Ever have those days when you wake up early sans alarm and you hop out of bed with this feeling like the day is yours? You head to the kitchen and while you’re waiting for your morning coffee you’re thinking to yourself “Gosh… I just have a good feeling about today. I’m gonna make things happen today!” You finish making your coffee, head to your desk to start making things happen and then…
Something unplanned happens and it feels like you’ve been punched right in the kisser. Or the gut.. according to the title of this blog post. Potato, Potaaahhhto.
Anyways, that basically happened to me yesterday. I planned on sleeping in but I woke up at 7:30. While I was waiting for my coffee I was thinking about all the things I felt super motivated to get done. I was all stoked to write a blog post, do some blog maintenance, get some work done for my email bus., yada yada yada. I went over to the couch (I like to work from the couch over the weekend) and opened my laptop to start getting things done. And thats when it happened.
I looked down at my phone and there was a number calling me. A number I didn’t have saved but looked oddly familiar. After a few seconds I realized it was my dad calling. I thought my heart fell through my body and burned a hole through the couch. I felt like I was just punched in the gut.
(if you’re new around here, I don’t speak to either of my parents. you can read more about it in this article about mental illnesses)
He left me a voicemail which made me cry and cry and cry. I felt like I wanted to run away but I had no where to go. I felt paralyzed. And then I thought about all the things I wanted to do that day and cried even more because I felt like I was loosing another day of my life to depression and sadness and my brain not wanting to work.
I stared at the two lines I had written for the blog post I had planned on writing. Then I cried some more. I literally could not find one word in my brain to type. I started to feel defeated and slowly recoiled under the blanket and closed my eyes and cried some more. Then I decided I wasn’t going to let the feeling of being punching in the gut keep me down. I went into my office/yoga room and started to do some emotional work.
6 Ways To Cope When It Feels Like Someone Punched You In The Gut
1. Don’t react
One thing I’ve come to learn and accept is that when it comes to emotional situations, my first instinct is almost always wrong. I used to always react right away and then once the flames cooled, I’d walk around with my tail between my legs, ashamed of the way I reacted while I was heated or upset. Not reacting and giving yourself a chance to be removed from the situation will keep you from saying things you might regret.
2. Write it out and Regroup
When I titled this blog post with the ‘feels like someone punched you in the gut’, I literally meant that. Our minds and our bodies work together and when something affects our minds, we can also feel it in our bodies. When my dad called, I literally felt like I was punched in the gut.
Take a few moments to regroup and examine where you are feeling anything weird or off in your body and see if you can identify an emotion or a color to go with it. Maybe even journal it down. Whatever just happened that upset you will never feel as real or raw as it does right after it happened. Once our brain processes the situation into a memory the timing or certain details may be off so do what you can to accurately record what happened so you can come back to it, work through it, and make sense of it.
3. Put whatever is bothering you in a mason jar and bury it
Compartmentalizing is a tool I learned to help me work through EMDR therapy but I try to use it in my every day life. Basically, you imagine something like a box or a jar (but it has to have a lid) and whenever something comes up that you can’t deal with at the moment, you mentally put it in the jar or box, close the lid, and give yourself permission to come back to it later.
I like using a mason jar with the lids that you can screw really tight and then I bury it for extra compartmentalizing protection. Also, your jar or box doesn’t have to be imaginary… it can totally be real! I have a hard time imagining/picturing things so this tool was really hard for me to use at first. I decided that I wanted to use a real mason jar and actually go through the motions of writing down whatever I needed to compartmentalize, put it in the mason jar, bury it out in the yard, and come back to it when I’m ready – AKA whenever my next therapy apt is.
4. Go outside
Going outside is a great way to reset and get perspective. There’s a whole big world out there with so many moving parts and pieces. While I know my problems are real and important, getting outside reminds me that I am not the only person in this world and I am not the only one struggling.
The smells in fresh air reduce stress and increase happiness while also boosting energy. All three things are exactly what we need after going through something rough.
5. Do something that feels good
Before getting back to conquering your world, do something that feelings really good for yourself. Do some yoga, go get a massage or a manicure, give yourself a makeover, bake something delicious… whatever makes you feel good.
If you’re at work… see if you can get a 15 minute break. With this break sit outside and watch funny YouTube videos or listen to upbeat music. Or… keep a mini self care kit in your car or desk and go to the bathroom and spend some time washing your face, taking in essential oils, and just relaxing.
6. Forgive yourself and give yourself permission to take it easy
Whatever expectations you had for yourself, let yourself off the hook for the day and pick back up where you left off tomorrow. You don’t always have to be super woman. It’s okay to not get it all done – or need extra time – or whatever! I forgive you and now you need to forgive yourself too. Take a step back for the day and you can go back to full on super women mode once you’ve had a chance to lick your wounds and recover.