Shit just got real. We talk about it as the honeymoon stage, on the up, highs of life and indeed, those moments where we are excited about something new and shiny. Whether this is a job, a relationship or our new freedom after being locked up during a Pandemic, it’s clear there are so many things to be excited about and positive is always better. What do we do though when things get real, the energy drops and we move into new territory without the same excitement as before?
What goes up must come down. There’s a natural law of gravity that applies to everything including our energy. Why then do some of us panic when that natural energy drop happens and we’re faced with reality? Easy, we’re out of our comfort zones.
I can hear one of my directors in my ear whenever I reach a stage we call ‘dissatisfaction’ saying ‘there’s no growth in comfort and no comfort in the growth zone’. As I’ve navigated through various scenarios in my life, there have been the inevitable moments of anxiety when I’ve realised I don’t have a clue what the hell I’m doing and need to flex some new muscle of competency and confidence. It’s a bit overwhelming and indeed, can create the feeling of throwing in the towel. Don’t though. I promise it can get better.
As I’ve navigated through my 35 years, there are quite a few learnings that have helped to move through times of doubt and anxiety during change. This includes the focus of what this is when it comes to moving out of a high. Questions I like to ask myself are 1) what is this time trying to tell me? 2) how do I tune into my emotions here and what are they saying? 3) is this real?
There’s a human element of looking for threat in our environments. Our brains are wired for threat and this is shown in terms of our critical brains. Thousands of years ago, we’d need to be on alert in order to protect ourselves from predators and other threats in our environment. In 2021, this is still how our brains operate except instead of predators and lions, we’re finding other threats. This protects to a point however has the ability to impede our growth without us being aware of how it affects us. What could go wrong here? How do I get out of it? We can click into survival mode and want to run from our emotions without stopping to understand what they could mean.
Some mechanisms are below that I’ve found helpful as the drop happens and I want to run away, throw in the towel and find a resolution as quickly as possible.
- Check in with yourself. What is ACTUALLY happening? At any given stage, our emotions can tell us where we’re at. Listening to the body, sitting with any feelings and understanding what they mean is key to being self-aware and understanding when to take action or when to wait it out. This has been my experience as a once super reactive person, I know accept that I can wait out the storm, allow emotions to settle and self-assess before making a decision or taking action. This can be counter-productive and be confused with procrastination at times so be careful. Every emotion has a meaning and knowing when and how to identify will make a massive difference to your day to day.
- Advice is subjective. I do this myself. When life hits a hurdle or area of change, I reach out to those closest to me to get advice. This is helpful and certainly talking it out is important, be aware though that different perspectives may come from those around you and so, be mindful of who you go to and what this looks like for you. You are your biggest advocate and the expert on your life! Act accordingly. Don’t keep it all in but do take each opinion with the lense of ‘that’s based on their own experience’ and so, may not always be the right choice for you.
- Be kind to yourself. When lower on sleep, higher in stress hormones and things feel a bit heavy, turning on ourselves can be tempting. Be yourself, take gentle care and know that you can be your best in that moment. Some days, that might mean taking a duvet day, others it might mean to go for a run or get some cardio in general.
- Sit in the discomfort. I’ve always remembered this quote when it was said to me in my early twenties. ‘If you don’t heal what hurt you, you’ll bleed on those who didn’t cut you’. You are your own advocate and in moments of struggle or pain, even more so. This is your opportunity to understand the pain and work through it. Allow it to pass rather than distracting yourself or reacting to those around you.
The best advice on this lovely Saturday is to know yourself, know your habits and how to be your number one fan. It won’t always be smooth sailing but I promise it will guide you to where you’re meant to end up.
Enjoy your day, you can’t take it with you x