Most of the time I do a pretty good job of keeping my head above water. I stay (kind of) healthy, I work out regularly, I enjoy going to work, I make time to exercise my passions and hobbies, and I feel like I manage to “move forward” in life somehow. But every now and again, we all have those weeks where nothing seems to go our way, where your vision seems clouded by a big gloomy cloud, and where the mere idea of doing anything but hiding in bed seems like torture.
Last week, that’s the kind of week I had. I had my boss and clients at work driving me mad. My apartment was a mess. I felt fat. I didn’t get the chance to do anything fun all week. I felt like I wasn’t progressing with my career enough. I really missed my friends and my mom. I was second guessing every major life decision I had made. It seemed like every negative thought I could have was entering my head and piling up into a gigantic, disgusting, mountain of toxic waste that could topple any second and engulf me whole. What a metaphor, right?
It’s really easy to let weeks like this just get to ya. One bad thing makes the next seem even worse, and before you know it you’re in a grade-A funk (which is why I’ve taken to referring to a bad week as “visiting Funky Town“.) So I’ve compiled a list of tactics to lessen the chances of that happening. Because let’s face it: it’s not so easy to look for a rainbow in the middle of a shit-storm.
1. Ride the wave. Sometimes, despite valiant efforts to turn the week around, things just refuse to go your way. And sometimes it’s best to just accept that and let it be. Don’t convince yourself that this will be forever, it won’t. Let yourself have an off week and then bounce back once you’ve recovered.
2. Get some sleep. This is my most mom-approved tip. I never take naps because they make me feel too guilty about not using that time to do something productive. But if there’s a week to let yourself nap, or go to bed at 9 pm, this is it. A good night’s sleep will help anyone’s outlook.
3. Watch something funny. Laughing is medicinal. It lightens your heart. Go to a comedy show. Or watch a comedians act on TV. Or watch a funny movie. But avoid binge watching a funny TV show. It’s easy to just abandon your own life and enter that of a good show on any normal day, and even more tempting on bad ones. This will just prevent you from actually dealing with anything.
4. Phone a friend. Or a few. They’re the wonderful people you’ve chosen to surround yourself with, so chances are they rock! They’ll probably know how to make you feel better (likely by making you laugh, in which case see #3) or they’ll distract you in some other way. My friends made me crack up every day last week, FaceTimed me so I didn’t feel lonely, sent me sweet and encouraging texts, and offered up other conversation topics that got my mind off of my own crap. My boyfriend also surprised me with flowers. #Squadgoals.
5. Make relaxing a priority. Whatever you do to let off steam and reset, do it. Whether it’s going on an extra-long run, reading a book, or booking a massage, just make sure you make it a top priority this week. You need to be kind to yourself. My relaxation tactic is setting up an at-home spa night for myself. With both boys out of the apartment I lit candles and made myself a bubble bath, then I used hair and face masques and painted my nails. All with things I bought from Target!
6. Ignore your chore list. Okay. Let’s not go crazy now. Don’t abandon all responsibilities. But for one day, even though you might have a to-do list that feels miles long, just ignore it. Let yourself have some unscheduled fun. It’s so good for the soul. Last Saturday I ignored that I should do my taxes and buy some groceries and do laundry. Instead I took my roommates out to brunch and stuffed myself full of Bloody Mary’s and chicken&waffles, then ventured to the beach for an hour. It was much more uplifting than filling out a W-40. Just make sure you don’t ignore really important, time sensitive tasks. That will just make your life harder.
7. Do a chore. Yeah, yeah. Bear with me. After you’ve ignored your chores enough and had your fun, cross off some small projects. Doing things like cleaning out your car or putting new non-slip drawer liners in the kitchen drawers are small tasks that feel huge, and will give you a giant sense of accomplishment without exhausting you. You’ll feel energized and motivated moving forward, which is huge!
8. Get inspired. Do something that inspires you and gets your juices movin’. Inspiration is a powerful part of happiness. When I’m feeling uninspired I go on Pinterest and research fun ways to celebrate for upcoming holidays. Last weekend I read an e-book on making the perfect royal icing and felt inspired so I practiced some designs for Valentine’s Day. And after that, I was so motivated that I got out my paint and made a piece for over our bar cart!
9. Do something nice for someone. Spread love and good vibes. It does wonders for the heart to do something nice for someone else.
10. Be kind to yourself. Most important. Don’t be too hard on yourself for having a hard week. Don’t fuel the negative thoughts. Look in the mirror and admire how beautiful you are. Think of all the things you love about yourself and remind yourself often.