How to get through the inevitable low moments in life

“...Although I felt extremely low at that moment, I had the experience and capability to bring back my peace and motivation.”
(Photos sourced from: UnSplash)
“...Although I felt extremely low at that moment, I had the experience and capability to bring back my peace and motivation.” (Photos sourced from: UnSplash)

I’ve been on a sort of high the past several months. For the first time in a while, everything seemed to be going my way. In my last year of college, I finally found my people. I finally established a routine that balanced work, school and life. I got eight hours of sleep most nights, woke up early to go to the gym and even managed to stay ahead of all of my school work and extracurriculars. My confidence was higher than ever, my relationship with my family was stronger, and I felt like I had finally stepped into who I was meant to be.

There was even one night where I laid in bed and began to cry because I was so proud of myself while reflecting on how far I had come. Since freshman year, I had struggled to find new friends who I felt fully myself around. I suffered from depression and anxiety that was debilitating and kept me from “making the most” of my college experience. So when I laid in bed crying from how happy I was, it felt surreal.

Honestly, I felt untouchable. I felt like I finally had perfected the recipe to living a happy, successful and fulfilling life. I knew what I had to do, and I felt capable of doing it. Logically, I knew I would face hardships again, but at the time I felt that I could really get through anything that came my way. I went to therapy to “check in” and address the little annoyances of life, but it felt as though there was nothing that could push me back into that dark place I had worked so hard to get myself out of.

The funny thing about life is that it will always surprise you. And right now, I’m not talking about good surprises, although, of course, those exist too. Because this weekend, I had a conversation that completely threw me for a loop. I felt like all the hard work I had done to get to this peaceful place in my life came crashing down around me. I cried out of sadness and stress for the first time in months. I felt completely incapable of getting any work done, fueling the anxiety of letting down the people who are relying on me or who I want to make proud. All I wanted to do was lay in bed, order my favorite food and binge watch a series on Netflix… And that is exactly what I did.

Here’s the thing: although I was feeling hurt, unmotivated and depressed, I knew the best thing I could do was to let myself feel those emotions instead of forcing productivity. They don’t tell you this, but productivity sometimes looks like indulging in the rest that your mind and body is desperately craving. The best thing I could do to re-establish a sense of peace was to healthily comfort myself. So over a bowl of mac and cheese, I cried on facetime with my best friend while Netflix played on my laptop in the background. And that is exactly what I needed to calm down enough to remember that although I felt extremely low at that moment, I had the experience and capability to bring back my peace and motivation.

So when you’re feeling low, here are my tips for getting back to your best self:

  1. Honor your rest. Being sad, depressed or anxious is not only emotionally exhausting, but physically exhausting. There is not one instance that I regret choosing to rest over doing an assignment. And the assignment always gets done and is often much better than it would be if I hadn’t put myself first.
  2. Don’t isolate yourself from others. When things get tough, my first instinct is to push everyone away. But we need others. Call your best friend, your mom or anyone who you are comfortable with. Support and love will bring you back to yourself.
  3. Do something that you love. Whether that means cooking your favorite meal, going to your favorite coffee shop or putting off an assignment to read a book in the sun, do something that gives you a boost of serotonin. By doing the things that remind you that life is fun and worth living, you will be reminded that joy is more important than stress. 

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