Here's the thing about being a human being - sometimes you have a series of crappy days. Those crappy days turn into a sour attitude and then you're stuck, not remembering why you're in such a funk in the first place. Sometimes your life is just so dang overwhelming, sometimes it's just plain boring. Imagine me as an infomercial promising you a tried and true cure, only I'm going to give it to you for free. I'm awesome like that. Where's that sarcasm button when you need it?
The cure is not what you would expect. You don't need to think positive or imagine a great goal. The cure is this: get quiet. When we're stuck in a crappy rut we want to isolate. So do it. You have 24 hours to isolate. Tell your most trusted friend to drag you out of your cave kicking and screaming if you disappear for more than a day, but give yourself the space to be alone and to let those gunky feelings rise to the surface. You're feeling what you're feeling for a reason. We tend to try to force our feelings to change and that's never healthy for anyone. So, feel it. Be in your funk for a bit. Feel what you're feeling. Try to connect to why you're feeling it. And then crawl out again. You'll come out more self-aware and that's a big step forward.
Next, exercise. No really. Stop rolling your eyes. Stop making excuses. Don't shut down. This is one of the hardest things to do when you're feeling crappy, but exercise is one of those things that will change everything. We don't want to force our feelings to be something they're not, but we do want to give them the chance to transform into something else. So work out. Go on a hike, a walk, a run; do some yoga, try a new class at the gym, play at the park with your kids - do something that makes you move and sweat. Do it even though you'd rather lay in bed covered in crumbs and chocolate smears watching both seasons of Scandal (been there). Exercise raises the serotonin levels in your brain, which lifts your mood. Exercising outside exposes you to fresh air and vitamin d, which also increases serotonin and boosts your immune system. Exercise also makes you feel strong, like you've accomplished something. It develops a healthy awareness of your body and we all need more of that.
After you've had your 24 hours and started working out, do this: practice self-care. I know, this list is getting harder. We aren't trained to self-care. It's perceived as selfish or a luxury. It's hard to find the time to take care of ourselves and we just set in on a shelf until it seems convenient. It's never going to be convenient. Ever. But it is always going to be necessary. When I was pregnant with Aravis I started getting massive migraines. I'd be out for days. The one thing that helped was getting regular massages. We were P.O.O.R. and I felt a ridiculous amount of guilt for spending money on me. You know what though? I look back on that time in my life and I realize how little value I gave myself and my contribution to my family and community. Those massages were as vital to my survival as food and sleep. I couldn't function without them. Happy kids come from happy parents. Happy parents (i.e. adults) come from self-care. You're not going to take care of anyone until you've taken care of you. There's a reason flight attendants tell you, in case of an emergency, to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you try to put one on a child. What use are you to anyone if you're passed out on the floor? Enough said. Self care, friends. Get a massage. Get your nails done. Read a book at the park - by yourself. See a movie with girlfriends. Meet a new friend for drinks. Take a girl's weekend. Go on a hike with your man. Do whatever you need to do to feel balanced and cared for. Then you can begin to contribute to humanity again.
Here's the last part of the cure for a crappy day: give back. Pour out some love on someone who really needs it. Take your middle child on a date to Starbucks, buy a struggling single mom some groceries, purge your house of all that clutter and drop it off at an organization that helps teen moms, volunteer somewhere, watch the babies in the nursery at church - do something that lets you feel small enough to receive something huge.
The little way isn't just constant self-sacrifice. It isn't meant to be depressing or draining. The little way is a slow process of healing and repositioning. No more denying our emotions. No more hiding out in isolation. No more broken attempts at functioning when we're lifeless inside. We are former lepers, former abandoned and rejected people, former wanderers. We are once-broken, and forever healed. We have wandered around in the image of God, wondering why we were so lost and forgotten. We have lived our lives disconnected from our purpose. We just keep living without really living. No more. Not now. Not now that we have looked into the eyes of redemption and been touched by the hands of restoration. Not now that we have stopped wandering and found roots spreading from our feet. Not now, friends. Now we live. Now we do whatever it takes to live.
Here's your cure. Here's your out. Take it. Live it.
Get quiet, move and sweat, self-care, give back. Then come back here and share your story. The best part of an infomercial are the success stories. Spread the cure, friends. We all need it.