If you follow me on Instagram @jenlarun or read my blog post We Are The Crazy Ones a couple weeks ago, you know I get crazy excited talking about dreams and making sh!t happen. Add in a couple (ok 5) cups of coffee and some good running endorphins and you can’t shut me up. (Sorry not sorry) 😉
But about a week ago I hit a low.
Ok that’s an understatement.
It was more like I plummeted to the darkest depths of the universe for about 48 hours. I didn’t know what hit me. I couldn’t stand ANYONE, and if you know me, you know that’s weird because I love everyone! Seriously, EVERYONE. Ok, maybe there are a couple people…
This funk shook me hard.
After my dad died, I started seeing a therapist, and pretty early on she said “I can tell this about you already – when there’s a problem, you put your head down and power through it. Am I right?”
Uhhh... She wasn’t wrong.
When she said that, a lightbulb went off, and I realized that maybe this was a less than ideal way to handle tough times.
So when the funk hit last week, I acknowledged this tendency of mine and put the brakes on. I made food for my kid and told my husband I was going to bed before I inflicted emotional harm on the people I love. I crawled under the covers and stayed there all day. ALL.
FLIPPING. DAY. And though I still wasn’t 100% the next morning, I was able to get up and do the basics.
And honestly, that was good enough.
Days like this are what I like to call “survival mode” days, or “one foot in front of the other” days. Because when life becomes too much, sometimes all we can muster is the strength to put one foot in front of the other.
And that’s ok! That’s part of growing.
Just like in running, after a hard workout, our muscles need down time in order to process what they’ve gone through and grow stronger as a result.
Take those recovery days and know that they’re not wasted days – exactly the opposite, they’re necessary! They’re serving our higher needs, our growth. They’re allowing our body and soul to process and grow stronger and more focused. Once we’ve recharged, THEN we can come back and kick some booty. So the next time you’re feeling beat up and deflated, instead of holding yourself to the same expectations you have every other day of your life, give survival mode a try -
Do only the things that are 100% necessary to your survival and the survival of those who depend on you.
And then rest.
Because it’s ok to crawl back into bed. It’s ok to say no to social events. It’s ok if our kids miss soccer practice. It’s ok to throw a frozen pizza in the oven. It’s ok to skip that workout when we’re barely hanging on.
There’s no reason to push ourselves to the point of exhaustion and resentment. All these responsibilities we put on ourselves are just that – things we expect of ourselves. Most aren’t even remotely necessary to survival.
But you know what is? Our health. Our happiness. Our ability to love. Because as the saying goes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”
So rest. And know that it’s ok to not be ok.
I want to share something personal - About ten years ago, I was going through one of the most gut-wrenching experiences of my life. It lasted about a year, but at one point during the worst of it, I received priceless advice. My boys were little, and I was hanging on by a thread. Out of nowhere, a beautiful friend called to say hello.
I erupted. Everything came out. The tears, the fears, everything. And then I took a deep breath, wiped my tears away and said, “I have to keep it together for my kids.”
And then my friend gave me one of the most precious gifts I’ve ever received. She gave me permission. She said, “Keep them safe and fed, Jen. And let everything else go.” Mic drop. So, the next time life becomes too much, consider this your permission slip for a fieldtrip to “Survival Mode Land.” It’s a beautiful place to stop and recharge on this exhausting, exhilarating journey to our dreams.
And while we’re hanging out in Survival Mode Land, let’s treat ourselves the way we would treat the person we love most in the world.
Because we’re worth that kind of love. Xx Jen