already burned out, having been struggling with some aspects of my business and, as a result, working far more hours than my mind and body could cope with, grappling with my son’s school over a bullying situation, losing my home-office internet as a result of freak weather, exhaustedly travelling up and down the country doing speaking gigs, having an online training go horribly wrong, and then finding out that a member of my family has had a terminal diagnosis confirmed. Everything seemed to be going wrong and I was losing my cool. Spatting with my lovely manfriend for no reason, comfort eating, snapping at my kids for the slightest indiscretion, and generally being a great big grump!
So, what can you do when it feels like life has it in for you? Well…
1. See it as it really is
It’s easy to fall into that victim mind-set when it feels like everything’s going wrong but, in reality, there were plenty of things going right. In the same time frame I got some fantastic reviews on Amazon for my book, had some great coaching sessions, signed up three lovely new clients, got a brilliant turnout for the re-launch of my 4Networking branch, a number of successful speaking and training gigs, and was even awarded Business Mum of the Month by a local networking group.
But, instead of enjoying it, I was magnifying what was going wrong and letting it shrink the good stuff away to nothing. Unfortunately, it took me a few days to realise I was being self-defeating. I hadn’t practiced gratitude in a while and, as soon as I did, it became apparent that I was blowing things out of all proportion. And, let’s face it; it’s hard to appreciate the good if there’s never any bad for comparison.
So, if you find yourself succumbing to pessimism because a few things are going wrong, remind yourself that the only people without challenges are already dead, and that every time something goes wrong, it’s a chance to learn and grow. Most importantly, be realistic about what’s going on, get counting your blessings, and look for the opportunities to improve your patience, your critical reasoning, and your compassion.
2. Give yourself a break
If you’re regularly working on maintaining your positivity and optimism, it can be difficult to accept it when you get knocked off your feet. The feeling that you should just be able to pick yourself up, dust yourself down, and crack on can end up making you feel ten times worse. So, give yourself a break. It’s ok to admit that you feel crappy, as long as you don’t allow it to consume you or let it carry on beyond a few days.
Show yourself the same compassion that you would show to your best friend, if she were in the same position. Cut back your hours for a few days, get more rest, enjoy time with your loved ones, and accept that which you can’t change. Because, once you’ve accepted whatever’s going wrong, you’ll be able to start coming to terms with it, and find ways in which you can handle it.
3. Ask for help
Personally, my independent streak can sometimes be my downfall. So, even when I really need some help, I still find myself insisting that I can handle everything myself. The problem with that mind-set is that it just serves to burn you out even more. So, on this occasion I did reach out to someone. A networking associate who I don’t know all that well but who has made all the difference for me these last couple of days, particularly with regards to my business, but also just in improving my emotional wellbeing.
So, if you could do with some help, then be bold enough to ask. You’d be surprised how often people, even those you’ve just met, will jump to your assistance if you be honest and share your challenges. And, you’ll be surprised how much stronger you feel with someone else in your corner.
So, how about sharing your top tips for picking yourself up when life gets you down?