06.01.2017

Wellness Series || 7 Ways To Deal With The Lows In Life

I wanted to start this post with “Sh** happens….” then I thought it was too forward… then I realized, that’s life. Stuff happens. We’re let down, we have setbacks…. failures even, timing of situations doesn’t workout, tragedy occurs, our minds drift to negative spaces, and so much more can, and does, go wrong. In my 20’s I had a hard time with all of that. As I was working to establish my career, lasting friendships, romantic relationships, and a strong sense of self, all of the above happened. I experienced significant loss in my life…. through death and the ending of relationships. I was rejected from jobs. I had professional failures too. I’d spend days dwelling on the negative, feeling sorry for myself, obsessing over things I said, and going over countless ways I coulda, shoulda, and woulda handled a situation… or ways I would have liked someone else to act differently. Yet, as I moved through my 20’s, and well into my 30’s, I began to feel more settled. I started to worry less, and came to take the good that life gave right along with the bad that was dealt. I’d always heard people say the 30’s are the best years… I never knew why… and then, when I stopped to reflect on where I was, realized they were. Life doesn’t get any easier (trust me)…. I think I just matured.  I came to look at situations differently, different values took priority, and I used the techniques I always knew would help me get through the anxious and sad times in my life…. I felt more confident using them… and simply, I grew more confident in who I am as a person.

 I used to be a Marriage and Family therapist, and so much of what I did on a daily basis was dedicated to listening and helping empower people to manage their lives in a more functional manner. I never sought to solve their problems (that was their job), but instead, looked to give them the tools they needed to be successful in life. They were the same tools that I had begun to use regularly. Escaping uncomfortable situations, never experiencing sad days and weeks, and avoiding anxiety just isn’t possible. At some level, these uncomfortable situations serve a functional role in our lives. What I realized was that it’s how we deal with them that matters the most. And, since crap happens to all of us, I felt like sharing some of the tricks I use to help me get through those less than perfect moments in life……..

1. Will This Matter…..???: Let’s be honest here, most of the crap I worry about will never have a lasting impact on my life…. yet, so often, I waste my time with it, inappropriately evaluating it’s importance. So, I routinely ask myself, “Will this matter in a week, a month, or a year?” It puts things into perspective pretty quickly. It also helps me prioritize where to direct my time and efforts. If something is going to ultimately matter in a year from now, then it likely requires more of my time than something that I won’t give two thoughts about in a mere 7 days. The number of likes I get on an instagram photo will not matter in a year from now…. but, a health concern will. Prioritize.

2. Plan Something Fun: I’ve always believed that the best way out of a lull in life is to schedule something to look forward to. I used to recommend it to clients all the time. It’s one of the quickest ways to help me deal with blah life situations. A quick weekend getaway is usually my favorite… not always financially possible, so a few other go-to’s include a favorite workout class, time to read my favorite book or Netflix series (current favorite is 13 Reasons Why…. and, yes, I schedule that stuff….), a long walk (or cocktails) with a girlfriend, a family hike on the weekend, or an at home date night. Scheduling in “fun” is a sure way to provide a little break from a negative life rut.

3. Phone (or text) A Friend: I think it’s so easy to isolate when difficult times arrive. Yet, the very act of isolating can often perpetuate the situation. I always find that chatting with TJ, calling a friend, texting my mom, sister, or dad is typically a good way to shift the tide in a different direction. It might not make the feeling go away, but it’s a good feeling when you feel supported and heard.

4. Evaluate My Evaluation: For both times of worry and sadness, I’ve found that taking a look at how I view the situation helps me gain perspective. Am I magnifying the negative? Minimizing the positive? Or, am I reading another person’s mind… thinking I know what they thought of our conversation/interaction? Am I creating a catastrophe, where it’s really only a minor blip (you know the saying, “Creating a mountain our of a mole hill…”). I’d say 90% of the time I can identify that I’m doing one of those four things, which helps me do the opposite. Notice something positive, acknowledge that I have no clue what the other person is thinking and that I’m putting my personal thoughts/opinions on them, and quickly look at a situation for what it is (just because Harper didn’t sleep through her afternoon nap doesn’t mean that we’re going through a huge sleep regression).

5. Take Charge Where I Can: I find I often feel worse when I feel as if there is nothing I can do about a situation. There are always variables outside of my control, so being able to identify those is a good starting place (can’t change those, why waste precious energy on it….). After doing so, I’m able to make a list of the ways I can actually illicit some sort of change. What I’ve come to realize is that I can always control myself, and make good decisions. Whether that’s how I respond to someone, how I treat my body, or how I take care of myself mentally. Ways I typically choose to take control are by eating healthy, working out, putting effort into relationships that are healthy and reciprocal, apologizing when I’ve hurt someone…. the act of doing something to better a situation often helps me feel less helpless (which is never a good feeling). Also, recognizing that some variables are outside of my control helps me minimize the amount of responsibility I feel in certain situations (I’ve come to realize that I tend to overemphasize my level of responsibility in any given situation).

6. Faith: I personally don’t believe in chance, and everyone has their own faith and spiritual journey. I use mine, and always encouraged my client’s to do the same. I turn to faith for answers that I can’t explain, for guidance during the difficult times, and for hope…. no matter what one’s faith, there are typically guiding principles that direct in difficult times…. which can be a great source of comfort.

7. Accepting: Sometimes this is just the best answer. By accepting I am simply acknowledging that sometimes life sucks and that there is an ebb and flow to circumstances. Without the downs, the highs wouldn’t seem as special and everything in between wouldn’t feel “normal.” Acknowledging that this is just “a temporary spot” helps everything feel less overwhelming…. and often, in the moment of acceptance, things can turn around. I can start to see more clearly and use the strategies mentioned above.
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(Outfit Details|| Tank | Leggings | Sweatshirt | Shoes | Sunglasses)

Comments

  1. Beautiful post and needed to read this all today- came at the perfect time!

  2. Carly says:

    Such a great, inspiring post! Thank you Shannon. 🙂

  3. Holly says:

    This is the best post any blogger has ever shared. Thank you so much! I’m going to come back and re-read this whenever I need a good reminder of ways to deal with the lows in life. xoxo

    • Shannon Pulsifer says:

      Thank you! I am so glad that you liked it Holly! I know the tools have always been useful, for me personally, when I’m in a rough patch. I hope they will be helpful for you too!! xx

  4. Annette Roberts says:

    Well said, Shannon, we all need reminders like this sometimes, and you have offered some wise thoughts today !!!

  5. Stevie says:

    Beautifully written and great reminders for all of us! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Susan says:

    Thanks for sharing this – it was needed today. Well written and very relatable! I will be sure to leverage these tricks when needed 🙂

    • Shannon Pulsifer says:

      I am so glad that it was helpful, especially today. I know these tools have been useful for me over the years, so I hope they can help you too!!

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