Rough Week? Here’s Why (and How) to Lean Into Your Feelings
Struggling with work stress and negativity? Discover how to zoom out and shift your perspective with practical advice and self-affirming exercises to help you overcome life's obstacles and regain balance.
This article was written in partnership with Full Plate Full Cup.
Ever had a rough week at work? Coworker drama, getting passed over for a deserved promotion, sales numbers missing projections and… ya know, dealing with the biggest banking failure since the 2008 recession.
So what do you do when work totally, objectively…sucks?
Our best advice is always to zoom out. Zoom out in terms of your life's timeline and the overall role that work plays in your life. Your work is, after all, NOT your life, and — this too shall pass. It's just a crappy little blip on the radar screen of your long, beautiful & complex human existence.
Let us remind you that you have overcome every obstacle life has put in your path thus far. If you are here — reading this email — then you have to agree that that is objectively true. When we are in a tough moment, it's easy to let that moment become magnified. To let it engulf us. But it is just a moment, and no matter how bad it feels, it will be over before too much time passes.
And no, it's not just you. Catastrophizing is a biological, cognitive adaptation called a "negativity bias" and it's hard-wired into our brains to keep us safe. So when we feel the urge to catastrophize, we encourage our clients to go ahead and LEAN IN.
But not for long. Take no more than 10 minutes and write down all the terrible things you are experiencing or are worried about happening. Let it truly rip. Use all the foul language and say all the sh*t that you'd never say to anyone out loud (except maybe your coach). And then put it away, rip it to shreds, or burn it. You've released those thoughts from your brain, and now it's time to get back into a more self-affirming mode. The next step is not to "think positive" or do anything that remotely resembles spiritual bypassing or phoniness. No. Here's how we like to frame it:
"Even though (insert bad feeling or event here) feels (insert bad adjective here), I also know that (insert good potential outcome here). Even though I am worried (insert hypothetical disaster here), it is equally possible that (insert hypothetical miracle here)."
In doing this, you remind yourself that good and bad can coexist, and in fact — they pretty much always do. You shift your brain out of catastrophe mode incrementally. Not so drastically that it feels like BS and doesn't truly land. But just enough to ease you out of fight or flight and empower you to put one foot in front of the other until the tides inevitably turn in your favor — because they will.
And once you've done these writing exercises, take some time to lick your wounds. Nurture yourself. Have a good cry. Go get a massage or acupuncture. It's ok for life to suck sometimes, and you deserve to be comforted when that sh*t goes down.
Be comforted in knowing that — even though none of us can avoid or prevent bad times from coming — the bad times don't last as long or when you are intentional about moving through them.
REBECCA STUMP, Executive Coach and Co-Founder of Full Plate Full Cup