I woke up today feeling nervous, insecure and anxious. I pulled this old defense mechanism where I stay in bed far longer than I should, seeking comfort in my blankets and pillows. This is my go-to habit when I feel very overwhelmed by what I have to accomplish for the day ahead. Of course, this is massive self-sabotage… the longer I stay in bed, the less time I have to get it all done.
So, I got up pretty late. There are two ways I could’ve handled this. I could’ve decided that the day was already a waste, and just kept numbing and distracting myself from what I wanted to focus on. I could’ve indulged myself by only doing “fun” or “relaxing” things – but I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy them, because of the guilt and disappointment hanging over my head.
The other option was to look inward and see what feelings needed to express themselves. Obviously something was coming up for me. I sat with myself and talked to my inner child. I told her that she is safe and she is loved, no matter what she does or does not achieve. I realized that she was feeling overwhelmed by the perceived pressure of the day ahead, but also that the pressure was entirely self-imposed. I let myself feel all the emotions that wanted to run through me, and I cried, and I surrendered to the fear and anxiety.
And then I went on with my day.
Seriously, though, once I allowed my submerged emotions to come up and then release, I was able to renew my approach towards everything else. I reminded myself that it’s okay if I can’t get my entire to-do list accomplished. That’s not why I’m here on this planet. I decided that I would calmly focus and do my best. I balanced the work with exercise and time spent in nature, knowing that incorporating both would lead to better productivity.
It’s now late evening, and no, I haven’t finished my entire list. But guess what? I did finish most of it, and that’s because I chose option two. I ended up having quite a lovely day in spite of the way it began – because I allowed myself to feel what I needed to feel. Then I was able to let it go, and recommit myself to what I wanted for my day.
I can tell you that, without a doubt, my proudest accomplishment of the day is not how many tasks I finished. It is instead the fact that I mindfully shifted an old, ingrained pattern into something more healthy. That feels like a huge win.
When you begin to address the underlying issues that relate to your chronically unhealthy habits, that’s when you effect change. It wasn’t about forcing myself out of bed when I wasn’t feeling good. It was about acknowledging what was going on inside me, and being gentle with that part of myself. If I can teach myself that I have my own back, that I’m not going to keep letting myself down, I can shift.
Start to notice how you begin your day. Do you drag yourself out of bed with resentment and anger? Are you already dreading getting up when you’re falling asleep at night? What needs to be released or changed so that you can start to live a happier existence? I promise you that you weren’t born to spend every day in boredom, dissatisfaction or misery. You can have better. But you have to dig in and start doing the work to fix what’s really underneath.
You’ve got this. I believe that you can take ownership of your day, and thus your life. You always have a choice to make. Don’t let your demons drag you around. You are the creator of your world. Sending you love!