Yesterday I wrote some words about how life is going, really going. The update itself was vague, but the emotional word vomit was not. After I published the post I spent about 10 minutes panicking in disbelief that I actually posted it, and heavily considered deleting the whole thing. Against my better judgement I left it up, and went on with my night.
Again, whoa. I was not expecting the responses I got. Those few paragraphs sparked a handful of conversations with friends about their own grief and what they are going through and man, we’re all going through a lot.
So often we think we are alone, the only ones, but then all it takes is for one person to say “Life has been rough lately,” and then other people are like, “hey, me too…”
I’ve said this here before, but I truly believe that broken hearted people are uniquely equipped to pray and care for other broken hearted people. On paper it seems like it wouldn’t work, but I know from experience that it does. Exchanging grief with other people who are grieving, even if it’s not the same grief, is comforting, it makes life less lonely. It also inherently creates a sacred space where friends can speak freely and be more authentic; no pruning, no sugar coating. It’s refreshing, and cathartic.
So to those of you told me you also feel weepy, weary, drained––who described life using words like rough, depressed, overwhelmed––I have a list I’d like to share with you.
Self care is simple, but navigating an upside down life is consuming and disorienting. Simple tasks begin to feel monumental and sometimes we need a nudge to remember the no-brainers.
When the going gets tough, people like to say, “be gentle, give yourself grace…” My problem is that I don’t always remember how to do that. So one day I made a list. A ‘note to self’ pep talk that I reference for those depressing, greif-y days.
I’m not even going to scan it, or illustrate it, or make it cute in any way. It’s just here if you need it. I usually pick 5 things that seem manageable, and keep going from there if I have the energy.
A few things:
The list is numbered but not meant to be done in chronological order. Although it does loosely go from starting with the easiest most basic things to harder, more advanced things like…washing the bath towels and sheets. :)
When I wrote it, it was important to me (a minimalist) to list things that were
- Practically free
- No escapism (like binge watching netflix or online shopping, etc.)
- Not heavily food/drink related (no wine, comfort foods…that sort of thing]
Not that those things are wrong, but in this instance they are often bad bandaids. I want the real deal, the care and love that lasts. It doesn’t have to be glamorous, and usually, it’s not.
Most of these are capital B Basic, but again, when I’m going through a rough patch, I often forget because the simple tasks feel monumental. Doing just a few of these things is often all it takes to convince myself that I do have enough. Which can be the difference between an okay day and an awful day. And if not, if none of it worked, at least I tried. At least the bed is made and I wiped the counters. Sometimes that’s all we have and that’s okay. That understanding is what we mean when we tell ourselves and our friends to give grace, to be gentle.
Lastly, since I am the author of this list, it is personally tailored to the specific brand of encouragement I need, so perhaps you could make your own list. Even just listing things out, without actually doing them, can do a lot to lift a mood.
Big hugs, friends.