The Cures.

Oh how much easier that would be. A little yellow pill, swallow it down along with your pain. Or the classics,

” Smile more”

” Look at the bright side and be grateful”

“Go out in nature more”

“Go to the gym and drink more water”

– Unsolicited advice on how to “Cure” yourself

(Keep reading/scrolling for MY unsolicited advice)

I know they mean well, the advice givers on hard days, but those can be extremely dangerous and actually make it worse. On a hard day when someone tells me to focus on what I have or not focus so much on problems, or any various of this advice, I’ll find myself in more pain.

I know already. I am beating myself up for feeling ungrateful, for not being good enough, for feeling like shit out of nowhere, for having a bad day when there isn’t anything happening, for freaking out inside when I am just laying in bed at night next to my favorite person, or feeling regret and longing and sadness when I am surrounded by my family. Those things make me hate myself, and then the next day or week, I am wondering why I felt so bad. I am kissing my kids foreheads and willing the universe to keep them this small forever. Mom guilt at it’s finest. One minute you want your freedom, next minute you’re squeezing your babies trying to reabsorb them into you through osmosis because you want them to never leave your side. I miss them when they are sleeping and beg them to play outside during the day because they are driving me nuts. How is this real life?

Life is so complicated. Bouncing between work, home life, social life, maybe student life, and trying to find yourself, no wonder everyone needs so much help. We are under a lot of pressure to be this or that when in reality, we are creating these stressors for ourselves. No one is looking at you under a microscope and analyzing your every more. And! if you have someone doing this, then THEY need to do some reevaluating of their priorities, not you!

Here are some of the things that I do as preventative actions. To keep the bad days from being so frequent. These are not cures, and they do not work 100%, and they will not work for everyone. Just figured I would share what I have found so far.

  • Removing stressors as much as possible: This means toxic people, or activities, or over-scheduling, and over-analyzing.
  • Practicing gratitude: PRACTICING. This is a practice. A learned skill, a “gets better every time I do it” thing. This is not an overnight acquired skill. Every time you do it, it will come easier. Like a sport, or your job, it gets easier over time. It will become second-nature, if you practice.
  • Making yourself a priority: This includes asking for help. Here are some ways I gracefully force myself to ask for help.
    • Therapy, counseling, whatever you can do to talk to a professional. Everyone needs to talk to someone and I wish that EVERYONE would make this part of their life.
    • Asking for a break. This can be asking a co-worker for help with your workload when it is too heavy. Or asking your partner for a break from doing the dishes this time. Asking your mom to watch the kids for the afternoon so you can sit in your house in peace. Whatever this means to you, do it.
    • If you like to go out with friends and sing karaoke, get a pedicure, read a book, make dinner with your partner, or go camping — do it. Make it a priority. We are over worked and underpaid and experiencing compassion fatigue and burnout at alarming rates. Do what makes you feel relaxed and content.

Heres the big one…

Happiness is not a constant state.

It is not meant to be lived in forever.

Happiness is a moment in time where things are unusually awesome, for a little while.

Like going to a concert, or BBQ’ing with my family, or going out for sushi with my partner, or watching my kids laugh and be happy at the park.

Happiness is a moment. So stop setting that as your expectation for how you should feel constantly. You shouldn’t, wont ever, and just no.

It’s like when you go on vacation. Studies show that you are most excited and “happy” during the planning phase of the vacation. When you are in it you experience happy moments but you also experience the dread of the vacation ending. When it’s over, you are actually more sad than you were during the burnout phase that made it necessary to go on the vacation in the first place because it was SO MUCH FUN, and now it is back to reality.

Happiness is awesome, and it is vulnerable and momentary and great. That’s why we are constantly seeking things that will make us happy, who wouldn’t? But remember that if the seeking happinesses and expecting happiness to be long lasting is causing you to be terribly unhappy, there is a reason and you need to remind yourself of what happiness actually is.

With all my love,

Sarah

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