What to Do When You Don't Feel Like You
When I was reading WomanCode by Alisa Vitti, she reminded me that we aren’t meant to feel the exact same every single day. Some days we’re irritable, elated, sensitive or cooperative. No day is the same.
This didn’t sit well with me. I love the excitement of waking up to a new day each morning, but I don’t love the adventure of waking up feeling differently every day. If I had it my way, I would feel like Rae 200% of the time. This isn’t the way our hormones, bodies and lives work, though, and I want to talk about why and how we should embrace this.
When we don’t feel the same each day, we are better able to appreciate the dynamic peaks of life: the highs, the best seasons and the happiest moments. I firmly believe that without deep sadness, we wouldn’t appreciate happiness, without anxiety and restlessness, we wouldn’t know peace and contentment, and without the feelings of loneliness and emptiness, we wouldn’t know what it felt like to be at home and to fall in love. The ebbs and flows of life are what complete us. It’s finding a way to embrace these ups and downs that influences our overall well-being and attitude.
I recently just went through a two-week period where I hovered around a state of irritability, confusion, nostalgia and emptiness. Part of this was hormonal, but nonetheless, my moody situation left me doubting the quick return of my normal, happy self. Here are some practices that pulled me through, though, and I think they are important for anyone who is struggling with a rough period or an ‘off’ week, and they are things that have carried me through a few of these short-term dips in the past year.
When your body needs it, listen. Adults are supposed to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, but you might be someone that needs 9! Listen to your body. If you’re waking up for a 6am workout and disregarding the fact that you can barely keep your eyes open, are achy, don’t feel motivated and aren’t thinking clearly, your body will suffer much more from the exhaustion of a heart pounding workout than it will from not working out for 5 or 6 days. If you need a week of rest, which I recently did, then take it. However, if you still feel like doing a little something, a walk around the block or neighborhood will benefit your mind and body!
It’s possible that you’re feeling irritable or unlike yourself because your body isn’t agreeing with your diet. Try going back to the basics—eat a lot of vegetables and dark, leafy greens. Also include some wild-caught fish and pasture-raised meat. Eliminate common disruptors like dairy, alcohol, caffeine and gluten. Do you feel different after a few days of eating this way? It’s likely that you’ll see a change in energy and mood.
Wow. I can’t stress this enough. There are guided meditations on the Calm App specifically catered to people who are looking for a ‘happy outlet’ or ‘feel good space’. Just try it. Even 10 minutes a day can change your attitude. I recently listened to a meditation called “The Guest House,” and the following poem that the meditation guide shared stuck with me for the rest of the week.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
You don’t have to go to a yoga class in order to experience the peace that comes from 5-10 quiet minutes.
Switch up your routine.
Hangout with friends. Away from home—maybe the park!
Go out to eat at a restaurant you haven’t visited in a while.
Walk or drive a different route.
Listen to a different playlist on Spotify.
Start a new book. I’m currently reading The Wellness Project by Phoebe Lapine.
Tweaking your daily routine in little ways can help pull you out of a slump.
Drink more tea.
Are you that person who has 8 boxes of tea in their kitchen cupboard but never drinks them? You need to put an end to this right. now. Or, hand them over! Tea has too many amazing anti-aging, detoxing, relaxing, energizing, mood-enhancing, calming, comforting and healing components to be ignored. Unlike coffee, there is a tea that can match any moment of any day. Feeling happy? Drink a tea that’s known for enhancing positive energy, like Yogi’s Sweet Tangerine Positive Energy. Feeling nervous? Restless? Drink a calming herb combination to slow down. If you’re looking for a new tea to try, some of my favorite brands include Pukka, Yogi and Traditional Medicinals. However, I find my most favorite tea at local tea markets or tea shops! Is there one in your area?
Pick up your journal.
Whether you do the Five Minute Journal every day or not, picking up an empty notebook and writing down your feelings, thoughts or prayers can ease the burden of your own emotions and worries. Writing things down allows you to express yourself without anyone's conscious or subconscious judgement present. It's healing in a way, and it's worth a try if it isn't something that you usually practice.
Allow yourself to feel.
Feel all of the feelings. Allow yourself to be sad or irritated. Remember: the deeper your sadness, the greater your capacity for happiness. Experiencing lows helps us appreciate highs!
What do you turn to when you aren't feeling like yourself? What pulls you through hard days?