I’m a pretty positive-minded person. I believe I am because of a combination of my DNA, my upbringing, and my commitment to focusing on happy habits (8 things happy people do differently). However, after going down the enneagram rabbit hole, I also see that I’m very strongly a type 7. Being a 7 certainly has its strengths (upbeat! playful! spontaneous! fun loving!), but there are clear shortcomings, too (like being scatterbrained and impulsive).
One of these shortcomings is the need to avoid emotional pain. This is something I honestly never really recognized about myself, but as I dug more into the enneagram, it was like reading an owner’s manual of ME.
I realized that I have very clear methods of avoiding emotional discomfort that I never noticed before. Some of these include trying to lighten the mood of a tense room with a joke or a change in topic, or keeping myself super busy so there is no time to feel discomfort. It’s not pretending that everything is fine; it’s a deeply engrained self-protection strategy and one that I don’t even realize I do.
In the spirit of “when we know better, we do better,” I’ve tried to give myself grace in this season of grief to use some coping techniques (distraction and filling my day is a personal favorite). However, I’ve also pushed myself for growth and encouraged myself to learn to just sit still and feel the anguish of losing someone that was so hugely important in my life. And you know what? That’s really freaking hard for me.
Still, I’m doing it. When the breakdown comes out of nowhere because a certain song comes on, I’ve stopped and just let the tears flow. It hurts. But I hope that the pain will lead to healing more than the easier road for me to take, which would be to find quick distraction.
Other things are helping me with this journey of self growth during a challenging time as well. Here are the four things helping me through tough times lately, in no particular order.
Writing. I process life through writing and that process takes many forms. I love writing in this space and while not every post is deeply personal, sharing life and feeling connected to you is an incredible gift to me. I also write daily in my One Line a Day Journal.
I started using this only two months back and it’s a great fit for me. While in my mind I’d love to keep pages and pages of my scribbled daily thoughts, my current daily routine doesn’t allow for that kind of expansive writing. However, a couple sentences a day is attainable and encourages me to stay consistent instead of stressing me out. Some entries are light and breezy about what we did that day, some are funny things the girls said or something sweet David did, and some are filled with such anguish I haven’t been able to go back and read them again yet. But still, I’m glad it’s all in there, recorded.
CBD. I’ve been using CBD products off and on for a long time now- maybe 1-2 years? (Read my full post on CBD) I tried many different brands but for the past 6 months I’ve been brand loyal to Joy Organics for the simple fact that I can actually feel a difference with their products. My favorite products are their CBD gummies (be aware, they have a sugar coating which makes them delicious, but not everyone might love that), their CBD soft gels, and their CBD bath bombs.
I usually take it late afternoon/evening on days when I just feel on edge, overly emotional, or stressed. I generally take 20 mg (2 soft gels or 2 gummies). Yes, I can feel a physical difference. There is obviously no high (there is no THC in the products), but it takes the edge off for me and makes me feel more peaceful and relaxed.
If you want to give them a try, you can use the code AHS15 for 15% off your order.
Laughing. Tiktok. Oh Tiktok. Is it a teen thing that I have no business being on? Maybe, but much like I’ve heard people mentally escape through funny animal videos on youtube during hard times, Tiktok has been my mental escape. I crack up at the cute animals, get the songs stuck in my head, and occasionally try to make one myself (why yes, I have tried to learn some of the dances). It’s silly and though I probably have wasted hours on the app at this point, it makes me laugh and I appreciate that.
Embracing slow. I know the world looks very different for everyone, but in our community, it’s still sign up time for many kid activities. However, at this point, I’m not sure we will sign up for any. Not because of fear, but because the forced slower pace of life has proven to be a good fit for us. Without rushing from activity to activity we’ve found time to just be. We’ve also played more board games, been OK with having the random later nights out on the water, and less pressure of deadlines.
The idea of piano lessons and soccer still float around in my head, but at time stage of the game we’re enjoying the chill pace of things, especially now that we’ve started our new school year for the girls.
I am aware of how hard this year has been for so many, so I’m curious- what helps you during tough times? Share with me in the comments!
I feel like I could add things like friends and family, a new flavor or tea, consistent workouts, a good homemade dinner, or a new candle to my list too, because those always make me smile!