Coping Mechanisms for the Dark Days

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So a while back I was having a seriously hard time...

I had never before felt so sorry for myself, so down. So. down. I am not a ‘depressive’ type- I talk too much, my down days don’t last and I am a generally positive person. But things had been really tough, we had been struggling seriously financially - being self employed is hard. And it all just got on top of me, I couldn’t deal with the pressure and the constant stress and I just went further and further inward, constantly feeling a sadness deep down within me. 

The problem with my self pity is that I was so far in it I just couldn’t get out of it and part of me didn’t want to either. You become entrenched in this feeling that part of your psyche, your ego quite enjoys. Why is that? I really don’t know. But all I can say is that everyone has a darkness- a shadow self and this shadowy part of me was relishing this depression.

I normally practise yoga every day- but I didn’t want to. I didn’t do yoga and I didn’t meditate, even though I knew it would probably help. I was just so far down. And oh was I sick of scrolling Instagram and seeing lovely pictures of gorgeous yoga poses and wonderful positive quotes. I didn’t want to see it. It did also make me wonder why there is nothing real on there? Why does no one write about these dark days instead of posting about the perfect yoga body, or sipping a smoothie watching the sunrise. 

Finally I realised something had to change...

At the weekend I did finally get on my mat. It took a lot, I really didn’t want to but I made myself go to my bedroom and practise. And during a deep backbend I burst into inconsolable tears. I just could not stop crying and I let go- of all of the sadness, all of the stress, everything I had been holding on to. And then I meditated and cried a whole lot more, sobs coming, body convulsing, on and on. And afterwards oh my goodness I felt 100 times lighter. Not completely better but a little. Enough to have a conversation with my family about how I was feeling and the next day I had so much more motivation. I put myself out there more, had a more positive attitude and things actually started happening- new work came to me, friends said they were taking me away and I found out I was owed a little rebate. It was like magic.

I am sure all these things may have happened regardless of the yoga but what I do know is that my attitude 100 percent helped. Sometimes we need to acknowledge and circumvent the shadow self, to do what we don’t want to do and understand that actually yoga and meditation really can make a difference to your life.

How to shift your mentality

If you are feeling in a similar situation or ever find yourself there in the future then I suggest you just go and sit on your mat. Just sit there for a few minutes. And then see if you feel like moving, even if it’s just the tiniest bit. Move with no expectations, no pressure, no judgement; and then just see what happens. Nothing might happen and that’s fine but it means you have broken the cycle and the next day you can go back to your mat and you’ll find it will be that tiny bit easier.

Try some mindfulness; concentrate on your breath, count it, but again with no expectation, if you are only able to sit for 30 seconds then thats better than nothing and you are still giving yourself the briefest of rests from overpowering emotions. Allow anything that comes up to just be. Pass no judgement and allow it to pass, perhaps imagining it on a passing train, or being tied to some balloons that gently float away. Allow any emotions that come up to really come up, whether that’s anger and you feel like screaming into a pillow, tears that don’t stop or never ending frustration.

Eventually it will stop and you will feel that bit lighter. And remember that however you are feeling there are other people who have felt like that too and if you can, try and talk to someone; I promise you won’t regret it. 

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Jodie is passionate about alternative health after it changing her life when she was young. This continued into a yoga practice which led her to give up her career as a Primary School Teacher to teach yoga and mindfulness to children. She then certified in Zen Yoga, to share her passion further. She works with the body’s energy channels assisting students to release physical and emotional blockages. She also uses her artwork as a form of personal meditation and tries to lead a spiritual life. Her ethos is that Yoga and other alternative therapies are about being in tune with your body, healing, letting go and above all, being happy. You can find out more about her over on her website or on instagram or facebook