When you just want to run away
By 9 am this morning I just wanted to pick up my phone and my purse and run away.
You know those days?
They usually come after a period of struggle… holding it together, head down, plodding along… then something small tips you over the edge.
This morning my son missed his train to school by seconds. It was in the station as I dropped him off but pulled away just as he reached the platform. There’s another one 15 minutes later which just means he has to walk quicker the other end but he can still make it to school on time, so I left him to it.
When I got home I discovered that he’d sent me a text telling me that the second train had been cancelled, and the one after that – I hadn’t heard the text because the radio was on in the car.
So I had to turn around, drive back to the station, pick him up and drive him to school. I think he was probably late.
And that, my friends, was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
I got home (the second time) and burst into tears.
It’s on days like these that you feel like NOTHING is going right or will ever go right again. EVERYTHING feels like a battle. There are OBSTACLES in your way everywhere you turn.
And frankly, life sucks.
The more you think about how crap life is, the more evidence you can find to back that up.
But it works the other way round too.
I have good friends who have far, FAR greater problems to deal with than me. But just because my problems might be significantly less serious than someone else’s doesn’t mean that my feelings about them should be discounted. I’m all for positive thinking, but just telling yourself to stop whining because it could be worse is counterproductive.
My problems affect me. End of. The same goes for you.
It’s not a competition to see who’s got it worst.
I think it’s important to acknowledge how you feel, lean into it, feel it all, have a good cry and scream if you need to… then shift your attention.
Problems are never solved by focussing on how bad things are.
Problems are solved by focussing on the good stuff and building from there.
I know that if I’m in that “run away from everything” frame of mind the first thing I need to do is go for a long, brisk walk and stomp it out. The rhythmic nature of walking helps to calm the mind, and if you go at a pace quick enough to raise your heartbeat and get a bit of a sweat on, you benefit from feelgood endorphins buzzing around your system as well.
A few kilometres and a few thousand steps later, sweaty and with coffee in hand, I ignored the nagging laptop and opened my journal instead.
I wrote about everything I appreciate today and recalled the best bits of yesterday… all the things that make me feel good. I gradually became a lot less pissed off with the world. I came up with several new ideas for what I could do next. And I felt a lot better for it.
Have my problems disappeared? Of course not.
But my equilibrium has been restored because I took a bit of time out to focus on the good stuff… which always helps to kickstart the creative process.
Identifying some steps to take towards possible solutions means you’re back moving forwards and if you’re moving, it’s hard to stay bogged down in all your problems.
I don’t think I’ll run away today after all. Maybe next week. 😉