A few weeks ago someone sent me this message: “Lately I’ve been feeling very recluse and borderline depressed on a day to day basis, exhausted and unmotivated. Social media is especially draining. It would be great if you felt like dwelling more into the ups and downs and sharing things that help you feel grounded and centered.” I’d love to touch more on this as I think the bottoms of life aren’t talked about enough. When we only hear the ups of others lives, it’s really easy to compare, to think there’s something wrong with us. Which couldn’t be further from the truth.
A few months before this I was deep into a valley, metaphorically. I used to really resist these and feel guilty about doing less and resting- my Virgo moon/rising can make me my biggest critic, especially over not getting things done. This time, I kind of just… surrendered. Realizing that everything in nature goes in cycles: the moon, the seasons, made me not only accept these ups and downs, but to welcome and honor them. Being in flux is so much more beautiful than stagnation, for growth is always on the other side. These periods are usually, for me, characterized by feeling bluesy, solitary, craving silence and alone time and a retraction from my routines. Working with those feelings and really leaning in to go deeper and using it as a chance to regroup, go back and look at things with clarity and clear out anything that may be stale, or dragging my energy. Dropping expectations and accepting where things are. It’s ok not to hustle, not to be productive, not to be “doing” all the time.
When I feel ready to climb out, these are my most favorite tools to work with to re-center and come back to neutral. Yours may be totally different, and that’s beautiful. If so, I’d love for you to share in the comments for everyone reading to benefit from!
note: I’m not talking about clinical depression, anxiety, etc here which doesn’t go away over time. If you are dealing with that, please seek professional help without any self-judgement. It’s just as important as if you were dealing with a heart attack, broken leg, or any other physical ailment.
journal // write it out, on paper, get out your thoughts, feelings, dreams, brainstorm, make an action plan. Don’t worry about spelling mistakes, handwriting, grammar. Just let it out. Morning pages are great for this. Dive deep, get emotional, figure out what’s actually going on here. A lot of times when problems manifest in our life that we don’t want, like food bingeing, unprovoked irritability towards others, jealousy, alcohol/drug overuse, and other self destructive behaviors, it’s because there’s something emotionally that needs to be processed and dealt with. We’re resisting that need and dulling the feeling with something else in order to avoid the pain of facing it. Forgive yourself and face the scary bits here.
tune out // it’s always so effective for me to tune out here- especially with social media. Delete the app(s) from your phone and unsubscribe from email subscriptions making you feel like you’re behind. It can be so easy for me to pick up other people’s energy, and when I’m able to be alone and turn inward, I realize none of it is even mine, none if it is actually important to me when examined closer. Dropping all that, and tapping into your intuition here to figure out what it is that you need- which will look different for everyone. This is a beautiful e-book on intuition with gentle guidance on how to come back to your own.
clearing space // making room in your life for what you do want. Maybe this is physical or abstract. It could be clearing out clothes from your closet that don’t embody who you are anymore. It could be saying goodbye to any toxic relationships that you know you deserve more from: romantic, personal, work. Maybe saying “no” to things you do because you feel guilty not to, or things you do because worry what people will think if you don’t. Letting go of everything that you don’t need, fearlessly and confidently. You’re so worth it.
meditate // set aside some time, as little as 5 minutes, at the beginning and end of each day. I like to do it soon after I wake up, and before I go to bed. Breathe deeply, relax, let go of what ifs, shoulds, worries about the future (which you can’t control anyway). Enjoy the beauty of this time with yourself. Afterwards, express gratitude for something in your life, big to small.
exercise // sweating it out boosts mood and pops you right back into the present moment. I like stretching deeply for a few days with some nighttime yin yoga, which relaxes the nervous system. On other days, some quick HIIT routines that boost my energy and take only around 15 minutes to complete. I always use Ali Kamenova for workout classes, as she gives way more than just a workout. Emotionally, spiritually, physically balancing. If you can exercise outside, bonus.
greens // all the greens. Full of magnesium, greens can positively impact serotonin levels. They also keep my energy even and strong (no 3 pm crash) and boost digestion. I’ve been eating them at every meal- kale, spinach, arugula are my personal favorites.
ferments // fermented veggies for good gut bacteria = improved mood pathways. Our gut talks directly to our brain– it’s magical. I focus on eating fermented foods daily, which have been consumed thousands of years and are traditional parts of many cultures. Sauerkraut, kimchi, almond ricotta, tempeh, miso are my favorites.