Do you feel like you’re a flicker of who you used to be? These five steps helped me bounce back from rock bottom.
In my late teens and early 20s, I had a love affair with homesteading memoirs. In my spare time, I fell into rabbit holes about beekeeping, canning, and the gritty life that comes with cohabitating with livestock. I fell in love with everything about the idea of homesteading and knew that’s what I wanted for my future.
But I had no idea how to make it happen. Instead, I was working an office job in a city that left me feeling claustrophobic and uninspired and I spent all of my free time with my nose in books about the life I pined for.
The problem was, I knew what I wanted but I had no idea how to make it happen.
After a breakup that devastated me to my core, I went through a rough patch. At the time, I thought that was the breaking point, but it got worse, like a lot worse. Like, fall into a bottomless pit of depression, but you’re too strong to recognize it so you let yourself break until nothing is left, kind of worse. The worst part about falling to rock bottom that nobody talks about is that it can happen subtly. Looking back, it was a 4-year process to get me to my worst. And when I got there, I didn’t recognize myself anymore.
I was gun loaded with empty shells of what used to make up my character. There was nothing left but a flicker of who I used to be. That was the rock bottom I had to bounce back from.
I’m here to remind you that a flicker is enough.
Social media is filled with highlight reels of people putting their best feet forward. I know it’s easy to look at photos or read a story and romanticize someone else’s life. Trust me when I say that I’ve been in those shoes. And when you’re in a dark space, it can make you feel that much more isolated.
At my worst, I wish someone had been there to share their messy story and give me a flicker of hope – but my flicker had to come from within.
Rock bottom is the hardest surface to bounce back from but when you do, you bounce the furthest.
I created Sitting Gritty to give a flicker of hope to anyone that’s going through the messy part of life. My goals are to share stories that inspire others to chase their dreams, to evoke passion from the place that has fallen silent within, and to promote everyone out there grinding to chase their aspirations.
Here are the 5 steps I took to bounce back from rock bottom to start creating the life I dreamed of:
- Make the choice. I know it’s easier said than done, but the first step to making a change in your life is knowing what you want out of it and then choosing that path. For me, I set aside 30 minutes one evening where I went through Pinterest to create a vision board of sorts. My goal was to create a brand new board of the life I wanted, here I pinned images from social media pages I followed that inspired what I wanted out of my own life, random images that made me feel lighter, and anything that made me smile along the way. Then I took out my journal and started an entry with the following statement: “I am choosing to change my life starting today.” What does the life you are choosing look like? Write it down.
- Make a list. It’s easy to say you are unhappy with something, but the devil is always in the details. What specifically do you want to change in your life? During my first attempt at this exercise, I simply wrote, “I want to stop feeling so empty.” The second time around, I listed the three things I wanted to change the most in my life. I wanted a job that made me feel fulfilled, I wanted to be a more present mom to my kids, and I wanted to build a life on the farm.
- Clean up your surroundings. As I was falling into my own emotional hell, everything around me fell to the wayside too. Maybe your house is a mess, maybe there are piles of laundry, maybe it’s a lot worse and you are too afraid to let anyone see. It’s really hard to make progress when you’re feeling overwhelmed by your surroundings. By cleaning your surroundings, you can create a blank page for growth. Start small. Start with one surface or a bathroom. It could be as small as finishing one load of laundry or cleaning up one nightstand. I know this sounds ridiculous but do it. Set aside an allotted time to make progress every day. Maybe it’s 5-10 minutes, maybe it’s an hour. Set aside what you know you can manage and then once it’s done, commit to keeping that one surface or room clean.
- Make another list. What overwhelming thoughts are the most persistent for you right now? Maybe it’s a person or job that emotionally drains you. Or maybe it’s that your home feels too chaotic. Maybe it’s financial distress. Whatever it is. Make a list in two columns. On the left side write your worry and on the right side write out an action you can take to work towards it. When you’ve completed your list, prioritize it in order of ease. For example, if your list of worries looks something like this: I hate my job, I am overwhelmed by my messy home, I want to lose weight, I am really unhappy but I don’t know how to fix it. Your list of action items might look something like: Update my resume, clean the bathroom, go for a walk, and start a journal or book a therapy appointment. Reorder your list of action items in order of what is the least amount of effort for you to accomplish vs. the most. That might look like: Go for a walk, clean the bathroom, begin a journal, and then update my resume. Check something off every day to work toward your goal.
- Adapt the list as you go. If your primary concern is something like losing weight or quitting your job and your action items were go for a walk and update your resume. As you complete those action items, make a new action item and keep checking it off until you’ve addressed the primary concern. Eventually, you’ll have that job, you’ll build that business, you’ll lose the weight, you’ll save for that new car. Be patient with yourself, you will dig yourself out of that hole.
If today is the your rock bottom, take a deep breath. I promise you that it gets better from here. You can bounce back from rock bottom. [If it’s that kind of rock bottom, The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 160 crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 1-800-273-8255. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. It’s okay for you to reach for help when you need it.]
Find your flicker, nurture it, and before you know it, you’ll have a flame.
Stay gritty & be gold, my friend.
The information provided on Sitting Gritty is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified healthcare provider. Sitting Gritty is not liable for how the information is used and cannot be held responsible or guarantee any results. You alone are solely and personally responsible for the results, and your success depends primarily on your own effort, motivation, commitment, and follow-through. Sitting Gritty is simply serving as a coach, mentor, and guide to help you reach your own health and wellness goals through simple holistic remedies and healthy lifestyle changes.