Yesterday was a SAD day. I could have cried all day. In fact, I could have stayed in my pajamas, laid on the couch, slept, and cried the day away (I didn't, but I could have). I was overcome with sadness.
Why you may ask?
This is where it gets tricky; it came literally out of nowhere. See, the why is not always known. Over the past decade, since cancer, I've worked on the underlying issues causing sadness, minimizing and eliminating it as much as possible.
Thankfully, on days like yesterday, I can now look into it differently. I've learned how to move through the day in such a way that it doesn't knock me down, and I can bounce back quickly (generally within 12-24 hours).
Reflecting as I write this post today, I see how many times pre-cancer, before I started doing the work, that sadness took me down a winding road of darkness, tears, wanting to give up on everything, and feeling like no one had my back.
I remember days in my office doing my best to hold back tears through calls.
Worse, I recall the handful of times in business that there were signs, yet no one noticed (lots more to come on this topic in future posts. We have much work to do as a society to learn about the signs and help support our teams who are experiencing emotional moments.)
Now, I am not big on labels; I try to keep labels off myself. It's far easier to separate and heal when you keep yourself separate from the emotion you are feeling. But yesterday, I would have told you I was feeling very sad and borderline depressive state. Although never officially diagnosed, as someone who has experienced depression and suicidal ideations for a brief time after cancer, I’ve taken the time to learn about things associated with how and why it presents and how to minimize the potential for recurrence.
Before I go any further, if you or someone you know is contemplating suicide or is having suicidal ideations, get support, you do not need to keep feeling what you are feeling. The National Suicide and Crisis line is 988.
The fact is, for years, I didn't know how to get out of the endless feeling of darkness on those days. I thought it was never going to end. Because I didn't yet have the knowledge, it often spiraled into multiple days, and I created even more pain around it in other areas of life.
My way of healing was all-natural, not through medications. It is some people's right answer, but it wasn't my right answer. When I started this journey, I dove into learning about the brain, neurology, physiology, emotions, and energy. I did everything possible to get my hands on more materials to teach me how to build inner confidence, heal emotionally and offset when emotions showed up.
Fact is, we are all emotional beings. Emotions are normal; it's what we do with them that matters!
I knew I wanted to learn and heal and strengthen from the inside. Through the years, I’ve put several strategies in place that I still use to this day when sadness shows up.
Look at anything in the past 24 hours that could have led to the emotional moment. Be sure to include:
Who were you with
What you ate (yes, some foods can impact people emotionally)
Where you were
What you did
What were you thinking about
Start watching for patterns from the things above. If you notice patterns dig into them to determine what you can change, each of these can vary. For example, if you notice every day before your menstrual cycle is a strongly depressive day, it may be tied to hormones. This would be a time to check with your Naturopath or another practitioner. If a person is involved, I strongly encourage you not to place blame on them; instead, ask yourself, what is it that is triggering you from your interactions with them? When people trigger us, it can often be tied to unresolved past emotional traumas.
If you can, step outside of the situation and look in. It can be easier to see what is going on. Take notes to look back to when you are in a more balanced state. Some things to include:
When it started (time of day). Or did you wake up with it?
Define the emotions you are feeling.
Any physical symptoms?
Know who to steer clear of on days that you are emotionally heightened if you can.
f you are not yet in the place of being able to manage emotions, try to adjust your workday.
Remind yourself about the facts. For example, I have no thyroid (post cancer), which has amplified hormone imbalances at times, and when my sad days come, it generally is around my menstrual cycle. So when I have a day like yesterday, it sounds something like this, “It’s just a day, feeling a bit bigger because your hormones are not balanced. What can you learn from today to help for next time?" I also ask myself, "What can you learn from today to help current and future clients?" Giving your brain a job to do can keep you from building on the state you are in.
Remind yourself that it is just a day and doesn’t define your life!
Have someone ready to talk to if you need it. I tend to go very internal these days; I always have. It is the right answer for me. I'll study ideas or solutions, new herbs or remedies, etc. When I talk about it or go external on my hardest days, it can actually amplify the feelings. There is a great quote by Jim Rohn (although it has been said by many in various ways), “What we focus on expands.” This is certainly true of me. When I focus on the sadness, yep, I get more sadness. When I focus on solutions and how to get out of it, I recover quickly and am even stronger the next time it shows up. I will sometimes share with my bestie when it's a hard day but not go into it, more so, just keeping her on standby in case I need it.
Show appreciation to yourself for how far you have come. For me, this is HUGE. I think back to the decades of hidden tears and sadness. Yet, a day like yesterday was miles ahead of where I was 10-15-20 years ago. So much gratitude for the inner knowledge, strength, and work I have done.
What is your "Danger Zone(s)" to avoid on your hard days? For example, for me, this is not a day to make big decisions or have major conversations. In fact, I will avoid certain conversations until the next day when I can come at things from a more emotionally stable place. On days when we are emotionally unsettled, we can intensify other situations or emotions.
Ladies – track your cycle. I am admittedly HORRIBLE at this; in fact, my holistic practitioner just challenged me on it again when I shared my day yesterday, trying to pinpoint hormonally what is off that is impacting the emotions is helpful. The first day and last day of your cycle is critical.
Herbal remedies, minerals, essential oils, and supplements. These can be a natural way to keep out of the abyss of darkness. I can tell you on a day like yesterday, I took six times the regular dose of magnesium, two times my standard B vitamins, Arnica (for the head pressure I was feeling), and essential oils (Melissa, Peace, and Helichrysum). Minerally, when we are off, it can impact us emotionally. In fact, according to the National Library of Medicine, "Few people are aware of the connection between nutrition and depression while they easily understand the connection between nutritional deficiencies and physical illness." I eat very clean and healthy yet can still lack the minerals my body needs at times. It can be even more prevalent and severe for someone who doesn't eat as clean and healthy. As always, check with your Naturopath, holistic, or western medicine practitioner for nutritional direction. I also recommend my clients learn how to muscle test themselves to see what their body needs.
Keep an accomplishment, acknowledgment, Affirmation and/or self-appreciation journal. When you are having an emotionally escalated day, please read it, then re-read it, then re-read it again, as many times as you need to keep yourself steady.
Again, remember, it’s just a day. Be kind to yourself and take small steps to build strength in your knowledge and future so you too can minimize future episodes.
Stay well friends!
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