Wednesday, 22 June 2011

How to Feel Better: 25 Ways to Heal

Image thanks to yvette

Lots of things can make us feel bad. For me, recently, it’s been poor health, family dramas, the break down of a long term relationship, and the vague vibrations of a quarter-life crisis. For you, it might be any manner of disappointment, disillusionment, depression...

However great or drenched in blessings your life is (because mine is, in a thousand ways) you will never avoid these sorts of upsets altogether. It's unrealistic to expect so. And, if you aren’t prepared for them, well, they can bust you up pretty bad.

But the magic is in pulling it back; feeling the pain, healing the pain, and using the pain as progress. If life were a computer game, these periods would be the level changes; the points where you have to fight the big bosses, to ultimately move to a higher point in the journey.

In the midst of it all, like the child creeping to her parents bedroom after a nightmare; like the tearful girl turning up at her best friend’s door in the rain; like the woman dissolving her pain in the steamy water of a hot bath – sometimes we all need a way to just feel better. This is a list of some of mine.

1. Cry. This is numero uno for a reason. Admit it, it feels good. Do it, and do it often. If the tears aren’t coming, coax them with a sad movie or by writing out some of what you’re feeling. Indulge in your tears, make them work for you, remembering that each tear is a splish-splash towards your recovery.
2. Go for a walk.
4. Talk. To yourself. To your grandma. To your lover. To your cat. To the universe.
5. Tell the people you love and appreciate that you love and appreciate them, in the best way you can.
6. Listen to music. Lyrics are their own special kind of therapy, and when you’re going through some tough s**t you’ll probably start understanding them a lot more. Jukesy is good for this. Grab a warm drink. Pick a genre. Melt.
7. Write a list of things to do when you do feel better. Then do some of them right now.
8. Know that you are not alone; whatever you are feeling has been felt by the human race before and will be felt again, probably a million times over. They will deal with it and so will you.
9. Give yourself a hug. You’re damn right I do this, and often. Test it before you trash it.
10. Trust.
11. Paint your toenails a bright colour. The little things are worth loving, and a glimmer of neon pink poking out of the bedcovers will always warm your heart.
12. Layer up. Warm layers of clothing such as long-sleeved jersey tops, wool cardigans, pashminas etc. always make me feel infinitely better. Plod around the house like you’ve rolled in a jumble sale bin and you’ll either feel comforted and cosy, or make yourself hoot with laughter when you catch your reflection – either of which are good ways to heal!
13. Sleep on your friend’s sofa. They love you, and somehow the act of crashing at their place solidifies this.
14. Order pizza. Once in a while ain't no thang.
15. Revisit a time where you felt more inspired. Your M.Y.L.A. journal; a favourite old film; a piece of art you made. Recapture how you felt at that time.
17. Wash your hair, or have someone wash it for you.
18. Do the thing you think isn’t allowed: buy yourself an enormous bunch of flowers; wear the dress you think is too fancy; throw a party when no one expects you to; phone the friend you fell out with two years ago, and say sorry.
19. Lie on the floor. It’s a good place to get a new perspective on things.
20. Breathe deep. Deeper.
21. Stretch. Yoga moves like the cobra (which I regularly do in the bath, by the way...); the cat, and child’s pose all serve to smooth and soothe.
22. Say thanks to yourself. Out loud. Example: ‘thanks, Megan, for not cracking up.’ ‘Thanks, Megan, for always being on my side.’ ‘Thanks in advance, Megan, for the amazing person you’re going to turn me into.’
23. Ride the wave. This is one my good friend Ellen and I use to death. Just go through what you’re going through, because you have to. Just look for the light at the end of the tunnel. Just ride the wave.
24. Have a bath. The be all. The end all. The classic. The fail-safe healing-fest that is a hot, bubbly, buoyancy-aid bit of bath time.

and, most importantly...

25. Don’t feel bad for feeling bad! It’s not being under the dark cloud that defines you, it’s how open you are to letting it lift.

I hope some of these will help you as much as they have helped me. Add your own!


Morag Lee said...

"But the magic is in pulling it back; feeling the pain, healing the pain, and using the pain as progress. If life were a computer game, these periods would be the level changes; the points where you have to fight the big bosses, to ultimately move to a higher point in the journey."

This is seriously some of the bext imagery I've read in a while. I've actually added this as a quote to my Facebook "favourite quotes" section. Amazing article as always. x

crunicorn said...

Thank you - needed that

Connie said...

Hi Megan,

This is an awesome post. I think many of us were never taught positive coping and healing strategies through our lives. Your recommendations are beautiful, self-supportive and nurturing.

Rather than turning to a block of chocolate to soothe the pain, or spending days worrying and complaining, your suggestions teach people to self-soothe in a loving and empowering way.


Thank you xx

Sara said...

Oh I so need this right now. Thanks Megan! Perfect timing x

Madison said...

Talk to yourself! When I am upset to the point of a panic attack or borderline breakdown, I literally say "Madison, you get to choose how you respond to this. You get to choose to be happy." My boyfriend recently ended our long-term relationship also, so I usually say "You don't get to choose BOY's NAME HERE's actions, but you do get to choose how you respond to them. Choose to be happy." Also, "I will keep moving forward. I will move through this pain and be stronger and happier because of it" helps too. Something about literally talking to yourself out loud - using your voice - hearing really helps.

jandy said...

hello! i'm a long time reader, first time commenter (i thiink?!!) I love your blog, but i couldn't pass this post with out commenting - i'm too going through a break up (a 15 year marriage though :( ) thank you so much for this.
much love and happiness to you xx

Annica Benning said...

I do #24 whenever I am feeling icky. Nothing a nice bubble bath can't cure!

HANNAH said...

I love lists like this! Number 14 gets my vote :D xx

Anonymous said...

This is epic!

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