Why does this always happens to me? Seriously, again?
If you find yourself murmuring these phrases, you are not alone. Life can be challenging–especially when you are making changes–and sometimes it’s just a plain ol’ pain in the tush. Often when we have an expectation of how its supposed to go, well, it seems life has a completely different idea in mind.
There are a 5 things you can do right now that will ease that frustration when your inner world starts to explode. Read on, dear one.
1. Practice patience–on yourself!
I consider myself a generally patient person, but when it comes to myself and my life, well then it’s a completely different story.
It’s not the, “Be patient! Stop fidgeting,” kind of patience that your mom pleaded for as you stood in the grocery line as a wiggly young thing. It’s more about giving yourself the grace and time to practice and let things unfold. It’s easy to be patient in theory, but using patience intentionally, becoming intimate with how it works, that is when magic happens.
Having patience with yourself is all about self worth, self care, and self value. Do you value yourself truly and trust that there is a bigger plan unfolding before you?
We women are especially nurturing and generous with how we treat our loved ones–our family and friends–and even strangers. But, take a bit of that medicine ourselves and well, it’s a flavor we are often not familiar with.
Here is an example. You said you would do something by a particular day, so you set up a deadline for yourself. Perhaps it was starting a new routine, or making a change like bringing a healthy lunch from home instead of eating out, or hitting the gym right after work. Then, well, life happens. You’ve got deadlines up to your ears at work. A sick child/friend/animal needs you and your perfectly planned day ends up with you crabby, buried in emails, and racing to put out fires. You arrive home late, starving and exhausted. No gym, no new routine. Ugh. To “recover” from your day, you sit in front of the television for the latest episode of 2 Broke Girls while munching on carb-heavy snacks rather than driving yourself to the gym to start that new workout routine you had every intention of jumping into. You’re still tired when you go to bed, and when you wake up, you are disappointed, upset and even more irritated with yourself because you failed, again. Sound familiar?
I have lived this scenario many days around all kinds of different goals. So here is where I started to actually practice patience with myself. Patience allows us to throw out being perfect and be okay with not even doing what we said we would do. Practicing patience is about throwing out the “should haves” and “oughts” and being present to the here and now. In every moment you can restore your integrity by just being patient.
Give yourself enough grace and space to be right here, right now exactly as you are is what practicing patience looks like.
It’s easy to see how this example could lead us into a cyclical routine of self abusive dialogue, distracting ourselves from what we want the most. Living in integrity is not always easy but feeds you deep in your core.
Once I made the connection between what was causing me to be so hard on myself (lack of patience) I started to give myself validations and outs. This might sound like the worst thing possible to do coming from a wellness coach whose job is to transform and keep you accountable, but I disagree.
2. Trust yourself = transformation
I trust you. I trust me.
Sometimes it takes a bit of time to allow for the self care that may have been missing from our own life before we can take on yet another project or goal. Allowing for patience to live and breath up the space can create so much room and freedom it’s wild. Once I took the handcuffs off how it should look for me to create real change and practiced patience with myself, well, everything just changed without me feeling like I was pushing a boulder up the hill. Real change isn’t about what happens on the outside, but how you feel on the inside.
I trust that there is a plan out there for each one of our lives and that we really can’t mess it up if we are living with our heart front and center. Making mistakes and failing is part of change and growth. No one really talks about this, especially in the public realm of our society and culture. Most often we see the overnight success or the brilliant idea or photoshopped image icon on the cover of a magazine. But it’s not real.
Remember how it all began? How we learned to walk, talk, or gain any skill? Every ability takes work, dedication, and lots of dusting yourself off along with the resilience to keep standing up and starting over. Once there is trust, you can:
- know that you will do what truly needs to be done
- rest assured that it will be done in good time
- be free from worry
3. Take a time out
It easy to get busy–especially around the holidays–and forget about self care. When frustration is leading you around like a pet on a leash, take a time out. Even five minutes of playing “hooky” can help. Treat yourself to a cup of tea or walk around your floor at work. Watch a funny video or check in with friends on Facebook. These little feel good breaks can dramatically shift that inner angst that churns up your insides some days.
For those who can’t find an escape hatch, like moms, you can always go to the restroom and have a seat there. Seriously, it’s time for a break. If that’s the only place you can get it, then take it there. Just breathe fresh oxygen into your lungs and feel it moving to your brain. Shake it off, like Tayler Swift says, “Everybody feels this way and it’s okay.”
Rebecca Gladding, author of You Are Not Your Brain: The 4-Step Solution for Changing Bad Habits, Ending Unhealthy Thinking, and Taking Control of Your Life, spoke with Psychology Today on how our brains respond to meditation and explains what we get out of meditating every day.
“Brilliance happens with the practice of rest on a daily basis.” — Gladding
When our amygdala, the oldest part of our brain, is triggered, it jumps into panic mode. This is the source of our emotions and that good old “fight-or-flight” response that gets such a nasty rap. In the process of meditation, which you can also think of as rest or just unplugging, this center (amygdala) is soothed and calmed just like magic. What’s even more brilliant is that you can get the benefits from only 5–15 minutes a day of being unplugged.
4. Touch base
Do a check-in. Have you been sleeping right? Drinking enough water, moving enough, got your sweat on today? Laughed lately? When there is inner ick present, do a daily check-in and check all of the boxes on your basics of self care. It’s what I do when I can’t seem to pinpoint what is bothering me, but I know I’m not feeling at my top form.
Here is the list I use. Rate each one on a scale of 1–10, with 10 being ideal, 1 being, well, not ideal. See where you are at.
Energy (are you pouring coffee down the minute you wake you are so low energy?)
- Sleep (quality and quantity)
- Mood (we all have ongoing mood and emotions, but where are you generally?)
- Stress (some stress is good like promotions, weddings, etc.. but it still can tax us)
- Exercise (getting some movement in daily, taking the stairs or just stretching?)
- Food & Water (fresh, vibrant, nutrient dense choices?)
- Friends & Family
- Fun…(if I’m not having fun, well, then something has got to give, right?)
Most of the time by going through this checklist I can determine if the source of the bad feeling is from lack of self care. Often times, just what I eat or lack of movement can be the reason for feeling a bit out of balance. Our bodies are amazing machines, but they need kind nurturing and care every day to stay in top form.
If you find that you check all the boxes and its been more than a day or two of feeling bad, reach out. There may be more to the story. There is no shame in seeing your health care provider or letting family or friends in on what is happening. You never know, you could be lacking in a important mineral or have some kind of nutritional deficiency. Don’t be a hero, just share.
5. Talk it out
Never underestimate the power of listening and being heard. Friendships are healing. A scientifically proven landmark UCLA study showed women who have a circle of friends showed less fight or flight responses in comparison to peers who lacked a steady friendship with other women. Scientists call it the “tend and befriend” response. Cute Huh?
What they found is that when women gather with others, they release oxytocin, which creates a naturally healing and calming effect. Oxytocin has been nicknamed the love hormone, as it is what the body kicks out for both mother and child for bonding and breastfeeding and for couples in “love”. So you need a little boost? Chatting away at the coffeeshop with a girlfriend or meeting up with the boys for happy hour has scientific backing to heal us chemically.
I feel blessed that a big part of my work, helping people transform their lives, is spent talking. I get to listen, feel, and really hear what another person is saying. When you have someone to do this for you, it can transform your world, inside and out. I have a coach of my own whom I reach out to, along with several amazing friends who can, and do hold the space for me when I need it. Reaching out takes courage. But it is worth it to be vulnerable, allowing for it to be about you every once in a while.