ull disclosure: I don’t feel like my life is falling is apart right now. Quite the opposite actually. This year has been very ace so far. But I certainly have felt like this in the past and it’s pretty horrific.
Last year wasn’t a great year for me (or most of the world) but I had a shocker of year a while ago too.
I lost a few regular writing gigs which was a huge blow to me both financially and emotionally. I had to go back to work teaching at a really awful school. Mr Smaggle’s business was in a bit of a lull so I was supporting both of us, on part-time teacher pay, coming home every day and crying because the environment of this school was so toxic and horrible. I’ve loved every school I’ve taught at except this one, so it was an enormous shock to the system. A friend of mine and I were having a pretty hefty misunderstanding at this time too and my best mate had just gone and moved away on me, so I was feeling very useless, very alone and very broke.
Here are a few things I did to get through that time and it really, really helped.
1. Focus on what you do have
I mean yeah, I was broke and quite unhappy but I still had my health, a roof over my head, my wonderful and supportive partner and my very excellent parents who always have a bed and copious amounts of wine available whenever I need it. It’s more than a lot of other people have and these things are extraordinarily helpful when life is giving me a kick in the balls. Focus on the things you do have – a decent job, a lovely bestie, a warm house, a decent savings account to keep you going for a while, an amazing pet that thinks you are better than the moon. It seems kind of simple and a little saccharine but it honestly does help.
2. Do the least amount of stuff possible
Coping is really hard work so don’t add anything unnecessary. If your job is killing you, don’t try to do anything else for a while. Come home, have a bath and lie on the couch. Every night for a week if you need to. Don’t try to make other big life changes when you’re experiencing something so awful. Everyone has times in their life when they need to tread water and when your life is falling apart, that’s the time to do it.
3. Give yourself a deadline
A mate of mine had a really big, painful break up and she gave her two weeks to indulge in it. She drank wine every night, wrote herself off on the weekends and cried a lot. It didn’t mean that she didn’t feel sad after the two weeks but she put an end to her self destructive behaviour and gave herself some time to just partying out her misery, which sometimes you just need to do.
4. Survey the damage
How bad is it really? Is it worse than the last time everything fell to shit? Maybe not? Write down all the things that are making you feel totally shit right now and figure out if they’re worth your time. Losing your job is obviously a really big problem so definitely treat that one seriously but being dumped by that, quite frankly average, person you’ve been shagging on and off for a few months isn’t worth your brain space right now.
5. Find solutions
You can’t think, drink or sleep your way out of a problem. Super disappointing, I know but you can only action your way of a problem. Apply for another job, see a counsellor to help with your grief, get out of your house and socialise with people or at least go for walks. Even just spending some time writing down your solutions. A plan is a solution waiting to happen so get writing.
6. Give yourself time
You won’t feel better straight away so make sure you keep that in mind. If you’ve been coming up with solutions and actioning them every day and nothing is happening, just keep going. If you stop applying for jobs, you won’t get one. If you stop working on whatever issues are plaguing you, you’ll never get past them. I like things to be really quick all the time so I struggle a lot with this but just trust the journey. Give it time.
7. Things are usually the worst, right before they get better
Last October, I was ready to pack in my life and go and live on island. Off the grid, where I’d make my bread from ground up island grain and learn how to weave huts from palm fronds. Almost the very second I hit rock bottom, I started digging my way up and by Christmas, all of my problems had been solved. All of them. In my experience, if you’re feeling totally shit, things are usually about to get better.
8. Have a really big cry
I hate crying. A lot. I generally always feel better after a cry, but I hate doing it and I don’t do it often, however I really should do it because it’s such an amazing release of emotions. If crying helps you, go for it. Have a big old sob into your pillow, pour yourself a glass of wine and have a bath like a god damn queen.
9. Distract yourself
I’m the type of person who likes to bury their emotions… or drink them. Either way is effective but if you just can’t deal with all your stuff right now, make yourself so busy you can’t even think. I’ve had countless people tell me this is a terrible way to deal with things but it’s what works for me. I like to deal with things months after they happen. Which is why I’m writing about this now – when I’m in crisis mode, I can’t deal with that crisis at the time or I’ll lose the plot. So I bury it for 6 months and deal with it when I’m ready. It’s a solid system that totally works for me.
What do you when you feel like everything is turning to shite? Do you have emergency plans in place?
P.S Also you should totally sign up for my newsletter. It’s full of cool stuff.
P.P.S I’ve also got a beginner bootcamp coming up for anyone who wants to learn to crochet. If you fancy yourself as one of those totally calm and serene yarn crafters you should float on over and join my crochet mail list.