Have you ever felt stuck?
My friend Jen and I have a term called The Charlie Brown Cloud. You know how the cartoon Charlie Brown always seems to be doom and gloom, like a rain cloud is following him around? When Jen and I used to be coworkers and one of us would be in a bad mood, we'd ask each other,
"Is it a Charlie Brown Day?"
This summer, I found myself with plenty of Charlie Brown days. I had low energy, a packed schedule of weddings and showers, and my attitude was anything but cheery. Eventually I knew I had to start making some changes if I wanted to get to a better place.
Below are some of the things that changed my view. Enjoy!
Pick Up A Racket
...or a book, or a rolling pin. Basically, try something new. In September, I started taking tennis lessons on Tuesday nights. While I'm the worst person on the team, it helps me use a completely different part of my brain. As someone who works with words all day, it's good to switch gears sometimes. After a two hour session, I always feel lighter, happier, and clearer.
Take A Break
While you can't always take a break from life, sometimes you need to identify something that isn't serving you anymore. This winter, I took a break from dating, and in the spring, I took a hiatus from blogging. I learned that taking time off doesn't mean you've given up. Usually, the clarity from taking a break brings a new perspective, and a new start.
Volunteering is one of the best ways to see outside of your own situation. I joined two different volunteering positions this spring. One of them is the GEM girls e-mentorship innovation, a program focused on pairing professional women with at risk girls from high priority neighbourhoods in Toronto. The process has made me want to be a better, more positive person because as cheesy as it sounds, I want to be a good role model.
This month, I've tried a new routine of meditation. This translates to five minutes of quiet time before breakfast. I sit on a carpet, take some deep breaths and see what comes up for the start of my day. Sometimes I last two minutes, but believe me, those two minutes, make all the difference.
Self Love is Not About Selfies
There is a difference between posting 300 selfies, and genuinely liking yourself. As someone who is very hard on herself, I indulge in plenty of negative self-talk. It's like sitting with a manipulative frenemy, and drinking a bottle of wine. It feels innocent enough, until you spiral down into believing every terrible word. Some good advice I received was: What would I tell my best friend if she were me? Generally, we all treat our friends with compassion when they come to us with a problem, so why not apply the same rule to ourselves? I'm still learning, but it's a good way to stop the personal punching bag.
In the end it doesn't matter what brings you down, and sometimes there isn't even a real reason. While the above list personally worked for me, if you find yourself more sad than manageable, speak to a professional, or your family doctor for additional help.
There is always a way up.