I'm having a bad day.
I'm stressed, mad at my kids, mad at myself, and just want the day to be over.
Ever have a day like that?
Some days are going to be hard. There's no avoiding it. But if you find you're having more hard days than you'd like, it might be time to start thinking proactively.
My friend led a team of college students on an overseas service project. Before the trip, knowing they would encounter a lot of stressful situations, she asked them a great question:
What is your Monster Self?
When you are overtired, stressed out, and at the end of your rope, what's the worst version of you that comes out? Who do you become on your worst days?
My Monster Self is cranky, withdrawn, and sullen. She doesn't have a sense of humor and can't see the contributions of others (sorry, honey!). She's not a lot of fun to be around.
If you can catch your Monster Self before she truly hulks out, you'll still have bad days. But you'll have the reserves to respond to hard things that happen. You'll be able to be more calm and compassionate with yourself when tough stuff arises.
We're going to avoid our Monster Selves by doing three things:
Step 1: Notice the warning signs
This week is all about noticing the warning signs. Warning signs are the clues that let you know you're on the path to becoming your Monster Self. She's not gone into full-blown takeover mode, but she's lurking. This week, all I want you to do is notice YOUR warning signs.
Here are some of mine.
1) Keys left in the door. Random, but eerily accurate. When I rush into the house with too much on my mind, too much in my hands, and too much to get done, I often forget my keys in the lock. Finding them there is a sure sign that I'm overloaded.
2) YouTube binging. We canceled our Netflix subscription a while ago, but I can binge-watch videos just fine with YouTube.
3) Ice cream and cereal at odd hours. If you find me eating ice cream outside of dessert time and cereal outside of breakfast (with a zombie-like look on my face), something is UP.
4) No sense of humor. When my husband tries to lighten the mood with a joke and my response is this look? Warning sign. (Again: sorry honey!)
Your turn to play
What are some of the warning signs that YOUR Monster Self is on the horizon? Leaving the fridge door open? Too many days in a row without a shower? A tightness in your chest?
This week, simply notice. Notice the warning signs that a downturn could be on its way.
Don't judge, don't reprimand. With a gentle and honest heart, notice. (If you need to respond in some way, "How fascinating!" works well.)
Then, hit the 'Comments' link below and let me know your warning signs!
This is the first step towards having a more calm, compassionate outlook.
[Related: How to Avoid Your Monster Self, Step 2 and Step 3]