Tips for survival when you’re not sure . . . about anything.
For the last 3 years I’ve been on a search.
Actually, it’s been more like a hunt.
A wild goose chase.
To find myself.
And to find meaningful work.
To get my mojo back.
After my most recent business venture went way wrong, I set off on a new course.
To figure out what I wanted to do with my life.
To figure out why so many of my partnerships had gone bad.
To learn how to stop facilitating everyone else’s dreams and start creating my own.
Theoretically this adventure into the unknown could be exciting. Even thrilling.
But for someone who has known who she wanted to be since the age of 6, this level uncertainty was really uncomfortable, to say the least.
In fact, this whole process of searching and finding purpose is decidedly unglamorous.
I’ve battled depression.
Countless health-related concerns.
Severe levels of stress.
Rough relationship patches.
Lack of passion.
Sounds horrific when I write it out like that.
And it was.
‘Cause it’s still going on.
I haven’t overcome any of the issues above.
In fact, they touch my life at least once per day, in some way, shape or form.
It would seem that with a laundry list like that – I wouldn’t be able to function.
And sometimes, I don’t.
But more often than not, lately, I’m able to pull myself out of the funk. And into the world.
Here are a few of my tips for survival.
When you’re just not sure (about anything).
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned through all of this is that I can’t do it on my own. And I don’t have to. It’s not shameful to ask for help or to connect with others. Believe me, the people in your life who adore you will gladly offer their presence, support and love. Also know that sometimes it’s not your significant other, family members or best friends who make the best source of support. They can often be too close to you. I’ve found an incredibly supportive sister-hood of amazing women entrepreneurs who I know I can call on and count on for ANYTHING. That alone has made such a difference.
2. GO OUT.
Whenever I notice that I’m in a period of self-imposed isolation, the only thing that pulls me out is to get out of the house. Even if all I can do is sit on my front porch and watch cars go by. Or sit in the coffee shop and people watch. Getting outside is my ultimate panacea for those times when I can barely get outta bed. It helps me gain perspective. It opens up my five senses to the world. It reminds me that I am indeed lucky. To be alive. To be here. To be me.
It might not seem like a possibility or even like something you want to do – but indulging your senses in something beautiful is my favorite way to pull myself out of the abyss. Indulging for me can border on pacification. So I encourage you to do things that are simple, ideally that take little money and that allow you to have a sensory experience.
For me? I love to watch Tom Ford’s A Single Man. Have a chai latte from Intelligentsia. Read the latest issue of Anthology Magazine. Go to the ocean and take photos of the waves. Get my nails done. Put on a fancy-schmancy outfit and go to Whole Foods. Trust me, it works.
As much as going outside and smelling the roses (metaphorically or literally) is good for the soul, retreating is also key. Since isolating myself inside too much is often an issue for me, I have to be careful with this one. But it’s still a necessity. I like to retreat inside my home. Inside my own body + mind. There are so many ways to do this (and it’s all highly individual). Personally, I adore candle lit baths with essential oils and sea salt. Slow-cooking comfort meals like gluten-free pasta with homemade Bolognese sauce. Cleaning the house (oddly therapeutic). Writing with no agenda. Reading one of the dozen books sitting by my nightstand. Listening to Spotify while dancing ’round the house. Connecting with yourself is just as important as connecting with the outside world.
Sometimes I wonder if all of my angst doesn’t stem from a lack of creating. I’ve read that creative folks tend to suffer from a lot of ailments – both physical and mental, as a result of stifled creativity (among other things). I think there’s something to this idea. So whenever I’m feeling down and out, I like to create something. Anything. It could be a blog post. A poem. A photograph. A series of photographs. A meal. A letter to a friend. Dance moves. iPhone videos. Flower arrangements. Origami. You name it. I pick up something and create. Giving birth to something new gets me out of my head and into my body and my creative flow. Try it!
Here are some wise words, from a very wise man.
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
Though I’m nowhere near perfect, I have definitely learned a thing or two in my life about weathering the storm.
I’m still a messy, work-in-progress. I’ve got gnarly edges, dark places and lots of uncertainty. But I’m happy. Today, I’m happy.
And I’m grateful. For you. For being here and reading this. And for all the teachers who have been placed on my path so far.
What are your survival tips? Can you relate to feeling like you’re not sure of anything?
If you’re game, drop me a comment below. I’d love to hear your story and your tips.
P.S. I had to leave you with a little moving image inspiration. This one never fails to “pick me up”. 😉