Have you ever had a mini breakdown that literally came out of nowhere, so you’re stumped on what to do to feel better? It’s okay, me too. Here’s what I eventually learned how to do in order to cope with these mini end-of-the-world moments.
In those times where you suddenly just want to burst into tears and can’t get yourself to stop thinking negatively, remember to breathe. It’s okay. We are human and we are bound to face these instances, whether we’ve had a rough week or not, whether there’s a defined, definite reason or not. In my most recent case, I’ve actually been having a great week, when suddenly – out of nowhere – an overwhelming sadness took over me and all I wanted to do was cry, curl up on the couch, and let misery take over me. I know, I know, it sounds like a terrible thing to do.
This breakdown – even that word sounds terrifying – seemed to consume me. Thankfully, it didn’t last long, as I’m aware these are mini breakdowns that I knew I had the tools to fix, despite feeling helpless and small. I’ve learned some tactics to help me get through unexpected tough times like these. I hope these tips will also help you get through gloomy days.
I’m a huge crier and I’ve never been afraid to admit or show it. I’ve literally cried while watching people win game shows or over the sight of a cute kitten. I can’t help it. These are happy cries, though. It seems that crying has generally been reserved for heartbreak or loss; so when I do hit a rough patch, I feel like I should be tough and hide my tears. However, I find that to be silly and it simply doesn’t work for me. Instead, I bawl my eyes out. I’m talking about the ugly cry where you can’t hold back your nose-blowing and as a result, your entire face is puffy and your eyes are red. It may not be pretty… but it works.
Most of the inner issues I face aren’t new and they’re certainly not impossible to fix. I’ve just had a slight fear of facing them; but lately, it’s felt great to acknowledge that something is wrong – even if in the form of tears. It may cause a bit of discomfort, but acknowledgement is the most important step onto the path of making things better. Now I’m not saying we should cry every single time something goes slightly wrong, but it’s nice to know that we can release our emotions in a way that, though it may be uncomfortable, ultimately feels good for our mind, body, and soul.
WRITE or DRAW
Writing has been my favorite creative outlet for as long as I’ve, well, been able to write. There’s something very freeing about writing my thoughts out; and the best part is that if I mess up or mean something different, I can immediately rewrite until I’m content with it. I may have even rewritten this entire post 5 times. Who knows? (I didn’t, but you know what I mean!).
Participating regularly in expressive writing – writing down what you think and how you feel – can help improve your mood and reduce stress levels. This is perfect when you face a mini meltdown, especially when you have no idea where it’s coming from. Even if what you have to write down may seem negative, try to pair it with a positive thought that can help to transform the negative.
Another beneficial trait of writing (or drawing – pick whichever creative form you frees your mind the best) is helping with your mental tabs. Like having too many browser tabs open (guilty), which can easily cause a distraction, sometimes we may face the struggle of trying to manage too many thoughts at once. Writing has the ability to form your ideas more coherently, get them out of your head, and free up space, ultimately preventing you from crashing, like your browser would if its bandwidth is spiraling out of control. This is also an excellent method if you’d rather not talk it out (my next strategy), as you’re able to personally and internally face the obstacle, deal with it, and work through the pain instead of blocking it out.
When someone asks you “what’s wrong?” sometimes your immediate, and honest, answer is “I don’t know.” I’ve definitely found myself saying this during my sudden breakdowns, because I sincerely have no idea what the heck is wrong. That’s why talking it out – whatever it may be – can be very helpful. Usually, when things aren’t going well, I have a difficult time expressing myself vocally (which is why I find my favorite coping method to be writing). This can also be due to the fact that I work from home, so the majority of my “socializing” is digital. In spite of that…
I’m doing my best to open up a bit more by sharing my conflicts and hoping a positive light will come out of it. The talking doesn’t have to result in immediate solutions or “OMG I’M 100% BETTER” moments (though that is also great!), but it feels good to just let it all out, get feedback, and not keep everything bottled up inside. How nice is it, too, to have someone who cares so much about you, to listen to what you’re going through, and try to make you feel better? Utilize and cherish that.
MOVE YOUR BODY
When I’m feeling super sluggish, one of my favorite things to do is dance or have a quick yoga session. This can literally mean putting on your favorite upbeat songs (I have a playlist specifically for this) and having a little dance party by yourself (or with your cats judging you, like I do) or indulging in a mindful yoga sitting.
If you’re not into dancing or yoga, there are so many other activities that can get those happy endorphins up and running, no matter how down you’re feeling. It may or may not solve a sudden meltdown, but it certainly improves your mood, putting you in a more even-minded state to make positive decisions. With that said, this next method is pretty important.
WORK THROUGH IT
You’ve cried. You’ve written it all down. You’ve talked it out. You’ve moved your body. Now what? It’s time to actually work through it. When you have a sudden breakdown, it’s generally within your control to make things better (unlike, for instance, going through a heartbreak). Crying, writing, talking, and moving through your meltdown may feel like the ultimate cleansing and healing process, but if you aren’t using this random emotional state as a stimulus for change, you may be on the path to Breakdown Town, and nobody wants to live there. I promise. It’s not fun.
I know some of these moments may just disappear on their own and that’s AWESOME. I had a breakdown just yesterday that ended up gradually vanishing by itself. Thanks, brain. However, I kind of have a feeling that another one may have popped up sooner rather than later if I didn’t take EVERY SINGLE ONE of these steps into action today. Including this one.
I took out my notebook and began writing down anything and everything that’s currently making me happy, alongside what’s not making me happy. The latter won’t be fixed overnight, but they’ll also never be fixed if I don’t try to repair them from now. It feels wonderful admitting to yourself what’s wrong and toxic in your life, and how you can take steps to include more positivity in your life. Get ready to make progress to live a better you.
Quit living life like you’re about to die and start putting life into this life while you’re still alive.
I feel like the reason why we may face a sudden breakdown is because something out there is trying to shake us up, get us to pay attention, and transform what isn’t working into something that is. I know it can be daunting to feel like you don’t have a plan or method to free a troubled heart. Just keep in mind that if anything can happen, then that also means amazing things can happen.
header photo by GrawvyRobber