Sometimes I find it hard to just be happy. There is probably a shed load of psychology behind this but to me it’s a little like my fight or flight response kicks in when there’s less to worry about and it’s a habit I am definitely working on changing.
I tell you this because it’s been, for many reasons, a tough year for me and I think a lot of you can relate to that. It has consisted of moving house, changing my dreams, working against my introvert nature because it generates a regular as clockwork payday. I have been unwell and am now living with a chronic condition which I try to manage the pain for and yes, I am still working on building my own business and raising my son and being a loving and emotionally available human to all those I love and many people I don’t.
If you find yourself in a position where you are feeling like you’re treading water and that maybe there’s not enough of you to go around I wanted to share that I feel your pain. I understand the type of bone tired this creates. It’s OK not to love your small business 100% of the time and it’s OK to need to prioritise something else too.
I love being my own boss but it has an abundance of necessary work that isn’t always easy to navigate or leave at the desk at the end of the day. It’s OK to cancel plans because you are drained of energy from being so on it or indeed being so out of sync that you feel like you’ve been unplugged from everything.
It’s OK to go through the motions for a little while as long as you take action that means you are not going to live in that mode for any significant amount of time.
People talk about self care like a bubble bath and glass of prosecco will fix everything but I suspect that you might need something a little more, a little deeper, just like I do at the moment.
If your small business is suffering or you’re worried that it’s going to then you should take a moment to really assess yourself because this suffering is preventable to some extent, if only you are brave enough to get honest with yourself (and I know you’re brave enough)
First there’s the number one priority you should have. Your health, mental and physical. You want to support your family and for your kids to grow into adults that value and take care of their health? Sunshine you have to lead by example.
Physical health. I have not been very good at this at all, so I will tell you now to hold myself accountable – From November 1st, I am changing my lifestyle when it comes to what goes in my body. Auto Immune issues plague my family and are significantly linked to the health problems I have. Whilst I eat healthily for the general population as someone whose health and genetics has auto immune issues – some of the ‘healthy’ food I love triggers a negative response from my body. It’s time I dealt with that.
You see, you are not the only person who lets their own health slide to better look after your loved ones. The problem is – this is not sustainable behaviour nor is it healthy for those that follow in our footsteps.
Mental health is a massive talking point across the world at the moment yet, even with life changing experiences and information bombarding me this year, I haven’t really paid attention to mine, I am very self aware with how I am feeling but so much of what I feel stays buried deep inside me so as to protect my loved ones and keep myself on an even keel that it has the effect of creating an emotionally constipated twerp.
I have restarted journalling everyday – effectively it’s just a stream of consciousness but it helps me feel less like an emotionally constipated twerp and that’s a good thing. Pay attention to your mental health, what thoughts are whirring away everyday, how consistently negative they may be. There is so much available out there to help you manage that and some can be totally anonymous. If it were a broken bone you’d seek help. Treat this the same and you will thank yourself in the long run I promise.
Understanding yourself and what you need. This may seem obvious but honestly, this is the biggest cause of ill health and long term unhappiness across the board in my opinion. Unless you really know yourself then you will get nowhere fast and will suffer for it. As per one of my previous posts, if you have a problem that can be solved with action, then you my friend don’t have a problem. Of course that’s a massive simplification but it’s also the basic truth.
For example, I am an introvert and I know this with every fibre of my being. When I am out in the world I can love every second but be utterly drained. You see, it’s not about how much I people, it’s not about whether I am vivacious or flamboyant or the life and soul of the party because I often feel all of those things. It’s about accepting that every time I interact outside my home I am using energy that does not spontaneously regenerate. My energy levels are not exponential, they are however rechargeable and this means that I need much more time in my safe space with my safe people and yes, alone, to replenish my energy.
For years and even now I have tried to change this aspect of myself so that I could be what others needed but it impacts me so greatly that at times I feel I have so little energy that I cease to exist at all. Even now I find myself doing exactly that on a daily basis and it is something I will be focusing on changing. It’s not about becoming a hermit, it’s about recognising what I need and allowing that into my everyday whenever and wherever possible.
Being OK with not being happy all the time. This is so hard to do but equally so important. We have so much bombarding us all the time in advertising, on social media, in our real lives about the value of happiness and I applaud the sentiment. Strive for happy they say and you will live an amazing life.
But sometimes, through no fault of yours or anyone elses, sometimes you just don’t feel happy and that makes you feel like the ultimate failure. I know this because I am right there with you. There’s not necessarily a reason but in my case I am just bloody knackered on every level from a tough year – it’s normal to feel this way and whilst my only advice is to make a conscious choice to ride the waves as they come but do not live in them, it does feel awful to have so much awesome in my life and feel underwhelmed with myself all at the same time.
I think sometimes it’s OK to just feel a bit ropy, in fact, I would go so far as to say we need to feel ropy from time to time, it’s nature telling us something, slow down, go faster, move on, step back, look after yourself, be kinder to yourself, reach out etc.
We have all focused on happy being the ultimate holy grail that we have lost sight that it’s a progressive, changeable, roller-coaster of a journey not a linear pathway to an exact destination. If our expectations do not reflect the reality then we need to give ourselves some space to be OK with not being happy for a little while. Ironically, it’s how we will be able to become noticeably happier with things.
There are no links to a downloadable PDF, no training attached. I just wanted to share as honestly as I felt comfortable with that we all experience variations on this thing called unhappy and they can affect our personal and our business lives. I also wanted to share that it’s really OK. Today may not be your day but who knows whether the tide will turn tomorrow.
Take some actions that you can, and let go of the guilt for the ones you can’t. Life is too short to be anything other than who you are and some days that may mean a little less happy.
Regardless, you are capable.