I believe this is my second or third time doing the wellness roundup for each month. If you’re not familiar, every Wednesday for each month I write a wellness/wellbeing post that’s centered around self-development and motivation. I also focus on a specific topic for the month. I believe last month’s topic was Focus and for this month my topic was centered around Discomfort. I thought it would be a great idea to do a roundup post at the end of the month which entails me providing the highlights from the topics I wrote about each week for that particular month. Consider it a one stop shop if you will, for those who may have missed a Wednesday post, or if you need a refresher or a boost to help get you through. Honestly, I think another reason I came up with the idea is, I couldn’t think of anything to write about during the last Wednesday in one of the past months, so I decided to make this a trend. My goal is to try and improve on how I present it to you each month; I don’t want it to look like I just threw something together because I was too lazy to try.
The topic for March was Discomfort but I didn’t just talk about discomfort, I tried to write about topics that I knew caused us to feel discomfort at times. For example, I know a lot of us probably feel a level of discomfort when we are told No, there’s probably a level of discomfort when it comes to dealing with our feelings, and I’m sure there’s some discomfort with feelings of uncertainty as well. These are some of the areas I covered during the month of March and I provided tools and other methods that you can use to help you navigate through these. I’m sure you all know that incorporating new factors in your life to try and implement change is not always easy, it takes time and practice. Speaking for myself, a lot of what I share are methods that I use (or would like to use) to help me when I’m dealing with struggles. I often tell myself that I have to work on making these changes, especially since I blog about it and try to encourage my readers to do the same. I am not perfect. But please understand that I am also not sitting behind this computer telling you what to do to live your best life while not trying to do the same for myself. One of the major foundation piece behind selfcareatforty is to try and encourage us all to be a better version of ourselves as we get older.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO MANAGE FEELINGS OF DISCOMFORT My goal for this month was to try and encourage us to find the benefit in being uncomfortable and how we can grow and learn from it. In essence, I want us to get comfortable with being uncomfortable which I’ve mentioned several times in the past on the blog. This may seem like an odd area of focus but I think it’s necessary because discomfort shows up in so many areas of our lives (sadness, worry, anger, fear, uncertainty, melancholy, etc) and we tend to run from it because we don’t like the way it makes us feel. Even though those feelings can be very uncomfortable, they are all normal forms of human emotions that allow us to explore different parts of ourselves by identify what factors in our lives elicit those feelings. So how can you start to manage these feelings?
- Practice Mindfulness; it builds a container to help you harness those feelings of discomfort.
- Sit With Whatever You’re Feeling; literally, sit with the feeling of unease because it’s not normal for us to always be happy all the time; we are human.
- Sometimes There Are No Lessons; I use to always feel that discomfort comes with a lesson, and I assumed that’s the reason why we feel it. But sometimes feelings just are, and we have to accept.
THE BENEFITS OF THESE TWO UNCOMMON ADVICE The second week in March I decided to write about uncertainty. Because uncertainty can show up in all categories but I think the most prominent is feeling uncertain about our future; at least for me it is. It almost feels like worry, because I question whether I’m doing enough to sustain a healthy lifestyle in the future. I’m using the term “healthy” in the general sense because I’m not just referring to my physical health. It includes my finances, my physical health (of course), retirement, my mental wellbeing, and a host of other things. We can address uncertainty by:
- Looking At The Steps We Are Taking Now In Life; because it has an impact on our future. The most common example which I’m pretty sure some of us are already planning a head for….retirement. Besides your pension or 401k what methods are you using to secure your future self? Your kids? What about your diet and your activity level, what do they look like? because that will potentially have a significant impact on your overall health which of course you know includes medical bills and the cost of medication. This advice is not exclusive to our health and our retirement, it also relates to the person you’ll be 5, 10, 15 years from now, and we have to ask ourselves what are we doing now to emotionally sustain ourselves for the future. What lifestyle are we consistently exposed to? How often (if ever) do we read or listen to an e-book or an informative podcast? I’m sure you get my point.
- Unplan To Fail; it would be overzealous to try and figure things out in one day if you don’t already have a plan set in place. But what do I always say? Start small. I was having a conversation with an old coworker who told me that she broke her goals down in the following steps (you should try it):
WHY DO PEOPLE SAY NO When we’re told no we assume that it’s set in place to hurt us, or that it means something is wrong with us. Think about it, how often have you thought about someone’s personal reasons behind saying no? Have you ever thought it was for their own good? Or that they said no because it’s not a good time for them at that moment? Or have you ever thought that saying no is just a no, and there’s no other reason or explanation needed? Despite any of this, hearing no is sometimes a hard pill to swallow because it may stir up some very uncomfortable feelings for a lot of people, it may even be triggering for some. But at the same time, we have to remember that these feelings can sometimes affect the person who said no. As difficult as it is for us to hear the word no, sometimes it’s just as difficult for the person who have to say it. In fact, saying it may be harder than hearing it. No matter what the benefits are, the word no can be lethal, even the sound of the word is unpleasant. No in all forms is a challenge. The three concepts I came up with to help us be more accepting of the word no are:
- No Benefits All Parties; so often we assume that everything that happens to us personally is all about us. But we are forgetting that just like us, everyone is also trying to navigate this thing called life. You are likely being told no because it’s what’s best for the person right now. And if it’s not going to work for them, how will it benefit you?
- The Word No Is A Healthy Boundary; similar to the above, you’re likely being told no because the person is trying to set a healthy boundary for themselves; in order to cater to their emotional self-care and we have to respect that. Another tip would be to think about the many reasons why you say no to someone’s request, and apply those same reasons to the person who said no to you. No is not usually personal so we shouldn’t always assume that it is.
- No May Sometimes Mean “Not Now”; just because it didn’t work out for you this time, doesn’t mean there aren’t other opportunities available to you, and it doesn’t mean things won’t work out for you in the future. Also, just because it didn’t work out with that particular person doesn’t mean it won’t work out in the future. Sometimes no isn’t permanent, it’s temporary. No may also be an opportunity for you to shift and pursue something bigger and better.
LEARN HOW TO UNPACK YOUR FEELINGS In order for us to unpack our feelings, I think we need to understand what it means to unpack. The dictionary defines unpacking as “to analyze something into its component elements.” Component is defined as “constituting part of a larger whole.” There are other definitions to these words but these are the definitions that are relevant to my particular argument. When I unpack, I do as the definition says. I try to figure out what the bigger issue is and from there it gives me a better understanding of why I feel the things that I feel, which causes me to wonder why I react a certain way towards others. This so important to me because I know that some of those reactions (or behaviors) don’t align with who I am as a person. So how do you unpack your feelings? Start with:
- Defining The Whole; what’s up? what’s going on? and where or what is the main source of this? Sitting in silence works for me but for some people journaling or venting might be their best outlet. The goal is to try and find the root cause so you can analyze it. Once you figure this out, some of you may want to sit with it for a while (a few days or so) before you start to do a deeper dive.
- Assess The Parts; this is where I go even deeper. Meaning, I try to figure out why I feel those feelings. In some cases it may be something that you just don’t want to admit. For example, jealousy, envy, insecurity, imposter syndrome, etc. But once you assess these parts, you now have a better understanding of why you feel the way that you do, and you will likely think before you react instead of simply acting on impulse and blaming the other person for your behavior.
- Implement Some Strategies; so now what? right? This is when you ask yourself; what works for me? And what do I need to do? Maybe it’s meditation (this works for me), writing, setting boundaries and taking a step back from people, reading, music, etc. The purpose is to help you find an outlet that will help you cope until you get back to where you need to be. This also means feeling your feelings when they arise instead of denying them. It’s okay to temporarily feel hurt, it’s okay to be unhappy, upset, etc. because these are all normal human emotions.
That was a lot to unpack for the month right? Working on this roundup made it clear to me that discomfort plays a pretty big role in our lives. Most, if not all of what I’ve mentioned is something that we all deal with, that’s why I see the importance in learning how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. You don’t have to like it but you should learn healthy coping skills when dealing with feelings of discomfort. It’s definitely okay to have a drink (or a few) if you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, pressured, etc (all feelings of discomfort by the way), but drinking should not be your go to; and you should not abuse alcohol or any other substances when you feelings feel out of control. Apply healthy strategies like the ones I listed above. Another option would be to talk to someone because sometimes the things we endure are too much to handle on our own. When it comes to dealing with feelings of discomfort, know that you can grow and learn from it, it prepares you for any adversities that you will encounter in the future, it shows up in so many areas of our lives in various forms so it’s difficult to out run, and it affects your emotional well-being.
Let’s Chat! What are some of the methods you use to deal with feelings of discomfort?
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