To say that the beginning of 2017 rocked my world would be an immense understatement. I won’t go on about the specifics in today’s post (I gave an in-depth explanation on my Instagram stories), rather I’m going to offer you ways to make progress possible during difficult times in your life. Today, I’m going to arm you with the realizations, the mantras and the mindset to help you ward off any pity party that results from a lack of forward movement in your life. Are you ready to learn to roll with the punches?
The easiest thing to do, often the first thing we do, when life throws a curveball at you is to bitch and moan about how now your life is so much harder. Newsflash: life is hard, period. Complaining about this new curveball, obstacle, speed bump, whatever doesn’t make your life any easier. If anything, it’s impeding your ability to move on. By dwelling on this unexpected turn of events and speaking and thinking about it negatively is only adding salt to the wound.
(More on the blog: My Struggle With Body Image)
Embrace the Feelings
Personally, this part of the “rolling with the punches” process takes the longest and looks the most different for everyone. Take the curveball that was thrown your way and just sit with it. Think about it. Those feelings that arise from thinking about it? Feel them, express them to yourself and to others and then, let it go. How can this be effective when it seems so simple? Because it is that simple. We complicate the inherent simplicity of this process by trying to convince ourselves that this curveball didn’t happen or that it doesn’t bother us. Denial isn’t anyone’s friend, ever. Inevitably, we all tussle with denial at some point in this process and it is our ability to move past denial that determines how quickly we can embrace our actual feelings.
To give you an example, here’s my story. Periodically, over the last year, my body has not been able to digest dairy products as easily as it once could. This all came to a head about three weeks ago, when I would eat dairy and then no longer be able to function. My stomach would seize up, eating became out of the question and moving more than six inches was unthinkable. I have never had an issues with food during my twenty-two years until now. For some this may seem like small potatoes, but this was the final, gigantic straw that broke my camel’s back. This means no more lasagna, ice cream, pizza, cheese and crackers, or butter. This means that I went from being a very easy eater to an eater who can’t eat a lot of staples. So, I went a few days without any dairy and I felt better. I thought, “I must be all better now” and ate milk chocolate and a slice of leftover pizza. I quickly landed myself back at square one – I was devastated. This is the day that I embraced my feelings. I was angry and felt helpless – why was my body doing this to me? That was about five days ago. Yes, it sucks that I can’t eat a lot of my favorite foods and that’s okay. My body is telling me that cheese and other dairy aren’t good for it right now and that’s okay. This is when I moved on to the next step.
Develop a Plan
Now that you’ve felt the feels or maybe are still embracing your feelings, it’s time to develop a plan. Again, this will look different for everyone, but a few key elements will be the same for everyone. Your plan needs to address the feelings that you previously embraced and it needs to be realistic. Similarly to how in college you may have learned about SMART goals (goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and have a time limit), you want your plan to be specific. While you may not have something to measure, the goal of your plan is to obviously see it through. The easiest way to do that is to outline it as specifically as you can. This is what my plan currently looks like: go one more completely dairy free. After one month, slowly add dairy into your diet, adjusting the amount every week. Record how much dairy you can handle. (Yes, I’m conducting a science experiment on myself. No, I do not feel bad about it one bit)
(More on the blog: How to Set Goals + Why They’re Important)
Do Something Fun
You’ve been through some rough shit and now it’s time to blow it all to the wind and go do something for you. Put your newly crafted plan down and go read a book, go for a walk, do your nails, cook or bake something, do something that truly makes you happy.
Reexamine Your Plan and Add Self Care
Now that you’re fresh out of whatever fun activity you did for yourself, it’s time to take another hard look at your plan. Fine tune what you’ve already mapped out and now add in how you will practice self-care during that time period. Look at these self-care activities as different occasions during which you can celebrate kicking life’s curveball’s ass.
Now it’s time to get to it, my friends!
When life throws an unexpected obstacle in your way, how do you roll with the punches?