Discover more from Dear Twenty-Somethings
On Finding Optimism☀️
The sun shines every day, but sometimes the clouds are in the way!
Happy Wednesday, my Dearest Twenty-Somethings! Hope everyone had a lovely Indigenous Peoples’ Day. This week, I’m going to address a recent but timeless reader-submitted question: How do you pick yourself back up when you're feeling low? How do you find a sense of optimism when you're in a rut? Thanks to all of you lovely people for submitting responses—let’s get right into it.
As I like to tell myself: the sun shines every day, but sometimes the clouds are in the way. It’s quite literally true, and it reminds me that some days we just don’t see the sun—and that’s perfectly okay.
Earlier this year, I wrote about the little things that remind me how beautiful this life is. Whether it’s cooking a good meal, revisiting an all-time favorite album, writing a few pages in my journal, or spending the day away from my phone (ahem, social media), it’s good to have a few go-tos to perk you up. But even then, those don’t always do the trick.
I do want to acknowledge the notion of toxic positivity—the belief that no matter how dire or difficult a situation is, people should maintain a positive mindset. I try to sustain my optimism both in my writing and in the world, but life isn’t always so pretty. Like all other toxic things in this world, this is not something I want to encourage. Yes, grass grows where you water it, but it’s crucial and healthy even to let yourself be down! Give yourself the break you deserve, because it’s exhausting pushing positivity all the time—or even just being a twenty-something. Spend a day indulging in your sadness and see what comes of the mess if you need to. Get to know yourself! You just might learn something new.
And that’s all I have to say about that! Thanks to my Dearest Twenty-Somethings, here are 11+ more ways to pick yourself back up when you’re feeling blue:
Depends on what I'm in a rut about. If I'm feeling self-conscious, I make a list of things that I love about myself. If I'm just generally down, I listen to some good music—maybe make myself a couple new playlists. I watch my favorite movies. I'll call a friend to either talk about feeling low or to distract me from it. I journal. I exercise. I breathe.
To pick myself up mentally, I remind myself that our situation in life is unrelated to our value: trash people are often elevated to high points while great people are often relegated to low points. To pick myself up productively, I continue to build and refine my habits.
Try to find some simple and easy tasks to accomplish to get back into the habit of regularly setting goals and achieving them—which I think is one of the major tenets of happiness.
I try to get out of the house and take a small trip to a restaurant or store I like, just to get out into the world and remind myself there is more to my apartment and sadness.
1.) Call a friend; 2.) Put on a comedy (stand-up, movie, or podcast); 3.) Refer to a running note on my phone full of detailed descriptions of Moments I Live For; 4.) Put on my favorite jams and have a dance party; 5.) Gratitude practice: refer to existing list or write a new one or meditate on what I’m thankful for, what I have going for me, or what I can appreciate; 6) GET COZY: anything comfortable or luxurious, bath, cuddling, etc.
I find that when I'm feeling low, the best thing I can do is take time to catch up with myself and unpack why I'm feeling that way. The life we're navigating right now—where people are vaccinated but things aren't 100% back to normal—has made me hyperaware of the time I need with myself. This can look like getting a coffee and going on a walk, taking an outdoor yoga class, or simply having a night in. Once I take that time, then I can spend time with loved ones—which usually gives me a dose of optimism and pulls me out of my head.
When I’m feeling low or overwhelmed by life, I really make an effort to slow down and listen to my body. I have a list of joyful escapes I use consistently to feel grounded and reconnected with myself. This can be anything from canceling plans, practicing yoga, calling someone I’m missing, channeling my creative side, seeing my therapist, or cooking a good meal. I also LOVE a good cry, it’s healthy and healing and we should never feel guilt around expressing our emotions. Overall, I just try to be gentle with myself and give myself grace when I’m down. Us twenty-somethings are juggling a million things at once, all while trying to figure out who we are and what our impact on this world can be.
It’s so important to take a step back and remember that everything is going to be okay eventually. Our hard work will pay off and our struggles will make us stronger. I also think it’s helpful to reflect back on my hard times and see what lessons I was able to learn from them and how it helped me grow.
I know that life will test me constantly and it most definitely won’t always be rainbows and butterflies, so practicing healthy ways to cope is very important to me. Being in tune with my body and learning to love and accept myself even in the darkest of times has been one of my greatest life lessons thus far :)
An extremely long walk (several hours) with good playlists, podcasts, etc.—usually to a destination that will be some sort of “reward,” could be a store I like, a coffee shop, my favorite lunch spot, etc.
When I’m feeling low, my go-to is to write it all out or even make a list of small things I can do to make myself feel better. I also try to put on a cute outfit even if I’m not going anywhere because if I’m feeling low I might as well look cute while feeling so. And the thing that works most for me is just going outside, even for 15 minutes. Working from home during a pandemic has made even going outside a chore sometimes, but it always makes me feel so so much better about my day, even if it’s just a quick walk around or eating lunch outside.
I love all of my list-writers! How many Virgos do we have in the audience?! Well, dearest reader, I hope that was helpful—I know I gained a thing or two! In case you were wondering, I’ve been listening to “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” on repeat and honestly, it’ll never not be top-tier.
With that, here are a few picks to get you through the week:
The Eyes of Tammy Faye - I couldn’t recommend this movie more highly! It’s got everything a zennial needs: ‘80s fashion, millions of fraudulent dollars hidden behind God, eyelashes and glitter, and Middle American style. There’s something about a true story that just hits different. Now go!
LuLaRich - Similarly to our evangelist TV personalities above, this billion-dollar legging company (which is outlandishly tacky in every sense of the word) scammed hoards of Americans—and the owners actually stand by what they did, remaining that it is not a pyramid scheme. Wild.
Hulu’s Only Murder in the Building - Okay, I included this selection a few weeks back, but the finale is next Tuesday and I need everyone caught up! Enjoy and thank me later.
Watching New York (Johnny Cirillo) - I’m not going to act like I don’t dress up and go to Bedford Avenue every Saturday in case the photographer is out… unless…
Spriteismadebyfairies - Was anyone else here a fairy girl growing up? No? Just me?
“The world is wide, and I would not waste my life in friction when it could be turned into momentum.” - Frances Willard
Affirmation of the week: I will not take criticism from anyone I wouldn’t take advice from.
Question of the week: Who is the one person you can talk to about anything?
Thank you all for reading this week’s newsletter! I’m always looking to improve my work, so leave a comment, send me a message, or fill out this form to tell me about what you want to read about in upcoming Dear Twenty-Somethings! I’m all ears. Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads or online if you feel so inclined. And check out last week’s newsletter here in case you missed it.
If you liked what you read, send this newsletter to a friend! Heck, send it to 10 friends! Sending love and light to you, wherever you are. 🌟
Cheers & happy Wednesday! Stay well.
xoxoxo, Quinnie <3