Thursday, February 15, 2018

{how i'm staying optimistic and recovering}

Staying optimistic has always been a strength of mine, I’m able to put on a smile and make myself feel better by finding the silver lining in things. I attempt to see the good in people and believe laughter can cure anything.

Recently, pushing the pain out of the front of my brain has been an active struggle. When I lost my dad I was suddenly under a pretty dark cloud – random things would make me cry and so much reminded me of him. I wanted so desperately to stop thinking about everything so that I could move on with my life. But that wasn’t realistic…

So many people asked me how I was doing in the immediate days and weeks following my dad’s death and then memorial service. It was so touching and sincere but my usual answer was “taking it day by day.” It was almost a canned response because I wasn’t actually processing it and I wasn’t handling myself well. The sweet friends that continued to reach out to me made me realize this because I felt insincere saying that to them week after week. So I decided to come up with a list that I could refer to when I was feeling helpless. Something that would help guide me back to where I was before.

We all go through dark times, it’s part of being human. In light of “self love” continuing after Valentine’s Day I wanted to share with y’all what I’ve been doing for myself. I have to proactively, every day, remind myself to be optimistic and to keep my chin up and stay strong!


1. Write 3 things that make you smile every morning // I’ve been doing this for months and it starts my day off on a positive note. Sometimes it’s as simple as “fresh flowers” and other days it’s something more specific. I repeat myself every now and then but it’s a great way to remind myself that I’m lucky and loved.

2. Staying active // Walking home from work, attending a workout class, being outdoors… anything that helps my wellbeing.

3. Focusing on my health // After seeing what the body goes through when you’re sick with cancer I am now determined to get myself to the healthiest point possible. This means cutting back on dairy, limiting my alcohol, and making better choices!

4. Cutting out triggers // I had to learn this lesson the hard way. I’ve had to stop myself from watching shows like This Is Us (I will hopefully be able to catch up in a month or two), reading sad books about death or loss, changing a song quickly if it hits a nerve, and sometimes not watching the news. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s a bit of self-preservation. At this moment, my wounds have barely healed so I’m attempting to keep the band-aid on still.

5. Sticky notes with quotations // I’m always jotting down lyrics, phrases, quotes and sticking them on my mirror or computer screen. It’s a nice reminder to reread the words that spoke to me in a moment. This helped me get through my last breakup and reading certain words over and over really drills it in your brain what you need to remember. Currently my sticky note reads “to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever” –Albus Dumbledore

6. Planning time with friends // This is self-explanatory. Keeping myself in isolation and holing up was only detrimental to my recovery. I’m so lucky that tons of my best friends live so close to me!

7. Looking at photos // It didn’t make sense to try and forget so I try to remind myself of the happy memories and look back and laugh at the times we had together.

...when those things don’t work, and I can’t make myself smile, I’ve learned other ways to cope:

8. Let yourself remember and feel // Feel everything in that moment. Let it take over completely. When you allow yourself to recognize that emotion you gain a sense of freedom.

9. Taking time to be still // Staying busy with friends and exercising is great but sometimes you need to be alone, quiet, and just sit on your sofa or take a nap… just not for too long.

10. Embrace reality so you can allow yourself to move on // I constantly have moments of pure frustration where I can’t understand why I’m feeling the way I do. I have to step back and tell myself that I just went through a rough time (and I’m still in it honestly). I have to let myself accept that things have changed and that it’s normal to be feeling confused like this.

So how am I doing? Well… I’m taking it day by day J except this time I actually am and I’m learning how to walk through my new normal! If any of y’all found this helpful or have additional tips you’d like to add please let me know! Thank you for reading!

Love Always,

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jenn,

    I was very sorry to hear about your Dad. I know it must be extremely difficult to live your life “normally” at the moment, especially on your blog/Instagram. I really enjoyed reading this post though. I think you gave great tips - I was just sitting there nodding my head the whole time. It’s good advice that applies to a lot of different situations. I hope that the remainder of 2018 is kind to you and that your optimistic days soon outweigh the ones less bright. I’ll be thinking of you for a while.

    <3 Hannah


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