Self Care in Shitty Situations

I’ve been thinking a lot about self care these past five weeks.

Okay, maybe only the past three weeks. The first two weeks I was on major painkillers and wasn’t thinking much about anything.

One thing was really driven home for me during my first week back at trying to be a “normal person” heading back into work. That was the realization that it’s okay to acknowledge the suckiness of a situation.

When something shitty happens that knocks you off your track and puts certain goals in question, everyone around you wants to cheer you up. You hear platitudes like “everything happens for a reason,” and “you’ll come back stronger!” or “you’ll be back in no time.” People tell you to keep your chin up, look on the bright side, and you get the sense that if you acting like sunshine and positivity, you’re doing it wrong.

I tried that the first week. And it was awful. I would write positive posts on Facebook and Instagram, I would tell people how I’m glad it wasn’t worse and walking around with a smile. Then I had a five minute crying spree after having trouble clipping my toe nails on the broken leg. It was a final straw of sorts.

So I changed it. I started telling my friends and family about how bummed out I was. I stopped sugar coating my worries about The Arnold. When someone would try to tell me a platitude, I gently stopped them. Mind you, I didn’t become all doom and gloom, but I started letting myself recognize that this sucks. And I can be a positive influence on myself and others while still acknowledging that. Not only can I do that, I think it’s important for psychological health to do so.

I think we all put too much pressure on ourselves to present this amazing and positive version of ourselves, even when shit hits the fan. Don’t air your dirty laundry taken to the extreme. Being happy is safe. Being mad is safe. But being sad or bummed out is vulnerable, and that’s scary. But it lets people who care help you cope, and that can only strengthen your connections to them. Vulnerability begets strength in the long run. Stronger connections and stronger understanding of yourself and others

That might have gone on a bit of a tangent.

Next time something crappy happens, and there is always another crappy thing around the corner (such is life, yeah?), I’mg going to give myself more permissions in sitting with the suck and sharing my fears about it. It’s been more helpful in getting me back on track than being overly positive.