The other morning, I went into a massive downward spiral. (that’s what I call it when I get really down, and one bad thought leads to another.)
It started when a friend innocently recommended a lovely woman’s Instagram account with recipes for an anti-grain lifestyle. This mom chef seems kind, authentic and accomplished; she’s written five books (NYT bestseller!), has three little kids and has been doing Instagram Live every day at 11am during COVID to offer recipes to get people through quarantine with more joy. She suffers from an auto-immune disease and is passionate about helping others with similar issues.
I started off feeling inspired and excited to try some new recipes. By the end of the hour, I found myself thinking;
“I’m a failure. What have I done with my life?! She’s written FIVE books and I haven’t even written one. She’s cooking delicious, healthy meals for her family and I feel overwhelmed going to the grocery store. She made her husband ribs and this insane cake for father’s day…and I haven’t even planned anything for my hubby’s birthday. Plus, she’s accomplished all of this with three little kids at home during quarantine. I’m a failure as a business person, mom and wife. I suck.”
I took everything inspiring on this woman’s IG and used it as evidence of my own failure.
My inner critic (which I’ve been renaming my “Inner Asshole” thanks go Jennifer Pastiloff’s book On Being Human) was having a field day.
You may be thinking; “Vanessa, your mom just passed away, you’ve been going through a lot, cut yourself some slack!”
But how do you treat yourself?
Is your inner roommate as much of an asshole as mine?! It’s easy to tell someone else to put things in perspective and take it easy, and yet we often struggle to give ourselves that same kindness.
Here’s a great self-compassion practice + journaling to kick your inner a-hole to the curb:
I’m not gonna lie, sometimes even these tools don’t work for me.
I tried my usual tricks to get out of the mental funk – meditated, went on a run. Nothing helped.
Just get through the day. Find a neutral place.
My mood didn’t lift. I was down. And that’s ok. It ended up being one of those days I just had to get through. I woke up the next day feeling better, more hopeful.
Sometimes going to bed is the best solution. 🙂
For all of you having a hard time, you’re not alone. Some days just suck.
Often, my downward spirals get triggered by comparing myself to someone else. If you want to avoid having a crappy day like me, I recommend you catch it early and stop playing that game.
Get off social media, turn off the phone or the television, stop looking at LinkedIn, tell your sister you can’t talk right now, exit stage left from whatever’s causing your compare despair.
Instead, go take a bath or walk in nature. Light some candles, read a book. Do something nourishing for yourself. If you had a day like mine where nothing worked, just get through it, go to bed and pray for things to feel better in the morning. They usually do.
Everything seems brighter in the morning.
Funny thing is, now that I’m feeling more emotionally stable, my inner roommate has gotten quieter. I’m not comparing myself to others in a disparaging way. I feel hopeful and energized. I’m able to have a broader perspective and feel compassion towards myself. I’m not stressed about pausing my book project, it feels like a really good decision.
Get through the storms, and the sun will shine again.
It can feel impossible to turn around a bad mood. And that’s ok.
We’re in the middle of a global pandemic and an awakening to social injustice; many people are strained emotionally, financially, physically and even psychically.
Cut yourself some slack!
May you remember that you’re doing a great job, no matter what. And don’t let your Inner Asshole tell you any different!
P.S. Even though nothing lifted my bad mood the other day, practicing self-compassion usually does help.
Here’s a free Self-Compassion meditation to use anytime your inner a-hole won’t be quiet: