Somedays you just wake up with a heavy chest. A dredging, deepening hole that has you feeling 'less than' on all levels. And then there are the days when a perfectly good day becomes a fucking pain in the ass and you find yourself anxious, frustrated and lost in a time capsule that either won't slow down or won't go fast enough. Either way, these down days happen to the best of us, and whilst we can look back on them and say they are our greatest teachers and what make the good days so sweet; when you are living them out in the present they can bring out the worst in you if you aren't careful.
I'm not exempt from these days. In fact I had one this week, and it bloody brought me to tears (more than once!). Shit happens from time to time, and it makes me the human that I am. It gives me another opportunity to detach from the victim mentality that resides in so many of us, and it usually marks the start of a kick ass change. But at the time, all I'm focused on is making it through the day with as much peace as possible. One thing after the next, one step in front of the other, each moment proceeding the next whilst looking after my true self as best I can. Here is my toolbox of tips and tricks that usually keep my ego from wreaking havoc and taking over completely; maybe they might come in handy for you too one day!
- Meditate. Or for those who find it difficult to simply stop, drop and meditate - take a seat and put your fingers on the inside of your wrist. Feel for your pulse. Listen carefully, and follow as your pulse carries on despite your meltdown. Notice it's speed, it's gentleness and it's control. Whatever happens out there, you are taken care of. This beat has got your back. Everything is going to be ok.
- Pull back. If you have 40 minutes until you have to leave the house in the morning, and it takes you 30 minutes to wash your hair, don't do it. Don't put yourself in a situation where you will be frantically rushing and stressing out for the next 40 minutes, on top of everything else going on in that head of yours. Fuck what everyone else will think, whip it up in a bun and use the extra 10 minutes you have gained to calm yourself down. Want to feel calmer and more in control? Then make it a priority.
- Go outside and stare at the clouds. Soak up the colour of the sky, and let it's light shine down on you like a sun shower. Visualise the bright blue skies pouring down and flooding your body, washing away all the bullshit and leaving you feeling refreshed.
- Stretch your body. Release the hold that those bad vibes have on your body by physically breaking free and stretching each muscle. Let the space you have created remind you of your freedom, your strength and your mobility to move out of 'stuck'. Bonus points for heading to hot yoga and sweating all those bad vibes out at the same time!
- Have a cuppa. Chamomile is my pick for it's soothing and stress-relieving qualities. I make it in the biggest mug I own, wrap both hands around it and sip it slow. The act of sitting for a cup of tea is just as soothing as the tea itself, I find!
- Try a little chant. I don't really do any chanting any other time, but when things start to feel a little crazy, chanting Om out loud and feeling the vibration of the sound can be one of the most calming things I can do. It immediately pulls me out of my funk, if only for a minute, and grounds me in the present.
- Breathe. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold it for 7, and exhale for 8 seconds. Repeat this a few times and I guarantee that heart rate of yours will be slowing down. If there is one thing that yoga and meditation have taught me, it's the power of your breathe. It can change everything. And the best part is, that we can always make it work for us instead of against us.
Next time shit hits the fan and you feel yourself about to undo all you great work and mindful practices, I hope this list comes in handy. But for the meantime, how do you manage your own dark days? What is your go-to 'calm the fuck down' solution? Rest? Meditation? Exercise? Raw chocolate? (I think we can all relate to that one!) Hit me with it below, and share this with a mate who might need a pick me up this fine Thursday!