by Guest Author Aronica Cole, Health & Wellness Influencer, aka The Crunchy Mama
When you find yourself cocooned in isolation and you cannot find your way out of darkness... Remember, this is similar to the place where caterpillars go to grow their wings.
Life is such a fickle, ever-changing, and evolving thing. Just when you think you’ve gotten the hang of it, boom! A pandemic hits, sending all of your plans, goals, and dreams to the wayside. Whether it’s a pandemic, a shift in plans, or some other monkey wrench that throws us off the path we were sprinting down, times of darkness are bound to happen.
Here’s the thing, though—they don’t last. Just like when a caterpillar goes into its cocoon and faces darkness for an unknown amount of time only to emerge as a beautiful butterfly, we emerge from our dark times better than ever. But being in the dark times can be hard when you’re knee-deep in it and not sure when it’s going to end. So what do you do in the meantime?
The optimist in me says you focus on growth and the beauty of gaining lessons that are pushing you to be a better person. The realist in me says growth is hard and doesn’t always feel worth it, but just like caterpillars and plants, when we have times where we feel buried in darkness, beauty is on the other side.
I remember when I was in one of my darker times. I was going through the divorce of my first marriage. My dad sent me a ticket to come home and spend some time getting my head together. While I was home, I read two books by Iyanla Vanzant. The first one was Yesterday I Cried. I remember thinking, What’s the point in doing all that crying? And then something in me broke, and the waterworks flowed. I cried hard. I mourned the forever I thought I was going to have with my ex. I released the guilt of having to file for divorce. It was truly cleansing.
But sometimes being motivated to keep moving and emerge from the dark place is hard.
Here are some ways to help you stay motivated as you push through the hard times:
- Adopt a mindfulness practice. Mindfulness is when you’re fully aware of your thoughts and feelings at the moment. It’s when you’re completely present in the experience. Being mindful during the down times and paying attention to how you feel (Are you sad? Mad? Frustrated? Confused? Overwhelmed?) prepares you to meet yourself where you are to address your legitimate emotions.
- Get help if you need it. Sometimes it’s hard to ask for help—I get it. But find at least one safe person that you can send a signal to when you need encouragement, help, a hug, whatever. I think far too often, we believe we have to be the ones to handle all the things. We don’t. It’s ok to get help managing all the things—even if the help is just normalizing you.
- Have your hormones checked and make sure your body isn’t inflamed. You’d be amazed at the side effects of hormonal imbalance and inflammation. One of the things that I’ve found effective in managing my emotions during these times has been the AnxietyFree. The formula is perfect for helping you feel calmer, and dare I say happier?
- List out your controllables. In a world where SO much is out of our control, it’s hard to center yourself when you feel like nothing is within your grip. There are so many things that you DO control, so it’s more efficient to focus on that during these times. Make a list of things you can do every day. Not a long list, though—focus on 3 things daily. Mark them off as you complete them. The act of writing them down and crossing them off is so fulfilling!
- Know that you aren’t alone. Even the most positive and happy people have dark times too. It’s part of the process. Seeds are planted in the dirt—it’s where they’re rooted before blooming through the surface into the light. We all have these uncomfortable moments of growth that will result in beauty.
I sincerely hope you know that there will be flow for every ebb that will lead you to an emergence of another beautiful aspect of you.
Aronica Cole is the mom behind The Crunchy Mommy which is the practically green guide for millennial moms on-the-go. The goal of the site is to give moms a space that they can feel like they're the amazing people they are while saving the world with one green tip at a time.