Five Ways to Deal With Sadness

Let’s be real – we don’t always bounce out of bed with a smile and a feeling of invincibility. Even if we do wake up singing, those zipadeedodah feelings can be gone by the time we sit down to breakfast. Emotional ups and downs are something we all struggle with, and sometimes the leap from one to the next can be sudden and dramatic. The highs are great, but we have so few tools for living with the lows. For any of you who are feeling as heavy as a January snow cloud, here are five ways to deal with sadness.

1. Embrace it – Denying your emotions and trying to bury them only makes them burst through the soil like ravenous zombies when you least expect it. Accept the fact that you are feeling down, and give yourself permission to be okay with that. Trust that sadness is only one of many emotions you will feel today, and allow yourself to hope that it might not even be the strongest feeling you have in the next 24 hours.

2. Share It – You deserve to open up and be vulnerable about your sadness. Tell a trusted friend or loved one that you’re sad. Post a simple message on your wall without being too cryptic or personal. Allow yourself to be open to the love that you will receive, and try to see that light, whether it is a funny post sent your way, a hug, a cup of tea, or a sympathetic nod. I promise that someone else you know is also feeling sad right now, so you are not alone.

3. Be Kind To Yourself – Take time today to slow down, and shift your schedule and any demands you may feel in order to take good care of yourself. Don’t feel guilty or ashamed of your sadness. Don’t beat yourself up if you have to make some changes to your plans. If you have to cancel in favor of staying home, promise to use that time for an act of self nurturing like a bath, or a good book, or some fresh air.

4. Get Moving – Even 15 minutes of physical activity will help shift your mood, and add some light to your day. Do something you enjoy, try to lose yourself in your breath and the activity you are engaged in. Ground yourself in your body and feel your connection to your physical self. You are strong and you have the power to grow stronger every day.

5. Stay Here – Somebody loves you and needs you right here, right in this moment. As you catch yourself drifting to the past or worrying about the future, gently pull yourself into the right now. Breathe, make a mental list of the things you can see, hear, taste, smell and feel. This moment, right now is your reality, and the one you need to focus on most closely. What can you shift or change right now to add more light to this moment? Do it, and then take a breath and trust that the next moment will be waiting for you, with new sensations to experience.

You are light, you are loved, you are part of the vast wonder of the universe.

Do you have any tried and true ways to help move through moments of sadness? We’d love to hear them, please share in the comments below!



It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?

So many things have happened since I was last here, things both profound and perplexing. I’ve been aching to write down my thoughts, but too compelled to just stay in each moment to put my fingers to the keys.

Last month I had a teacher appear who helped me learn how much I’ve grown. At first, I thought this teacher was cruel and immature, but then a wise woman reminded me that everyone we encounter has a role in our lives. It was clear to me that this person had crossed my path to illuminate how strong I am in my family, and in my circle. How secure and happy I feel in this life. After four years of navigating this very alternative relationship, I’ve largely been met with acceptance and love. One small moment of rudeness has nothing on that. Thank you teacher, for helping me discover this.

The universe wove another lesson while I was away. This next one was a random, and deeply painful lesson in our own vulnerability and fragility. It was the kind of lesson that serves as a reminder of how we have no control over where our paths will ultimately lead. To me, that truth is both terrifying and revealing – it forces me to see only the next steps ahead and to savor each crunch of earth beneath my feet, and each little breath my children breathe. My heart won’t heal from this lesson, it’s going to be one that remains for the rest of my days here. To watch people you love experience such grief is humbling and it strikes you with an absolute feeling of helplessness – both in relieving their pain, and shielding yourself from tragedy. This lesson in savoring each precious moment has been repeated again and again in my life, and I cannot help but wonder at that.

Each day here is crisp and fresh as we begin to watch the seasons shift. We’ve started our little school this week, and though we are only on day four, I am certain that teaching my children will be the best thing that I’ve ever done. Are you living the life you want? Do you have everything you need? What steps can you take to bring yourself closer to telling your own great story?

Please Be Sure to Secure the Overhead Compartment

Madame Tutli Putli

I think I’ve figured out why my new digs feel so crowded. Besides the obvious reasons associated with adding a fifth person to a household of four, of course. I think perhaps I may have too much baggage.

While some people show up with a smart little bag on wheels I have two steamer trunks, ten hat boxes, and three large suitcases. I don’t think I realized how much stuff I had until I tried to fit it into someone else’s space.  Stacking each piece up, one after the other, realizing that nobody else had arrived with so much, is getting to be a little embarrassing. It just doesn’t fit. I always thought it meant I was prepared for everything, but as it turns out, a handy all-purpose something or other that is more neat and compact would have been a better choice.

Now I’m standing at the station, surrounded by cedar-smelling, leather-trimmed boxes. I’m sifting through piles of soft unmentionables, awkward, cumbersome mementos, stacks of crumpled old letters, strange-smelling warm things, and some old, tattered, unflattering bits that haven’t fit me for years. I don’t know what to keep and what to leave behind.

A lovely woman is at my side. She means well, but has no more a clue than I about what is valuable. She knows which pieces bring out the colour of my eyes, and which garments are cut to fit me best, but she also understands the value of sentimentality in moments such as these.

A man gazes from his seat, out the window. His expression is drawn, and tired. I can’t tell what he’s thinking, but I think it’s safe to say he’d like to get going, and he’s wondering if the train is going to wait much longer. He buries his nose in the paper and tries to distract himself from my frantic rummaging.

When I was eight, I was almost left behind on a VIA train platform in Quebec. My family had been to visit my aunt, and when we boarded our ride home, my Nana and I got separated and ended up in a separate car. Rather than patiently wait for the conductor to open the connecting doors and let us pass through to meet my mom and dad, my Nana insisted I get off the train and run around to get on their car. I’m still not sure why she did this, though part of me believes she might have been trying to get rid of me.

As soon as I hopped off the train, the doors slid shut, the bells started dinging, and the train began to slowly pull away. White, cold panic spread through my little body, and I began to run, and cry. My mom freaked out, and someone must have hit the emergency alarm, because the train screamed to a halt, and the doors popped open again. My father ran out and scooped me up into his big strong arms, carrying me on board to my tearful mother. I don’t remember much else, except that the conductor let my Nana through, my mother was furious, and my Nana called me a “baby” for crying. My mom didn’t have much to say to her for the rest of the ride.

I don’t want the train to leave without me. I’m purging and re-packing just as fast as I can, but there is a vast collection of stuff here – years of hoarding, in fact. Maybe the trip will be easier if I stay behind and look forward to post cards.