I took a short, but very sweet trip to Colorado—God’s country. The fresh air, babbling brooks, mountain ranges, magnificent red rocks and boulders transported me to a place of simplicity. The grandeur of it all reminded me of our insignificance in the grand scheme of life and it left me feeling humbled and refreshed.
It was the trip I needed.
This infusion of nature allowed me to realize that I had gotten away from my Ted Lasso-self. My past optimism, positivity, and need to see the good in people had been replaced with cynicism, negativity, anxiety, and fear.
The last two years had left me disenchanted with people, in my faith, in the belief that people and life were inherently good. It’s part of the reason that I haven’t posted lately on this blog. (That and I’ve been extremely busy with my next novel, job, and freelancing clients.)
I hadn’t realized how depressed I had been feeling until the weight of it felt lifted from this trip. Coming back was/is hard. Even my body feels the difference—the inflammation and achiness (when did I get old?) have sadly returned.
But I’m committed to getting back, remaining back, to my old self and embodying the Ted-Lasso traits that I’ve always identified with (the glass is half full). Don’t get me wrong, I’m nowhere near being at the level of Ted Lasso but who is, really?
I am writing this post (embarrassingly raw as it is) for several reasons. One main reason is to ensure you and others that, if you are feeling down, frustrated, and/or discouraged, you are not alone and to provide some reminders that can help push you through those negative humps.
I’m on a Response and Recovery Team at my work and at our meeting on Friday, we had a “status check” to see how everyone was feeling. The simple question of “how are you feeling” opened up the flood gates. While I didn’t volunteer my feelings, what I learned is that I wasn’t alone. And knowing that others (pretty much, everyone at that meeting) was feeling the same way was therapeutic.
Your negative state is temporary and does not define you.
The last two years have been anything but easy. If you are beating yourself up for feeling weak, scared, or “not quite yourself,” please know that your feelings are situational and you can get back to your old self.
HOW YOU ASK? Here are just a few tips that have helped me:
1) Give yourself a break and soak in the power of Grace.
I’ve heard the term “Grace” mentioned 3-4 times this week. This type of frequency is more than a coincidence; it’s a reminder. The definition for grace can vary—a prayer before dinner, elegant movement, kindness, and/or forgiveness.
Honestly, it’s hard for me to specifically define GRACE, but I recognize it when I see it. It’s a thoughtful gesture from a friend, compassion shown to someone in need, or being kind and going easy on others . . . and on yourself.
What my recent trip reminded me of is that EVERYONE is being tested with our current environment. Rather than getting impatient and aggravated with others who may not be going/working/responding fast enough. Or, with those who have become more reclusive (I’m guilty), argumentative, or harder to be around, PUT YOURSELF IN THEIR SHOES. Understand that it is very likely that you have NO IDEA what they’re going through.
At the same time, this grace – this allowance – should also be given to yourself.
Over the next few days when you feel yourself getting angry at others or yourself, take a deep breath and give yourself and others a break. Let go of the resentment, and instead, see how you might be able to help or better the situation. Soak in the grace.
(2) Find something that gives you joy.
Everyone needs an outlet, an escape route, a safe place when the going gets tough. For me, it’s writing, especially with my novels. I love writing fiction; it’s the one place that I can escape, laugh, and FANtasize (yes, there is a reason I formatted the word that way – hint, next book).
Think about what you enjoyed as a kid? Are there any hobbies that you wanted to pursue? Find that creative outlet that can serve as a way to release the stress.
(3) Remain grateful.
It is very easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself with others and feeling inferior because someone has more money, a bigger house, a better job, a better body, a seemingly perfect life. Here’s a secret: There will always be people who have more than you; there will also always be people who have less than you. Be grateful for what you have.
Focusing on what you lack rather than what you have can easily strip away your happiness, confidence, and sense of purpose. On the flip side, gratitude brings about more things to be grateful for. Gratitude is an energy and, not only can it transform your mindset, it can bring about positive changes in your life.
(4) Allow for solitude and down time, preferably outside, in nature.
I challenge you to spend an hour outside, in the woods or along a beautiful trail, to see how you feel afterwards. If there is one thing that my trip to Colorado has shown me, it is that nature is healing. It revives the spirit, allows you to breath literally and figuratively, and realigns your nervous system. It also provides a forum for you to hear your thoughts and gain some perspective. It is truly therapeutic.
Oh, and if all else fails, go watch Ted Lasso (AppleTV).
It’s the name for a girl
It’s also a thought that
Changed the world . . .
. . . What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stings
Because Grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things . . .
. . . Grace finds goodness