Ever had one of those amazing weekends where it feels like you’re in a time warp of productivity, fun, and relaxation all wrapped up into three days?
You get all the house stuff done, everyone pitches in. You eat the most delicious and nutritious food. You have time for yourself, your kids, your spouse and even friends! Everything comes together and you go to bed at night feeling fulfilled, grateful to the brim, and deliciously tired.
Life is good. All is well.
And then it happens. The next morning feels like a train hit you.
This happened to me on Thanksgiving weekend. It was a mindblowingly productive weekend! I made a turkey dinner for us and two extra families, reorganized our closets and bedrooms with new furniture, visited a favourite cafe at an orchard, played games with my kids, watched movies, laughed, loved it all.
And then it happened:
I woke up Tuesday morning and felt like I had been dragged through the coals.
I was down in the dumps.
Nothing felt good enough.
I felt like I wasn’t doing, being or having enough.
Like someone unplugged the sun and now I was cold, dark and so far away from everything I wanted.
As I journaled about what could possibly be happening I had some old beliefs pop up. Beliefs that I thought I had dealt with already.
Was I back on the hamster wheel again?
The truth was that so much good had happened during the weekend that it was too much of a good thing. And now I was recoiling.
The old one step forward, two steps back routine.
I had a full blown gratitude hangover.
It’s so easy to feel like we’re back on the hamster wheel because those negative emotions are so familiar. And the contrast is so stark that our mind immediately jumps to thinking we’ve done something wrong.
And on days like that, we’re in danger of reinforcing that old belief that if something good happens you don’t deserve it, and its close cousin, that if something bad happens it’s your fault.
The Cure for the Gratitude Hangover
The first step to overcoming this a gratitude hangover is awareness.
Instead of diving head first, into feeling sorry for ourselves and reinforcing our negative state of mind, we can begin to observe what we’re feeling, thinking and saying to ourselves.
The second step is telling ourselves the truth.
It can be tough to look at ourselves objectively when we feel shitty and when what we really want is to just feel safe and crawl back into bed.
When observing yourself and listening to your inner dialogue, can you tell yourself the truth about what’s really going on?
What you’re thinking?
What you’re feeling?
What old stories are coming up for you?
It can be helpful to write these things down so that we can see them black on white.
This is a prime opportunity to see where you’re at and what beliefs are still lurking inside you that are causing this type of gratitude hangover to happen. For me, the belief that was coming up was “I don’t have enough time.” I woke up already thinking about my long to do list and it instantly overwhelmed me.
You don’t have to like what you’re saying to yourself, you don’t have to try to change it in this moment, and you certainly don’t have to judge it. You only want to tell yourself the brutally honest truth about it so that you can take the next steps to feel better. I had definitely dealt with that belief before but since it was back again, I figured I must have more to clean up.
The third step is choosing consciously.
When we’re aware of what’s causing our inner turmoil we have more choice. We may not like any of the choices at first glance and begin to tell ourselves stories about feeling stuck. The first choice we can make is to shift our focus from those old stories to gratitude and appreciation.
If it was possible for us to feel amazing the day before, it’s possible at any time. Sometimes getting to that feel-good place simply takes more energy input.
Again, making lists of what we’re grateful for, what we have enough of, how we are enough already in that moment, and how we’re already doing enough has the potential to shift our entire state of mind.
Days like that may initially feel less productive and effective. But it’s usually a matter of perspective. While you’re taking the time to work on your mindset, you may not be taking action elsewhere. However, all the to do’s on your list will feel like a major drag and take longer if your mind and emotions are in turmoil. Whereas tasks seem to take no time at all when we’re feeling great! Just remember to the weekend you had!
Try it out. The next time you have a gratitude hangover stop and notice what’s going on with you, be truthful about your inner dialogue and the old stories that are coming up for you, and then consciously choose to see, feel, and be enough.
Let me know how it works for you in the comments.
If you haven’t already downloaded my Feel Safe Feeling Experience, you can grab it here. It’s an audio course where you learn how to manage your negative emotions and release them so you can get past your past and respond instead of reacting.