Ah, like clockwork. The post-winter, pre-spring panic.
If you’re scratching your head, a bit confused as to what I might be referring to, then lucky you. Seriously, I’m envious. But for others like myself who’ve felt nothing less than exceedingly empty and overwhelmed recently, you’re not alone.
So let’s refill that cup, shall we?
Aside from Mercury being yet again in the throes of retrograde, we in the Northern Hemisphere are exiting a heavy season full of indulging and lazing countless overcast days away, expected to skip breezily right into the lightness of spring. That drastic shift isn’t easy for everyone. And to be perfectly candid, it has left me feeling hollow and worn down.
Last year was the first time I’d felt how intense this transitional period could be, and I’ll really never forget the depth of the worry it brought on. On the surface, I was irritable and unhappy at best. Below that, I existed in a constant state of dread. I’m not entirely sure what brought it on, but I have an inkling that it may have been the sudden awareness at how quickly the year (and life in general) seemed to be flying by — How were we already in April?! How was I almost 25?! — and the recognition of how little I felt like I had accomplished on my big list of things to accomplish in 2018. I may have been getting ahead of myself (it was, after all, only three months into the year), but without the acute awareness of that, everything began to take on a formidable amount of weight . . . and I was unprepared to take it all on.
It was around then that I also found out I was moving to Nashville. If you’re a long-time reader here, you might recall the second post of my two-part moving story where I list out all the things that went wrong during that time (if you’re new, I still think it’s worth the read!). I whole-heartedly believed the world was out to get me; that this was some higher power telling me to pump the brakes on leaving California. And while I easily could have thrown in the towel and called it, I didn’t. I surrendered to the universe. I let the chips fall where they may. And you know what? Everything worked out exactly as it was supposed to.
Things recently took on a force similar to the one I felt last year. In short, everything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong in the last few weeks. Work situations, money situations, living situations . . . you name it, I probably have received less than stellar news regarding it. And instead of acknowledging the way those things were making me feel (aka discouraged and frustrated and worried and stressed), I did an Oscar-worthy job of couping it all up and acting as though things had never been better in my life. So when I got my final bit of bad news last Friday, those little stress cracks that had been forming all along finally reached out and grabbed hold of one another, and whatever false facade I was hiding behind shattered. I no longer had the luxury of pretending everything was fine. I needed to admit defeat, recognize that things weren’t okay, and ask for help.
Thanks to my wonderful family and friends (and a cheap bottle of red wine), I’m feeling more like myself this week. There are more smiles and sunshine filling my days. Leaning into their support and their words of encouragement helped me bounce back and realize I don’t have to take on everything alone; that feelings — even the negative ones — are worth acknowledging; and that this is just another transitional period . . . like a cold dreary winter giving way to a colorful, light-filled spring.
My methods might not be the most conventional, but I felt the need to share exactly what got me through this year’s post-winter, pre-spring panic. It included lots of wine. Lots of tears. Lots of self-pity. But you know what? It worked. And it might for you, too. Feel free to adjust where you see fit, but this is my how-to on refilling your cup.
5 Steps to Refill Your Cup
1. Cry. Let it out. If you’re anything like me, you don’t cry about the happenings in your own life. You cry while watching commercials like this or at the end of Cool Runnings (weird reference, I know, but I just watched it for the first time this week and cried like a baby at its conclusion). But the stresses in your day-to-day? Pshhh. Not worth it.
Yes. Yes they are. The hard, less-than-ideal situations you go through are worth the tears that might rise to the surface in reaction to them. Suppressing those tears will likely only make your emotions more volatile. So let it out, my friend. Acknowledge your pains and frustrations. You’ll feel a lot lighter after the fact.
2. Drink a whole bottle of wine to yourself. Or eat the whole pint of ice cream. Whatever your non-life-threatening vice is, indulge in it.
I couldn’t tell you the last time I downed a whole bottle of wine to myself — wait, yes I can. It was my junior year of college and it was Barefoot MOSCATO . . . cringe. Okay, well I couldn’t tell you the last time I had downed an entire bottle of wine in my adult life, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. So I stayed in last Friday night and I uncorked a bottle of whatever red I had on hand (it ended up being cheap and horrible but oh well) and I poured myself glass after glass until it was gone. And it felt great.
During my first glass, I cried. In the middle of my second, I decided to draw myself a bubble bath (see step 3). I enjoyed my third glass in said bath with the season 1 finale of Hart of Dixie pulled up on Netflix. And I finished off the bottle from the sofa watching Tangled, because yes, I was feeling sorry for myself and was tired of thinking about adult things and needed to smile.
3. Take a bath. Surrender yourself to some self-care. Take care of yourself in whatever form feels right to you. I love bubble baths, so that’s exactly what I treated myself to. I also painted my nails and did a face mask afterward. Pamper yourself. It reminds you of your worth.
4. Take some time to reflect alone. Really take stock of your feelings away from the opinions of others. Recognize those feelings for what they are and what they mean to you. So often we seek out sympathy from someone else just to validate the way we feel . . . but you don’t need another individual to tell you that what you’re going through is justifiable. It is.
Once you’re able to process those emotions on your own (however quickly or slowly it takes), then reach out to those closest to you and let them know you’re sad or stressed or fearful. This way, when their words come, you’ll be able to take them to heart and use them to your advantage. Their words will help remedy your hard feelings, not define them or downplay them.
5. Let it go. This probably, no, definitely is the hardest step. Take it from a Type-A human like myself. I have the most difficult time loosening my grip on things that might be even remotely in the realm of my control. Especially when they relate to really important factors in life (like work and money and living). But a funny thing happens when you decide to let go . . . you feel light and capable and happy again.
When I spoke to my mom the morning after my little Friday night self-pity party, she laid it out for me plain and simple: Some things just exist outside of your control and there’s nothing you can do about it. What you can do is consider the things in your control, and then go from there.
I filled my plate to the brim with things that I had little say in, and in turn, I let those things manipulate the way that I was feeling and how I was making decisions. It was exhausting and it took an emotional toll on me and those around me, too. It was high time to push those things aside and gain some clarity.
So I let them go. And like this time last year, I’m surrendering to the universe. I’m letting those chips fall where they may (hopefully they’re hint-of-lime tortilla chips and they’re falling into a heaping bowl of guacamole). And I’m remaining thankful that I have taxing experiences like these to remind me of the good times and all the better ones that lie ahead.