I, like so many others, am grateful for many things this holiday season. My health, my family, my friends, my job — so much to appreciate. The last 12 months have been long and required a lot of soul searching and gut-wrenching honesty — and that’s separate from my weight loss journey. In the last year, I’ve dealt with divorce, job loss, moving and financial challenges. I’m in such a better place today than I was a year ago, and for that I’m exceptionally grateful. Not only is my physical health significantly improved, but so is my emotional health.
So, if that’s the case, why have I been so weepy for the last two weeks? I have asked myself this question over and over again. The best explanation I can come up with is that while I’m happier than I’ve been in years and have more confidence in the direction of my life, it doesn’t take away the pain of the last year. One friend in my Weight Watchers meeting reminded me that, with time, that pain will lessen. I know she’s right — but getting through it is the challenge. Because, until I get through it, I have to think about it and deal with it. And, when I get really emotional, I have less control over my eating and that’s not OK with me. I’ve worked too hard and come too far, especially with the turmoil of the last year, to allow my focus to falter.
I know the holidays can be tricky for many and I wanted to share some thoughts that are helping me, on the off chance they might help you too.
Be grateful for what you have — Don’t spend time lamenting what you don’t have, or thinking about what you wish you did have. Be present. Enjoy the moment and cherish all the good. Find the silver lining in the storm cloud. Tell the people who matter to you why they are important. Focus on that. Really focus. Repeat it over and over in your head or out loud if you have to. It’s part of the process. It will help improve your mood; I know it works for me.
Do something for others — Another friend at Weight Watchers suggested doing something for others — it could be very simple, like writing a note to a friend or family member about how grateful you are for them; calling a friend to find out what’s going on in HER life; visiting someone who isn’t well. Changing the focus from what is troubling you to doing something for others helps pass time and redirect your thoughts. It’s almost like pressing a “pause” button on your emotions. It’s not about suppressing those emotions, it’s about learning to cope so you can continue living your life. There will be more of those challenging moments, but having a supply of things to do when feeling melancholy will help make getting through the difficult moments easier.
Give yourself permission to be sad — You have to feel your emotions. It’s worse to bottle them up and bury them deep inside you. It’s OK to feel rotten and weepy and annoyed. BUT, the key (at least from what I’ve discovered) is to learn to continue living your life and try really hard not to displace your emotions on other people. This is SO hard sometimes. Be prepared to apologize — a LOT — to the people you love who bear the brunt of your emotions. My apologies are usually choked out with the tears that come when I realize what I’ve done. And, those apologies are ALWAYS accepted. It’s OK. Be honest with yourself and your people. They understand and will have your back — that’s why they’re your people. And, they’ll help make you feel better, too.
Get your thoughts out of your head — I find that writing helps me sort out the feelings in my head. If you could see the number of half-written blog posts on my computer. Some make no sense. Some feature run-on sentences I should be ashamed of. But, more often than not, just writing down the thoughts in my head — even if I don’t do anything with the information — gives me the peace of mind and soul to continue. Find the outlet that works for you. Maybe it’s painting, drawing or playing an instrument. I also like to knit. I often joke that I have ADD when it comes to knitting because I have so many projects in process. But, for me, the act of starting a new project helps me continue moving forward and pushes the heavy thoughts from my mind. Sometimes, I might even initiate a tickle fight with my girls. They say laughter is the best medicine, right?
I, truly, am so grateful for the life I’m living. I have a sister who is also my best friend. My daughters make me proud every moment of every day. My eyes leak just from thinking about how amazing my parents are and how fortunate I am to have them. I can count on my friends — they are inspiring, kind and thoughtful people. Even with all the challenges the last year has brought, I would do it all the same way again in a heartbeat. I’m counting my blessings this holiday season. I hope you are too!
How do you manage the emotions of the season?
November 28, 2017 at 6:41 am
I’m grateful for you, Robin! You are so inspiring and it’s not all about your weight-loss success. Your outlook on life is refreshing and uplifting to everyone who reads your blog. 🙂
November 28, 2017 at 7:19 am
Thanks so much, Monica! It doesn’t always feel quite so uplifting in the moment, but, the strategies work. It gets better — and knowing that it will makes all the difference! Your kind words and support make a difference too!
November 28, 2017 at 8:59 am
Yes, give yourself permission to be sad. Brilliant.
November 28, 2017 at 7:07 pm
How else can a person cope? You have to let it out. Keeping it in doesn’t solve anything — it just makes you feel worse — at least in my experience!
November 28, 2017 at 12:28 pm
I’m at a point in my journey that I must find that happy medium between allowing myself to be sad, and always feeling sad.
Jess recently posted…Please Do Not Feed The Locals
November 28, 2017 at 7:08 pm
That is a battle, Jess. Maybe give yourself a time limit. 30 minutes a day to wallow — then it’s time to put a smile on your face and move on. I’ve done that. I’ve cried in the shower and stopped when I got out — or when the water turned cold!
November 29, 2017 at 10:40 am
That’s a very poignant statement Jess (I think I relate more than I’d like). Doesn’t sound like the medium is very happy though. So maybe take a look at that map again and look for the happy hoity-toity instead. It’s a much more funerest place than the happy medium. And remember sad backward is das which stands for damn ass stupid, hmm or was that donuts and sugar cookies, oh yeah it was delightful and silly! Yeah that’s the one – I’ll save a seat for you. 🙂
November 29, 2017 at 6:20 pm
Delightful and silly is the answer for sure Chris! We’ve all been there and still visit. It’s finding the ways to pull yourself out or limit the length of the visit that matter, right??
November 30, 2017 at 6:36 am
Oh dear, you have been through a lot in a short time. I didn’t know that and I even more admire your strength and willpower now!!! Give yourself permission to be sad is a truly good advice. We can’t ‘function’ like a machine nonstop, we are humans – no robots. You are so damn strong!
November 30, 2017 at 7:26 am
Thanks for your kind words, Claudia! When willpower falters, I remind myself of what I’ve accomplished and read the amazing words of support I receive here, on my FB page and from my friends and family. That’s what helps me stay strong — that and the ever-decreasing number on the scale!!
November 30, 2017 at 1:26 pm
Allowing yourself to feel emotions is a part of life I think most people try to push away but you’re right – you’ve got to take it as part of existence, or you’ll never work through the sad.
November 30, 2017 at 9:17 pm
The upside of pushing through it is you might actually learn something that can be helpful the next time!
December 5, 2017 at 7:53 pm
You are so amazing to have so much going on and to keep your focus. I always get emotional at different times but it is this time of year I always feel it crashing on me. I try to breathe, remember its okay to cry, and to be honest with myself and friends. Never be afraid to ask for help or lean on someone for some extra support and smiles.
Stacey W recently posted…Comfort and Joy