In this current season of “what next” and transition, I have repeatedly found myself in what you could call a funk. A bad lingering funk that has become a repeat visitor from time to time. In speaking with a close friend, they, too, acknowledged a similar experience and that some of their friends were also going through it as well. Much of it can be tied to a lot of the uncertainty that we are feeling and experiencing.
After finishing and completing a goal you have spent so much time and energy on for months or even years, it can feel great. You may even feel on cloud nine. There is the initial rush of excitement and pride.
Or maybe it didn’t wrap up as neatly and tightly as expected. Sure, the outcome may have been the same, but the flood of what if’s, disappointment, and the feelings of but I ‘should’ be happy may come riding in.
Thoughts of — ‘ I should be happy’, or ‘I should be proud or grateful’. These thoughts can lead to feelings of guilt.
Or maybe everything went our way and we begin to think I can’t wait to go again, reach for that next level or step. Even then, once you’ve reached that next level the question can still come-’what next’ or ‘what now?’ This can lead to feeling stuck.
Nick Fowler, CrossFit Athlete, described it best in a recent post after the 2018 Crossfit games.
“There is a mourning process that will occur after the passing of a lifetime goal. Something you have devoted soul focus to has come and gone and win or lose what’s left is a vacuum of purpose.”
Coping through this can be a challenge. Things that often comfort us or get us back up and going can feel not so useful or as comforting some days. Feelings of jealousy, competitiveness, and envy can all occur and pop up during these times. Most likely when you least expect them too. You may even feel confused and wish you didn’t have such feelings or that you could feel ‘normal’. But guess what? Those are natural feelings and you are normal. You are human.
Fowler also wrote, “This is normal. This is temporary. Embrace it, don’t fight it, realize that you need to mourn this loss. Take your time to fill this void, be patient, and give yourself permission to feel sorry for yourself, celebrate, rejoice and everything in between. Spend some time redefining your “why” and let that be the beacon of your future success.”
It is important during these times to not give up. It is important to keep fighting. Act and do even when it is extremely hard. Also, a very important part of this sort of grieving process is acknowledging the bad and negative feelings that come up. The more they are ignored or stuffed away and not released, it will only cause deep-rooted frustration and will being to manifest themselves in not so positive ways and can lead one to remain stuck.
So how does one attempt to deal with it all?
“You must disrupt your normal patterns so that you can see the world with new eyes.”-Carrie Bloomston
- Remove expectations. No need to place extremely heavy and often unrealistic expectations on yourself. The process-grieving, healing and letting go-does not need to be perfect. And it won’t be perfect. Be patient and provide yourself with the same level of compassion you would offer to a friend experiencing difficulty.
- Seek out others. Share and talk with others. You may even find that they too are going through a similar experience.
- Pay attention. Pay attention to your thoughts and how you are responding. Are you quick to anger? Do you shut down? Again, let the thoughts come and go and acknowledge them. But also release them. Through meditation, writing, getting active, and sharing with others you trust, are some helpful ways to help in this process.
- Get creative. Get creative in your approach to coping. Try something different and shake things up. Including your thoughts. Try reframing situations and thoughts into something positive. Struggling to see positive things or stuck with a running ticker of negative thoughts? Stop, take a deep breath and then think of or write down three things that you’re grateful for or positive things that have happened in your day or week.
Attack your health and well-being like you did your goals-with determination and persistence.
Want to know how to get started? Here are a few examples of some helpful resources that can help-from meditation, productivity to seeking a qualified health professional or therapist.
For general information on mental health and to locate treatment services in your area, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline at 1–800–662-HELP (4357). SAMHSA also has a Behavioral Health Treatment Locator on its website that can be searched by location.
If you are in crisis, and need immediate support or intervention, call, or go the website of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1–800–273–8255). Trained crisis workers are available to talk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your confidential and toll-free call goes to the nearest crisis center in the Lifeline national network. These centers provide crisis counseling and mental health referrals. If the situation is potentially life-threatening, call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room.
Follow me @drgrayhealth and at www.drgrayhealth.com