I confess I spent almost the whole day (definitely more than half) lying on the couch watching TV. I love the BBC stuff (think Downton Abbey). I even ate Haagen Dazs!
Today I just did not have any mojo. No juice. I kept thinking “I will go out for a walk,” but just could not get off the couch. (It doesn’t help that many nights I stay up late working and the next day I am not really rested. At 25 I could do that; at 64 a lot less.) Anyway, I had zero gas in my tank. So I just had to give myself a day off. I have learned that when I am in that state there is not much I can do but just give in to it.
Anyway, I was lying on the couch feeling really guilty that I was not being productive at all. I was totally being a vegetable—no forward movement. It was kind of like hibernating. I was really getting down in the dumps. Then my thinking started to spiral down. I started to get really concerned that I was going down into a black hole. I got scared of my feelings, and it felt like I was going downhill fast.
Then I started to remember not to take my “bad” feelings too seriously. Hey, seriously, I am the person who writes about how to handle this stuff! I started to think, “So what if I am having a bad day?” That worry about feeling depressed started to go away. “Oh no, I am really going down a black hole!” started to turn into, “Wow, Jewel, you are just having a down day. So what? Enjoy your Haagen Dazs!”
When we are in that negative place, we feel like we will never be productive again. We might say to ourselves, “Wow, it’s true. I am a loser. I’ll never get my focus or energy back. Everyone will find out I am a phony because I’ve spent the day in bed. My life is coming to a grinding halt.”
We all have bad days. That’s human. The important thing is not to get derailed by it. When you can really give yourself the day off—and some rest, self-care and sleep—more often than not you find that you’re back on track the next day. I find that for myself. You don’t have to get upset and worked up by it. You don’t have to take your negative thoughts about your bad day so seriously that they make it worse. You don’t have to feel bad about feeling bad. You can just let yourself have it.
The truth is some days you feel like you’re on fire, and some days you feel like you can’t get out of your pajamas. Sometimes it’s even the same day! That’s the way it is, and fighting it is more likely to make you miserable than to change anything. Beating yourself up about it just locks in that bad feeling. Allowing yourself to be in it and take care of yourself is often the only thing you need to come out of it.
This is a small difference in how we think, but it makes a huge difference in how we feel. I still felt down, but it just wasn’t a big deal. It didn’t mean anything. I wasn’t feeling bad about feeling bad. I understood that there was nothing really wrong with me, whereas before I had been thinking, “Oh no, I am getting depressed!” I was becoming depressed about being depressed! I was taking my depressing thoughts seriously. That little/big change in my thinking made all the difference. I stopped being afraid of my thinking. I stopped being afraid of my feelings. I stopped taking them so seriously. I was even able to enjoy my relaxing—sometimes I just love doing nothing.
If you have a day with no mojo, don’t feel bad or guilty about it. Just let yourself relax and recharge. Everyone is going to have bad days. But the less you beat yourself up about it, the quicker you’ll come out of it. Take it from someone who knows.
By Jewel Safren