Here’s a question: what’s your go-to move when you’ve had a bad day?
How do you take care of yourself? Do you retreat, disconnect from everyone and everything, and give yourself some space? Do you call your friends to meet up and help lift your spirits? Do you keep it bottled up and move on? I ask because while I’m no stranger to a bad day, I had one the other day (ugh, breakups) that caught me a bit off-guard and I did something I wouldn’t normally do. This month’s theme is all about connection, and it felt like the perfect time to share the way that connection recently guided me through a few bad days.
As a natural people person, you might be surprised to hear that on tough days, I usually like to lay low, get to bed early and disconnect – usually away from my phone, but people too. Sometimes it’s a healthy disconnection to let myself feel the feels, and truthfully, sometimes I feel like shutting the world out so I can just be alone. But this instance and bad day was different.
After I ended a relationship with a very great guy, I felt sad and crushed. My heart felt heavier than usual, and the last thing I wanted to do was disconnect from the world. I felt drawn to being around people who light me up and inspire me. People who have gone through heartbreak and came out stronger. People who also value fun, kindness, and deep conversations, and people who want to listen versus say “let’s go grab a drink and forget about this.” Because truth is, I didn’t want to forget about it. It wasn’t a moment to numb out over drinks to talk bad about the situation – it was a split for the best – for two great people that just didn’t work out.
Even if I don’t fully disconnect on bad days, I can usually work it out on my own (thanks to almost two years of therapy). This time, having friends I could turn to was so important in that moment, and it surprised me how much I actually needed them.
It got me thinking about the connections and people in my life overall, and how I turn to each of them for different moments – good days, bad days, celebrations, career guidance, moments of fear or anxiety, and simply just fun.
Even more, I had a moment of clarity when I realized just how much I don’t lean on them enough. I often try to figure out life out on my own so I don’t burden anyone or take up too much of anyone’s time. And, if we’re getting down to the real nitty gritty truth, that I maybe had a little guilt or shame around having to ask for help. We don’t need to deep dive into the origin of any of those feelings (mostly because I don’t know), but I do think it’s important to recognize and honor when we’re having them so we can switch course and change.
The Beatles nailed it in the sixties when they wrote “With a Little Help From My Friends.” Just like you want to lend a hand when the people you care about need it, they want to do it for you, too. While disconnecting will have a time and a place for me – likely more when I need to truly put the phone away and be present, I’m absolutely leaning into asking for help and not pretending to be an expert in all things. Here are some ways I lean on my most important connections:
It sounds so obvious, but just sharing with my friends that my day wasn’t great, and why, opened up doors for more communication and check-ins from them. Plus, I think anytime we share something personal or vulnerable with someone, we develop a layer of intimacy that wasn’t there before. That’s a beautiful thing.
A different perspective
Thankfully, I have a lot of friends doing the work of self-care in all forms: meditation, leadership training, reading, etc. So getting their advice on how to move forward or create positive new behaviors and mindsets was paramount in such a short period of time. Remember, we all have our own unique POV and biases – just choose what advice you want to hang onto and what you can let go of.
Space to talk and relate
I’ve realized i do a lot of talking, but most about my work life. It was nice to be able to share something personal, something that I’d never post on social media, and create a space to openly share and have my friends relate – whether or not they’ve had heartbreak, they’ve likely had some relationship or friendship end, and that’s relatable.
Friends, the more we can share about the human experience and lean on our friends to hear their experiences or glean advice we wouldn’t have received otherwise, the closer we become as humans and the more we can help one another out. I’ll always believe that communication is one of the things we value most in relationships (all relationships), yet the thing we could all be better at.
So consider this my declaration to ask for more help, communicate what I need more clearly (on all fronts), and share when things aren’t great – the things you’d never see in an Instagram story or post, but that your friends and family deserve to hear. Connection will always take us further, together.