How to be positive when you feel like sh*t

Hi, lovely Elphas, today’s post will be a little more personal, but I wanted to share this because I want you to know that just because someone has an entire coaching toolbox at their disposal doesn’t mean they are given a pass when it comes to overwhelm, anxiety, self-doubt, and all the other unpleasant stuff. Everybody has to deal with that stuff from time to time.

Right now, it’s my turn and that’s why I am spending all my time at home, eating pizza and chocolate, and after writing this post I’ll retire to the couch to binge-watch a few episodes of a French show with a very depressed detective. Compared to that guy I’m basically Miss Sunshine, even at my lowest low. Anyway, so much for self-coaching myself out of this funk—it’s so not happening today.

But as I am committed to finding the positive in everything, I will spare you the whiny details. Instead, let’s look at two other things: Where’s the positive in feeling like sh*t? And what can be done to feel better again soon? (Spoiler alert: It’s not retail therapy.)

Actually, times like these have one huge positive aspect to them—if you see all the sad and frustrated and whatnot as a reminder to check in with yourself to find out what you need more of or less of: maybe more self-compassion and alone-time, less ambition and hustling, or exactly the opposite, more drive and socializing and less hiding from the world.

Whatever it is that gives us the blues, a little navel-gazing and reassessing of priorities is usually in order. It’s a good time for self-care and getting to know oneself a little better. And that’s always a positive thing.

But let me be a little more specific about what to do when your body and/or mind give you clear slow-down signs. This is my plan, and maybe some of it resonates with you:

  • Stick to my morning ritual of meditating and journaling because it gives me a good start to the day. Later, things may catch up with me and put me back into the what-if spiral, but I can’t prepare for that any better than with my morning me-time.
  • Spend a lot of time outdoors, irrespective of the weather. I have a beautiful new raincoat, so there’s no excuse not to take my dog on a few longer walks here in Seattle in the next couple of days.
  • Take a good long look at my to-do list and do some re-prioritizing (aka "triage the to-do list"). Yes, there’s a lot of stuff with deadlines. But other stuff is not—it’s me who has decided to do certain things asap instead of a little later, which is still soon enough. Well, that’ll have to change!
  • Write my goals and gratitudes. Looking at these can be a good support tool for prioritizing. Also, do some extra journaling throughout the day to get to the core of what’s the matter right now. If you ask good question and actually listen, the answers may all be right there.
  • Talk to someone who can help clarify what’s going on—in other words, my coach (yes, coaches have coaches too) and/or my husband, maybe a friend. Often enough, it’s a single observation or question from someone else that can trigger the unraveling of an entire mental or emotional knot.
  • Cut myself some slack. My major issue is that I always think I’m not doing enough while actually working quite a lot. I hunt the phantasy of a day without a to-do list like Sisyphus the day when his stupid rock makes it up the mountain top. It ain’t gonna happen—and I may as well get used to it now.

Last but not least, I’m asking for advice. Any recommendations how you handle these times?

I’d appreciate it if you left me some in the comments.

I’m seriously fed up with my sulky self and more than ready to get out of the funk. And if I can help you get over your blues, let me know!

MorganLucas's profile thumbnail
Eat something healthy. You may be hungry or thirsty and not aware of it. It doesn't have to be a full meal, but pay attention to what you're eating at the time.(Also; Does your dog have a raincoat too?)
MichaGoBig's profile thumbnail
So true about the hungry, thirsty or tired! It's crazy how unaware we can sometimes be of our bodily needs and sensations.
MichaGoBig's profile thumbnail
She has a raincoat but she's not a fan. Though she will let me put it on if it's the only obstacle between her and the outdoors. :)
mandyw's profile thumbnail
These are great, @MichaGoBig! And @MorganLucas comment on the hungry/thirsty is often also accurate for me! I use meditation, writing gratitude, walking the dog, and then trying to cut myself some slack. The only thing I'd add is doing something nice for someone else - it's hard to stay feeling like sh*t when you're doing something for someone else!
MichaGoBig's profile thumbnail
So true!! Helping others can take us out of the worst funk.
smriti's profile thumbnail
When I am in a funk, I get in touch with my inner child. That is I bust out some LEGO/Play Doh/colouring book etc. It helps bring out the curious side of my personality.
MichaGoBig's profile thumbnail
That's an amazing idea! Love it! I've got to give it a go.
wenhsu's profile thumbnail
Thank you for sharing your thoughts in such a great detail. As a coach, we often judge ourselves even more for not being the "upbeat" self that we can't just "switch" to the positive self. My first step is to stop judging myself and see whatever reaction I have as me being human. I give myself permission to just be the negative self. I eat and binge-watch shows as well :) As much as the negative emotions suck, I usually learn much more about myself. I let myself be in the emotions for a little longer than I'm comfortable with. The acceptance of the current situation and who I am right now also helps. Being a curious person, when I start asking myself why I feel and behave this way, it usually helps me to look at things from outside the fog perspective.
taylorhuston's profile thumbnail
Love all the helpful tips! Similarly, even getting outside for a bit between meetings (ideally a bit of exercise) to release those endorphins again and raise energy/positivity levels again!
Talk to /treat yourself how you would talk to/treat a best friend.. with kindness, grace, patience and love. Eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables and drink a ton of water (extra points for hot lemon water in the morning and peppermint tea at night). Move your body - walk, hike, yoga, anything that feels good. Journal and do a brain dump - if its on your mind let it flow onto some paper, without judgement. Delete social media apps and try to spend less time locked into your phone. Get lost in a good book. Get a pedicure.
LucieD's profile thumbnail
Hi @MichaGoBig Thanks for posting this!! It's not all sunshine and rainbows all the time and to honor these bouts of 'bleugh' we need to allow ourselves to do it right!! ( And yes chocolate, doughnuts and icecream IS therapy!!) I've built an app to keep me accountable to some of the things you mentioned (It's called Templa) which combines healthy habit tracking with visualization so you can keep your eye on the prize as you go through the inevitable ups and downs that life provides. I loved all your suggestions, for me perosnally I would add doing some kind of spring clean - Getting rid of clutter makes me feel super cleansed and clear. I have also gotten back into the practise of doing my 'morning pages' inspired from the book 'The Artists Way' By Julia Cameron. It's a great way before you do any other form of journalling practise to clear out the clutter of your mind. Also I feel its important to give yourself time to have this chapter and not put any unrealistic expectations to switch it around. We know that change is inevitable, and it happens in its own sweet time so we must be patient with ourselves and allow the process to unfold as it naturally should!! Thanks for the beautiful insights!
MichaGoBig's profile thumbnail
Thanks for sharing your practices! I've also gone back to doing my personal version of morning pages (2, not 3 pages) and I find it very helpful in starting my day.