Recently, I had a day that was really rough for me emotionally, so much so it gave me a bad headache.  I felt so drained I didn't get done anything I'd planned. I felt worse and worse emotionally as the day went on, and fell in depressive habits of trying to distract myself by scrolling through Facebook until my phone died and trying to self-medicate with sugary junk foods.

When I was depressed, I would often get like that, where I felt so down and drained that the little voice in my head going, "you could do this and that and such to feel better," made me feel resentful and resistant.  The resentment was a source of irritability; the resistance an expression of anxiety.  Instead of recognizing my unhappy feelings and acknowledging them, I ran away from them, avoided them, suppressed them, did my best to numb myself.

When my husband got home and asked me how my day was, I ranted and said aloud to him all the things I had been distracting myself from. I heard the anger and frustration in my tone and words, and those feelings surprised me. I thought I was just feeling drained and down. I hadn't realized it was frustration and anger from my own unmet needs draining me.

My 8-year-old son's attention diverted by Dad, I retreated to our bedroom with my journal and my newest deck of tarot cards (Deborah Blake's Everyday Witch Tarot, a birthday gift.) I gave myself a reading using her fun, whimsical deck.  The cards helped me tune in to my feelings, figure out why I was feeling so off and what I needed to think, feel, and do to process the feelings and turn them around.

Then wrote in my pregnancy journal for the first time in ten days, detailing all the stress I'd been dealing with, and remembering in writing all the exciting and beautiful things too.

My husband came to snuggle, and I told him I realized that I was grieving. My sister and niece had moved to the other side of the country. I said goodbye to them Monday night, again Tuesday night, and they stayed Wednesday so they could say goodbye to my son, so we said goodbye all over again Wednesday. Thursday, instead of giving myself space to decompress and grieve, I tried to jump right in to finishing all the things babysitting my niece 5 days a week from the time she was two months old until they moved had gotten in the way of.

I felt much better after expressing all this, both to myself and to my husband. My feelings and needs were heard and understood. I took a bath with my Nourish blend of bath salts and some of my favorite crystals. I soaked some legumes and nuts so they'd be ready to cook with by morning. I went to bed deciding that I would take as much time as I needed to take care of myself, and only when I feel truly recharged would I get back to creating my online Reiki III class and the Family Secrets memoir I am writing. Not to mention all the cleaning, getting baby stuff ready for our son's arrival next month, etc.

I felt so much better the next day, it amazed me. I slept in until 10am, got some groceries, discovered that I'd made my last car payment on Cinco De Mayo (my car is paid off so we have more money than we thought!) and I played in my kitchen, making some amazing nutritious delicious foods.  My son and I played together, and I even got some cleaning done.

 

I wrote about this experience and posted it to my Practical Radiance group on Facebook, in part to help me process it, and also in hopes it might help others figure out how to turn around their own bad day.

I have a big list of Things To Do To Make Me Feel Better, but I forgot to put the most important thing at the top of the list.  The most important thing I can do to feel better is to feel my feelings, recognize them, acknowledge them, without judgement, instead of running away from them. Judging my feelings as "bad" makes me want to run away from them, but examining them as an accepted part of myself breaks me out of that depressive pattern.

Thinking "I feel like crap," or something along those lines leads me into depressive patterns of distracting myself and numbing my feelings.  However, if I check in with that feeling and ask myself why I feel that way, where that feeling is coming from, move into the feeling instead of away from it, the feeling shifts.  Instead of a vast, deepening pit of "bad" the feeling becomes if I suppress it, moving into the feeling, allowing myself to feel it and analyze it causes it to shift.  The emotion moves and changes, like water breaking through a damn, or the ebb and flow of a tide - inevitably feeling better.

The better I feel, the more self-care I can put into practice.  All day I'd thought about giving myself a reading and writing in my journal to feel better, but I'd skipped the step of feeling my feelings, so I had no motivation to actually do either.  It wasn't until my husband asked me how my day went that the damn of repressed emotion broke and all the feelings flooded out, to be heard by him, and finally acknowledged myself.  Then, the depressive pit of feeling "bad" drained enough, its weight lifted, and I finally had the energy and motivation to try my favorite self-care practices (in my case, tarot readings, writing, essential oils in a magnesium and sea salt bath, playing with my crystals, food prep, and sleep.)

 

If you are feeling tense, stressed, irritable, anxious, numb, overwhelmed, or any other form of unhappy unpleasant feeling, tuning into your feelings, accepting them as allowed, giving them a name and recognizing where they come from, giving yourself permission to feel them for a moment may be just what you need to get them moving, so you can take action to make yourself feel better.