When I’m feeling down, I make a list of what’s contributing to the down-ness:
- Didn’t get enough sleep
- Overwhelmed by too much to do
- Not exercising or eating well
- Got in an argument with someone
- Feeling uncertainty about something
So there might be five different factors contributing to a funk. That’s a lot of things to deal with at once, and so it can be depressing to think about all the things I need to fix in order to feel better.
I can’t fix everything at once, so I just start with one step. I meditate for a couple minutes.
Then I take on another step: I make a list of what I need to do. Pick a few I can do today. A few I can do tomorrow. Vow to focus on the first one on the list.
Another step: go for a walk, get my body moving.
Then another step: talk to the person I had an argument with, in a loving, compassionate way.
Suddenly, with these small steps, I’m starting to feel better.
I spend a little time with my son, playing with him, reading with him.
I take a nap.
I eat a healthy meal.
I meditate on my uncertainty, staying with it as long as I can, with compassion and friendliness.
I go to bed early, and try to get a good night’s sleep.
I focus on one small work task at a time.
And with each step, my mood improves. One step at a time, I help myself feel better.
These are small steps, taken one at a time, with as much presence as I can muster. And they make all the difference in the world.