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For the Gray Days

My days have lately had a very different look than they ever have before, and honestly a different look from a lot of people I know. I’m working part-time from home, while my husband works full time. I’m six months pregnant, so I’m less mobile and I move more slowly than I have before. I’m new-ish in town, so most of the people I know best live in another state. The people I know here mostly work full time.

I don’t have a particularly hard life. Morning sickness is down to 10% of what it used to be, and I’m greatly savoring a lot of time to myself. However, between the growing stretch marks, hormones, and being alone so much, I have bad days too. We all do, don’t we? So I wanted to share some strategies I’ve developed to help myself get through the long afternoons and hours when I can’t seem to cheer up.

Explore it.

  1. Take time to reflect. Sometimes, we feel down for one (or many) specific reasons. Understanding why you’re discouraged can really help change your mood.
  2. Call a close friend. If you can’t understand your own emotions, try talking to somebody who might. Even if you just start out talking about your day, explaining that you feel discouraged or hearing the right questions can often unearth what’s really wrong.
  3. Art it out. If you’re a writer, start writing - anything will do. Feelings and motivations tend to bubble to the surface. If you’re an artist, start drawing. Start cooking, or decorating, or doodling, or dancing. Sometimes your subconscious just needs a chance to be heard.
Fight It

  1. Take a walk. Walking is a great form of mild exercise. Listen to upbeat music, or pay attention to your surroundings. Both methods provide good mental stimulation, and can boost your mood.
  2. Exercise harder. A really good, sweat-inducing workout can be a perfect fix for a bad day. You’ll release those powerful endorphins, feel accomplished, and most likely find some new perspective on the problems.
  3. Something new. Give away old clothes; practice photography; plan a girls’ night; make a new recipe. Overcoming the intimidation of trying something is a great way to amp up our motivation a bit.
Ignore It 

  1. Watch a movie. It’s not always a good solution, but if it’s just been a rainy day, or you’re brooding unnecessarily, a movie or TV show can be perfectly distracting.
  2. Take a nap. Laying down and closing your eyes are great solutions whether they help you sleep it off, or if they suddenly help bring your struggles into focus. Either way, you could probably both use the rest.
  3. Eat. If you haven’t eaten much or well that day, take some time to put good things into your body. Orient your meal or snack around protein, and either fats or carbs. Protein will act as a long-term energy, while fats or carbs will give you a more immediate source of fuel. (It is best to not eat these fuel sources together.)
Remember to choose carefully how you react to hard days. Sometimes, they truly need and deserve your attention. It is absolutely ok to grieve, to recognize that you’re suffering. Sometimes however, we need to respond actively to our disappointments, confusing emotions, or discouragements. Don’t ignore something that needs to be thought through carefully, and don’t overthink something that doesn’t deserve as much attention as you may be giving it.

I’ve been reacting a lot lately - whether to finding new stretch marks, or to difficult conversations. Honestly the stretch marks didn’t deserve all the tears I shed on them. I need to focus on health and fitness, not how my pregnancy is scarring my body (the scars will fade). But with regards to the difficult conversation, I needed to really think through how it could have gone better. After talking about it with my husband, I’ve come up with a strategy to help that kind of conversation go a different direction the next time.

Above all else Loves, we all make mistakes. Don’t hold it against yourself if you overreact or underreact to something troubling in your life. Learn, forgive, and move on. You’re brave and beautiful just for trying to understand how to be as a human and a woman; and we care about each of you.

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