7 Ways to Pull Yourself Together When Life Doesn’t Want to Cooperate
We all have those days that are just ugly (see also: challenging, ridiculous, tumultuous, gut-wrenching, and mother-effing overwhelming). Yeah, ugly pretty much sums it up.
I don’t like ugly.
Sometimes the most we can hope to accomplish is just figuring out how to pull ourselves together enough to successfully pseudo-function. So, really, what are we supposed to do?
First, give yourself permission to prioritize your emotions. You have the power to decide which emotions you are capable of currently facing. It’s not about stuffing down your emotions as to avoid them; if the emotion wants to linger, then it will still be there when you finally get to it. If you decide that you are not ready to face an emotion and it dissolves into nothing without you having to address it, then good riddance.
You are in charge of what you think about, what you face, what you deal with;
your emotions do not have the right to overrule this authority.
Then, make a list. You need to have an action plan in place for this type of emotional assault. A reference page if you will. These are the actual tasks in their actual order from a list I made when my daughter’s father and I separated. Because of my absolute Type A personality, I created Pinterest boards for each one and kept them up. I’m not even going to attempt to rationalize it.
1. Take care of yourself.
You might want to start with brushing your hair. I’m not kidding. It’s hard to get it together with crazy Flock of Seagulls bangs (bonus points to you if you get that reference!). Soak in a bubble bath (use those Lush bath bombs you know you’ve been hoarding). Play some music — my favorite playlists on Spotify are the Big Little Lies soundtrack and the “Suits” soundtrack; these are in constant rotation. Sit in silence if that’s your thing. Your goal is to clear your brain of the all.the.stuff. Pinterest boards: I [heart] this health tip, I [heart] these words
2. Clean something.
Seriously. Mind-numbing tasks like cleaning the base-boards or scrubbing the kitchen sink are my go-tos when I’m stressed. Vacuuming is a close second — plus the sound of the vacuum cleaner drowns out the noise in my brain. Sometimes a clean house is the only thing I actually have together. You can probably measure how stressful my week has been if I start to mention how much I’m enjoying my super-clean wood blinds (a chore I avoid at all costs!). Pinterest board: I [heart] this cleaning tip
3. Cook something.
I’m an advocate for eating your feelings. I know that health is important, but so is sanity. And if a lemon cupcake covered in buttercream frosting is going to bring out some long dormant feelings of happiness, then I say to eat the damn cupcake. Or, be good to yourself and eat a salad. It really doesn’t matter that much. All you’re trying to do is keep the crazy at bay. If a bowlful of Jelly Bellys works, then go for it (but under no circumstances should you ever eat the black licorice ones — licorice jelly beans are hysteria-inducing orbs of displeasure; these are definitely best avoided!). Pinterest boards: I [heart] sandwiches, I [heart] salads, I [heart] snacks + treats
4. Organize something.
Your makeup, medicine cabinet, nail polishes, spices, cutting boards, that catch-all place under the kitchen sink — one or all of them — probably need your attention. And (to paraphrase Elle Woods) organized people are happy people…happy people have their shit together. Pinterest boards: I [heart] a new closet, I [heart] garage organization
5. Get out of the house.
Put on a ball cap (to cover your aforementioned crazy bangs) and take a walk around the block. Go for a drive, and grab a Starbucks (put on a bra first; the drive-thru girls are kinda judgey…just saying). Forgo the bra, head to the backyard, and pull some weeds (or be like me and spend your time cleaning up after your damn dog that likes to dig holes near the A/C unit – fun times!). Go to the gym, and walk the treadmill. Where you go is not nearly as important as the fact that you need a change of scenery. Get one. Pinterest boards: I [heart] a road trip, I [might] workout
6. Go shopping.
You definitely don’t need my permission, but hello, you earned it; therefore, you get to spend it. Most of my shopping takes place at Target, Sephora, or T.J. Maxx. If my sanity cannot be obtained at one of these three stores, then I know I’m probably in need of real professional help — from Nordstrom’s. Pinterest boards: I [heart] clothes, I [heart] pretty things, I [have] to buy this
7. If all else fails, make a good, strong drink.
I’m not one to recommend drinking yourself into oblivion (because getting your shit together should not have to include a breathalyzer, an overnight stint in county, and/or a walk of shame), but I am not at all adverse to the calming effects of a perfect Mojito or an icy glass of Moscato. Whatever you do, make it a strong one. Make it count. Pinterest board: I [heart] a good beverage