Hello, my friends.
Life is hard, this is a generally acknowledged truth. Lately, however – oh, say, the last five or six months – has been feeling a little harder than average. I know I’ve been feeling it, and I think there are very few people in the world who haven’t been feeling it.
There’s the elephant in the room of COVID, there’s the general political climate, there’s the specific conversation surrounding race relations, it’s an election year – the list of difficulty goes on and on.
There’s no real, tangible, immediately effective way to make ourselves feel a whole lot better in the current landscape; but there are little things, ways to make days or even just moments better and lighter. So, I present to you:
Emma’s Tips to Feel a Little Bit Better
- In the modern age, this is fairly literal: turn off your phone. Put away social media. It can get unhealthy to be so glued to the virtual plane, and it can really deeply affect you emotionally. So turn it off – for a few hours, for a few days. You make the call.
I put all of my social media into a folder in May that says “don’t touch until you feel less depressed.” Even though I went back to frequenting social media three weeks later, I left the offending apps in the folder. It’s a good visual reminder to me to spend less time with them.
- If it’s a real-life conversation or argument, bow out. This does not mean concede – you can say something like “I’m losing my ability to engage fruitfully in this discussion. I’d love to continue it, but I need to take a break for now.” Then remove yourself. Go home, go to your room, you get the idea. You are allowed to do this. It does not make you weak or wrong, it means you’re taking care of yourself. Which is very important, even when you’re talking about important things.
- Whatever you’re feeling – sadness, anger, frustration, despair – give yourself some time to feel it. Don’t feel like you have to rationalize, bottle it up, or ignore it. Let yourself have it.
- However, there is a fine line to walk: don’t wallow. After your appointed “feel it” time, start to parse through why you’re feeling that way, and start to let it go. Realize life is not always ugly, and open yourself up to letting go of the negative emotion you’re feeling.
- Listen to something that makes you happy or feel content. Music, an audiobook, a podcast. If you’re a reader, read something. A watcher, rewatch something that makes you happy. Coloring pages are deeply relaxing and re-setting for me.
- Drink water.
- Eat something.
- Have something nice: tea, coffee, a li’l bit of chocolate.
- Take a nap. Or, if it’s bedtime, call it a day and go to bed.
- Clean your room and make your bed. You don’t think it will make you feel better, but it will.
- Clean up your desk and/or work area(s).
- Take a bath or shower yourself. Use the nice bath bomb you’ve been saving, or the bubble bath, or re-load your scentsy and fire it up, do a face mask – take care of your body and hygiene.
5. Reach Out
- Who’s your person? You know who I mean. The person that can always make you feel better. Your confidant, your supporter, your go-to. Select that person, and reach out to them. In person is always better, but a call, video chat, or text is a close second.
- You don’t have to talk through the problem with them if you don’t want. Just visiting with them is often enough to make everything just a little bit better. But find that person go to them. Don’t completely isolate yourself, even if you do need a little alone time before reaching out. We need other people; so use your network.
6. Remember: It Won’t Always Be Like This
This has been an important one for me lately. It’s easy to feel stuck in a rut, or despair at the perpetuity of suffering in our world, but no situation is permanent. The world changes, people change, and everything is in seasons.
There are downs, but there are undeniable ups. The tunnel has a light at the end of it, even if you can’t see it right now. You have your favorite things, your loved ones, those little spots of sunshine. Focus on them when it all feels too much. Don’t tune out the difficulty totally, but it’s okay to forget it for just a bit in favor of the good things. We desperately need those.
That’s the list. I know it’s all things you’ve heard before, but I’ve been needing a reminder of them all over the last months. I think a lot of us do. So feel better, everyone. It will all be okay – there’s no telling when, but I know it will be.