5 Steps to Feeling Better


As you may or may not know, I'm currently living in Melbourne, Australia. Last year I was travelling Australia and working on a farm (!) to get a second year on the Working Holiday Visa. I've been calling Melbourne home since late October, and now in January, I'm still finding my feet and figuring things out.

Like anything, there is a process involved in moving, in setting up, in changing. There are ups, downs and lengthy list of learnings along the way. Since being here, I've been working a lot on challenging things. I've challenged my relationship with money; my fears, my ideas about security, my ideas around scarcity/abundance, consumption and consciousness. I've challenged my actions, identifying when love or fear was guiding and acting accordingly. I've challenged my limitations, my passions, the transformation of what matters most. I've been reading and engaging in new ideas, exploring different areas and getting inspired by new voices.

There have been growing pains and learning gains :)

And some days, I've felt entirely lost - crying my eyes out and whining in all sorts of irrational language. I've wondering what I am doing, what path am I on and is this really where I want to be at.

On these days, one of which I had just last week, I've found that these steps help. So I want to share them with you.

1. Acknowledge How You Feel

How do we change things? We gift them our awareness and acceptance. When I felt like shit, I had to stop and acknowledge it. I had to feel it. But also, not feed it - which can be tricky! The most important thing though, is to not numb or try to avoid them. They won't change by being silenced or buried beneath a cunning combination of self-sabotaging coping techniques. 

Feel them. Give yourself compassion for feeling how you feel. I literally would steer myself towards being able to say, Wow, I feel shit and I need to look after myself like I would a loved one who feels similarly shit. Not, shut up or cop on or you have no reason to feel like this. Compassionate acknowledgment. 

2. Tell Someone

A problem shared is a problem halved. Tell someone how you feel. The worst outcome for me when I feel shit is to let my mind take over and start being mean to myself. Speaking to someone stops the potential of that kicking in, actually enabling us to hear our woes and bring clarity and solutions to them. This can be two fold, which I found this week. I poured my heart out to my partner and gained support and understanding, but also spoke to my parents. I realised I didn't want to speak to them because I stubbornly did not want advice. Which when I'm being honest with myself is glaring information, that I could do with hearing what they had to say. If you're anything like me, pay attention to where your stubbornness is going!

The trouble with self awareness and the perspective I have now, is sometimes believing I (independently) 'know' how to solve things. I do know a lot, but outside perspectives bring rationale, call you out on your bullshit and offer solutions you might have been skipping over. When you speak, speak and listen honestly. Hear yourself and identify the truth. See it objectively. Don't attach to your knowledge, your beliefs about how right you are or how you know what to do. 

3. Let Yourself Be As You Are

Fighting the feelings just tires us out. They can take time to fully pass, even when we've begun to talk and work through them. Forget about 'knowing' and 'should's and reassure yourself that this too shall pass. This is transient, temporary and not yours to own. Be sad and let it go. Be angry and let it go. Be anxious and let it go. Breathe. And Be.

4. Do Something Different

The most powerful way to change how you feel is to do something different. Do the things you know are helpful. Even if you don't feel like it, even if it's the last thing in the world you want to do, do it. Be grateful, give yourself credit, take yourself out for coffee, dance, play your favourite song, watch something funny. Cheer yourself up! 

The power is within you to transform how you feel. And I know, it's challenging to actually get moving and do the things, but I also know they are exactly what we need when we're in these moods. Even though I felt anxious, clinging to the comfort of the house and on the verge of tears for f*ck knows why, I went for coffee in my favourite place where they play disco that makes my head bop and are always super friendly. I thought I'd go and 'sort things out' - you know, take myself on a care-work session, make some lists and intellectualise everything, somehow coming to the conclusions of what I could work on. When I got there, I talked to the guys that work there, I drank delicious coffee, enjoyed the music and worked on a poem. I did not need anymore answers or ideas or smart solutions! I felt infinitely better, very quickly.

Keep it simple. Just do the things that feel good. 

5. Remember For Next Time

Become a scientist of your experience. See what helps. These are just my ideas, that changed my mood but yours could be different. Try some of these and see what works for you. Try different things. Whatever gets you out of that funk is your remedy. Own it and remember it. Forgive yourself for the mean things you may have said or done and move on in the knowledge that next time you'll use the tools that your experience has equipped you with. 

Some days it'll be more challenging, you won't want to speak or do anything. Fight for your freedom from these feelings and make yourself do the helpful things anyway. 

These times will come and go, life will ebb and flow. What I want, is to minimise the time they take up in my life. As they come, I want to respond in ways that help me move through them. Not fighting, not dwelling, not avoiding.  Not digging in my heels or exacerbating them. Simply moving through, flowing in the transcience of these experiences.

What helps you to feel better? I'd love to know :)


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