When it comes to expressing our feelings we can be very British in that we don’t always say how we really feel. When someone asks us how we are doing, without thinking we reel off “I’m okay”. Only sometimes we are not okay. Standing up and admitting that we aren’t okay can feel very scary, it can also feel very indulgent. But it isn’t indulgent. We need to admit to ourselves how we are feeling and we need to admit to others. As a parent, we are used to putting ourselves last. We put the needs of the family before us. However, we need to make time for ourselves. We need to look after ourselves too.
We are taught that it is not attractive to express our true feelings. Society dictates to us that no one wants to see someone at their weakest. So we bottle it up. We keep our heads down, we do the school run being careful not to reveal how we are really feeling and we repeat so on and so on. We are scared to express that we might be feeling miserable because we don’t want to be judged for it. We don’t want to labelled as “emotional”. Yet bottling up our feelings, repeating the meaningless line, “I’m okay”, “I’m fine”, means that we aren’t going to be happy anytime soon. That’s silly. Sometimes we don’t feel fine and we need to talk about it. If we don’t talk about it, if we just fade into the background, if we stop using our voice, then that’s worse because then we become invisible. It is completely normal not to feel okay all the time, that is what makes us human. If you are feeling low, then know that you are not alone. We need to start using our voice. We need to be heard.
What to do if you are not feeling okay
- Admit that you are not okay. Tell your family and friends
- Privacy. Sometimes you might feel like you need some time to yourself, some privacy. Don’t feel bad for wanting this, occasionally we need time to ourselves to work everything out
- Try and pinpoint why you are not feeling okay. Perhaps it is a work situation or home. Plan how to change it. If you don’t know what the cause is then that is okay too. Just know that you will feel better at some point, it might not be today, tomorrow or next week but you will feel better
- Look after yourself. Make sure you are drinking enough water, eating well and exercising. Exercise might feel like the last thing you want to do but getting outside for a ten minute blast can make all the difference
- Are you getting enough sleep? Have an early night
- Write down how you are feeling
- Take up a hobby
- Have a long bath
- Get dressed
- Organise your house
- Face up to the jobs you have been putting off
- Set some goals. Write down what you would like to achieve this year
- Plan a holiday
- Force yourself to smile, even when you don’t feel like it
- Hugs. Obviously, I wouldn’t recommend that you go up to a stranger and hug them as that might scare them. However, give lots of hugs to your family and friends!
- Decorate a room. Plan on how you are going to improve it and make it look nicer
- Watch a funny film
- Dance to some music
- Build a tent with your children
- Clean the house. Cleaning can be very cathartic!
- Write a list of the things that make you happy
- Try some baking
These are just silly suggestions but sometimes you need to recognise when you need extra help. Sometimes it might feel like nothing is helping. Don’t be hard on yourself. Find that extra help. Go to the doctors.
What do you do to get happy? What are your tips for what to do if you are not feeling okay?
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