We’re all navigating change. Change at home, change with our families, change at work or in our business, change in the community, change in the world and change in ourselves.
Change is uncomfortable.
Navigating change leads to some challenging days.
Yet we tend to carry the unrealistic expectation that every day should be a good day and there’s something wrong when we have a bad day.
Reality Alert: We’re going to have challenging days. Period. Life is going to deliver ups and downs, so stop making the “downs” wrong or bad.
Judging your bad day only makes you feel unnecessarily worse and no one needs the additional self-inflicted abuse when life already feels hard.
When life delivers you a 💩 show, and there are a lot of them going around, here are some productive tips to help you navigate:
First, stop and take a breath. In fact, take 5 slow, deep breaths. Breath takes us out of fight or flight and calms our triggered system so we’re in a better place to handle the situation.
Practice self awareness, pay attention and tune into what your body is trying to tell you.
Next, separate your emotions from the facts of the circumstance. Notice what is FACTUALLY happening versus how are you REACTING to it. Don’t judge the circumstances – view them with neutrality and, if possible, curiosity.
Practice releasing the reaction so you can focus on the facts. The reaction is the strong emotional pull that wants to drag you into a story to intensify and prolong the challenge. When you release this trigger and look past it, you can get to the core of the issue and find real solutions.
Get up and move your body. Movement gets us out of our current state which creates an opening to shift our thoughts and emotions.
Allow the discomfort you are experiencing without making it wrong. We don’t like to feel uncomfortable so we tend to fight it, which only strengthens its hold. It’s ok to be uncomfortable.
Discomfort provides direction – what is your discomfort trying to tell you?
Find a sounding board to help you process. Turn to a trusted colleague, friend, advisor, mentor or coach. Make sure you select someone who will be empathetic, supportive, wise and honest rather than a co-commiserator who only keeps you stuck in the sludge.
Finally, create an Empowerment Kit for those moments when you need support returning to a balanced state. My coaching clients love this exercise and have consistently attested to the benefit of having one on hand for those moments it’s most needed.
I recommend you create an Empowerment Kit BEFORE the bad day strikes and ideally design it when you are feeling in your power, centered and connected to your amazing life. Fill the kit with those items and activities that nourish, empower, delight, support and comfort you.
Empowerment Kit suggestions include:
- aromatherapy/essential oils, candles,
- inspiring playlists and upbeat music,
- your favorite movement (dance, exercise classes/routines, walk in nature, yoga, walk your dog),
- affirmation cards,
- inspiring or motivational YouTube Videos, books, audios,
- meditate, guided meditation,
- inspiring quotes,
- list of trusted people to call,
- journal (keep a list of helpful journal prompts),
- visualize your desired outcome,
- menu from your favorite restaurant,
- play in art,
- wear empowering clothes or jewelry, and
- anything else that moves you in a positive, empowered direction.
Every bad day carries with it the opportunity for growth. We get to define who we are by how we process it and who we become on the other side of it. It’s messy, uncomfortable and downright ugly at times. And it’s an unavoidable part of life.
We’re all in this together. We’re all navigating change. We’re all doing the best we can. Have a little grace for yourself AND for those around you.
As I contemplated this today, I looked at the soil in my backyard from my recent project of planting all new grass from seed. As I impatiently waited for the new grass to sprout, I searched the ground for any sign of fresh new green growth. Low and behold, a single tender new blade of grass was growing through a piece of horse manure I used to fertilize the grass.
I chuckled as I witnessed new life grow from a little pile of poop.
May your bad days serve as fertilizer for abundant fresh, new growth!
p.s. I’d love to know what you put in your empowerment kit! Share in a comment below.
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