Sunny Days are Behind Every Cloud

Photo of clouds

Sunny days arе behind every cloud up in the sky

Kishi Bashi, “Wait for Springtime”

I am irrationally stressed today.

I feel like I’m walking around with a raincloud over my head, blocking the sun from my face. Only I’m the one who put the raincloud there.

Today’s post is a little different because I’m still learning as I write this, working through the negative thoughts that have been nagging me lately. I don’t want it to ever seem like I’m 100% fine mentally, or that I’ve learned all the secrets to staying happy. In reality, I just write what I learn, and learning comes from the need to grow. And I need to grow a lot.

Yesterday, I received my second dose of the Covid vaccine (yay!), but I then slept all afternoon, stayed up until 3am, and then napped again today. This may not sound like a big deal (and, really, it isn’t), but I beat myself up over things like this because oversleeping is something I’ve struggled with lately. I sleep away my stress instead of facing things, and then I get angry at myself for not being productive.

But this self-loathing only makes my stress worse, which in turn makes me want to sleep it off, which makes me unproductive, and the cycle goes on.

This is one of those more subtle symptoms of anxiety. This cycle of overthinking and self-doubt, of sleeplessness and oversleeping.

This is why I’m writing. To break the cycle and remind myself what I’ve learned.

Sometimes we have to fight for positivity. While I think our society is obsessed with being happy, it’s also good to recognize the difference between genuine, healthy sadness and irrational, self-doubting sadness.

Today, it’s irrational, self-doubting sadness. My mind is telling me why I’m not good enough, why I’m never going to be successful, and why I’m just wasting my time trying anyway.

But I know this isn’t true, and if a friend came to me and said she was feeling this way, I would actively tell her not to trust those thoughts and keep going.

I would tell her that every time she faces a period where work is difficult, it’s followed by a period of productivity. She will get back into a routine again. I would tell her that, while she can’t control where all this work takes her, she can focus on the journey. It’s not a waste of time if she’s doing what she loves.

Finally, I would tell her that she can’t change how her day started, but she can affect how she lives the rest of it. She can choose self-love instead of self-pity and actively seek out joy.

So I’m going to take my own advice. I’m going to read my Bible, listen to some uplifting music, do something fun, and remind myself of all that is true and beautiful and trustworthy and praiseworthy.

Clearly, there will be truly bad days in our lives where we need to walk through pain to get to the other side of joy. But there are days like today where the pain is imagined. I don’t want to waste this hard but beautiful life wrestling imaginary monsters.

So I’m blowing away the storm clouds to see the sun that still shines behind them.

How do you handle irrational stress? Do you have tools or techniques that get you through one of “those days”?

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