The Mean Reds

Hey friends! I’m just going to start right off with this post, if that’s cool with you. It’s one of those days. You know, the mean reds (thank you, Audrey Hepburn/Holly Golightly for that phrase!). When you’re sad but you don’t really know what you’re sad about. Or, you do, but you don’t really want to acknowledge it. Maybe you’re sad because you’re starting the new school year and summer is over. Or, you’re healing a broken heart. Or, you didn’t get that job you applied for. Or, something just isn’t quite right and you can’t put your finger on what it is. Whatever it is, you’re sad and you don’t want to be. No one does. I don’t and I don’t want you to be, either.

Everyone experiences it in different ways. A pit in your stomach. Your heart hurts. You feel anxiety rising in your chest. You can’t seem to smile about anything. You just want to crawl under your desk and cry. You want to talk to someone, but you don’t want anyone to know what you’re going through. Someone says something rude, and that makes you feel even worse. It sucks. I used to be the type of person who would try anything and everything possible to make that feeling go away as quickly as possible. I didn’t want to be sad, face what was making me sad, or even tell anyone. So, I tried to squash it by telling myself to stuff it down as far as possible and move on. But, you know what? That only made it worse. Much worse. A few days later, it would be an all-night crying fest and feeling way worse than I would have if I had just face it head-on. So, I learned from my experiences and now I know what helps me, and I thought I would share them. Maybe they’ll help you a little too.

First off, don’t ignore your sadness. Accept it and acknowledge it. I’ve done the whole “I’m going to Pinterest and finding every positive quote I can and that will help!” And maybe that does help for some. You’re human, and you experience human emotions and feelings. Ignoring them will not make them go away, it will only multiply them.

I used to try to figure out WHY I was so sad. I kept trying to pinpoint the reason—I felt like I couldn’t move on with my life if I didn’t. Is it because of this, or what this person said, or because I did this, or they did that? What is wrong with me? Which would inevitably turn into a lot of negative self-talk, because if I couldn’t find the cause, then I would feel inadequate. Sometimes we’re just sad. That’s OK. We need to give ourselves permission to feel how we feel. What you do with those feelings is up to you—take them out on someone else, internalize them or talk about them with someone you trust in a healthy way. That’s where our power does come into play—you have the control in how you respond to those feelings. Just try to let go of trying to over-analyze it all.

Learn some self-care techniques. For me, I sometimes need time alone with some candles, my favorite movie, and my journal. Sometimes I need a dinner date with a friend or family member, or to workout. Take a walk, sit in nature, meditate, pray, take a long bath, paint your nails, give yourself a facial, talk to someone (talk yourself through something!), anything that makes you feel good inside. One thing to remember: talk to yourself as if you were talking to your best friend. If you told your best friend “you’re not good enough. What’s wrong with you?” chances are, they wouldn’t be your best friend anymore.

Listen to your favorite song, on repeat and dance! If you’re feeling really down, ask someone to bring your dinner and ask them to sit with you and talk while you eat.

Make a list of things that make you smile, kind things someone has done for you, happy memories, things you’re looking forward to in the coming weeks.

Practice gratitude. Make a list of five things you are grateful for that day and why. Be specific.

One of my favorite things to do: throwing a soft blanket in the dryer (not washing it) and wrapping myself in it immediately after taking it out. It’s literally one of the best feelings—it’s like a warm hug.

Pray/meditate. Simply praying about how you’re feeling and asking for healing and comfort is one of my go-to’s. It’s easy to forget to do that when you’re feeling crappy, because (for some reason) it’s easier to feel crappy than to try to change it. But, trust me, praying and meditating definitely helps!

If you’re sad because of something someone did/said to you, tell them. Ask for an apology and tell them how it made you feel. I know it’s easier said than done, but it can bring you closure and healing a lot faster than either trying to pretend it didn’t happen, or to stuff it down.
If you’re feeling anxious, you may have pent-up energy. Go outside, take a walk, ride a bike, play basketball, go for a run, swim. That will also give you the positive endorphins that will help with your mood.

Be kind to yourself. Tell yourself that it’s OK to feel how you feel. Breathe. Breathe in for seven counts, hold for eight, and slowly breathe out for seven. Repeat four times. Drink water (not alcohol). We all get sad from time to time, but try to remind yourself that it will get better. I promise! One bad day doesn’t equal a bad life. You have so much to live for, so much to offer this world. Every single person experiences sadness and loneliness—you, me, Oprah, everyone. You’re not alone. If you’re feeling like you can’t go on, or are thinking of harming yourself, please reach out to a friend, family member, or call this number immediately: 1-800-273-8255. You matter. Your life matters. Remember, we’re all in this together!

If you have any other ideas of how to cheer yourself up, shoot me a message and let’s chat!