Letter to the Weary

I’m writing this for my future self – she’s going to need it, at some point. I thought you might like it as well. Save it, write your own, do whatever you need with this bit of care for your future self.

Dear you,

This is for a terrible day. Not the most terrible of days; not the ones where your soul has been peeled from your body and scraped across the mountain of your sorrows. For the days that are terrible, unexpectedly so, because everything just became a bit too much.

It doesn’t matter why. It doesn’t matter how you got to this point, this moment, where the sun is setting and you wish that it would take all of the shitty things that happened today with it. Whether those shitty things are huge woes or simply a huge pile of tiny frustrations, unified into terribleness.

Because I am here to give you permission to feel terrible.

Maybe I am qualified to do this, and maybe I am not. I can tell you that I have had days where I have felt like you do now. That I have wanted, sometimes had to ask, for someone to tell me what I am feeling is valid and okay. So let me remind you of this: all feelings are valid. It’s what you do with them that matters.

And right now, you need to accept that it is okay to feel terrible. It is okay regardless of the why. Maybe even regardless of the how, so long as you’re not hurting anyone, including yourself. If what you need right now is to go and smash a pint of ice cream, let yourself do that.

Do, right now, whatever you need to process that. Sit still. Don’t sit still. Let yourself come to a point where you have accepted that emotion. Those emotions. Let them do the thing that they are here to do. And when you are ready, when that is done, come back – and I will tell you how to make tomorrow better.

First of all, cancel everything you were supposed to be doing the rest of the day, if you can. If you don’t think you can, see if you can give the task to another person. This can be hard. That’s okay. But remember that you have to look after yourself before you can look after anyone else. If you really can’t get around a task, try and do it straight away, so that you have the space afterwards to process.

Now think about tomorrow. Think about what you’ve got to do, and where and how and why. This can make you feel worse. It might also make you feel better. Both, and everything inbetween, are all valid.

If there’s anything you can do to help tomorrow go easier, try and do it now. Lay your clothes for the morning out. Make your lunch or breakfast or both. Go through your list of tasks and organise them so that the future is clear. Get help now with things you’re going to struggle with.

And then, for the rest of the day – however long or short that might be – do absolutely nothing of any consequence whatsoever.

Pick the trashiest television, the most embarrassing film, the most soothing game. Read a book in the bath or go for a walk or just lie next to your cat listening to them purring. Maybe you might like to meditate, or exercise – whatever you know you love to clear your head. The important thing is that you do what you want to do, not what you think you should do.

Working out what you want can take a bit of energy. It’s worth it. Don’t be afraid to start something and change to something else if it’s not working out. Just give yourself space. Separate the terribleness of today from the moment you go to bed thinking of tomorrow.

And when tomorrow does come, remember that it is a new day. That that might mean it’s a wonderful day free of yesterday’s cares; or it might mean that it’s a new kind of terrible. But either way, it is not today. And that is enough. That is enough, for now.

You can do this.

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