A Daily Self-Care Ritual for Those Who Feel Lost in Life

By Michelle Lian on Tuesday February 28th, 2017

Finding Yourself Again

When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life. — Jean Shinoda Bolen

We all get lost sometimes.

So lost that we lose track of who we are, where we’re going, what we want, and how to give ourselves what we need to feel nourished and healthy.

I’ve been there many times, enough times to realize that it’s an inevitable part of life; to realize that it’s okay to get lost.

The triggers? They’re never predictable.

Some are subtle and prolonged, some are brief but so huge they knock me off my feet and leave me reeling from shock — the pain of not fitting in at school as a teenager; the sudden death of my father when I was away at university, my first serious breakup, the time I found myself in an emotionally abusive relationship but couldn’t work up the courage to leave, a betrayal by a friend that made me question if everything that we shared was even real.

https://upliftconnect.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/lost-sad-girl.jpgWe all feel lost sometimes.

At times like these, when I find myself down on my knees, the first thing to go out the window is my motivation to take care of myself.

I either eat too much or stop eating. I stay in bed all day. I don’t drink enough water. I drink too much alcohol. I become unkind to myself. I lose patience with myself and others.

It just feels easier to not care.

It was only in recent years, when I hit my mid-thirties, that I became aware of how repeating this cycle of behaviors wasn’t serving me in any way. In fact, they were keeping me stuck in a negative place and holding me back from healing and moving forward.

I decided to break that cycle, and give my intuition the voice and attention it deserved, by making the following self-care steps a part of my life.

Give Yourself Permission to Not Feel Motivated All the Time

I always thought that motivation was this bright, powerful flame of desire that would drive me to do what was good for me, no matter what. After all, if something was important enough, I should want to do it all the time, right?

Not really.

As time passed and I gained more experience in life, I came to realize that there will be highs and lows — so low sometimes that I’ll feel like jumping off the moving train because it feels like too much work to stay on it.

Life is a rollercoasterLife is a rollercoaster, full of ups and downs.

It’s important that you recognize this and allow yourself to be in this place, without feeling guilty about it. Give yourself the space you need to breathe and be still, then gradually start easing yourself into taking the steps you need to get to where you want to be.

Set an Intention For the Day the Minute You Wake Up

When life has knocked you off your feet, and you aren’t sure where to go, the thoughts that go through your head in the first few minutes of your day are so important. They can mean the difference between getting closer to the path of healing or drifting further away from it.

Instead of allowing negative thoughts to take center stage in my mind, the way they used to, I now guide my thoughts to these two steps the minute I wake up:

  1. I think of three things that I’m grateful for, and then…
  2. I set an intention for the day ahead. This can be something as simple as keeping my spirits up throughout the day, or something more challenging, such as coming up with ten actionable solutions for a difficult situation that I may be facing.

Your intention doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated. It just has to be meaningful to you.

Prioritize Getting Enough Restful Sleep

Over the past few years, I experienced several violent break-ins into my home, and was struggling to deal with an emotionally abusive relationship at the same time.

As a result, anxiety became a constant companion, making it difficult for me to fall, and stay, asleep.

AnxietyHaving a healthy routine before bed and ensuring enough sleep can help relieve anxiety.

Now, as I heal, making sure that I get enough sleep each night has become a priority for me, and this means having a pre-sleep ritual in place:

  • I make sure my computer is turned off by 8pm.
  • I head to bed at the same time every night.
  • I don’t drink coffee, but I love tea, so I stick to caffeine-free teas after 4pm.
  • I spend an hour before I go to bed doing something that helps me let go of the stresses, excitement, and chaos of the day. This typically means spending time with my dog and family, reading, talking to a friend, or going through a soothing yoga sequence. Within this hour, I also spend five to ten minutes questioning any stressful thoughts that I might have. I find Byron Katie’s The Work helps prevents these thoughts having as much power over me, and makes them less likely to keep me up during the night. You could use your own system; one that works for you, to support you in releasing stressful thoughts.

If you’re finding it difficult to sleep restfully for at least seven hours a night, I encourage you to start putting together a pre-sleep routine that will help calm your mind and body, and make falling and staying asleep easier.

Focus on Building Mindfulness

Having been an emotional eater since my teens, it can be easy for me to fall back into my old pattern of turning to food for comfort when stress and anxiety get the better of me.

This is why nurturing mindfulness is an important part of my daily routine, especially when things get rough.

Be mindful of your emotionsOur compulsive habits only make things worse, practise being mindful of your emotions instead.

Rather than numb myself with food, alcohol, compulsive shopping, or some other habit that helps me avoid facing the difficult emotions I’m experiencing, I acknowledge their presence, the discomfort that they’re stirring up in me, and what the old me used to do when they came up.

I then consciously make the decision not to give in to those old habits — habits that I know will ultimately drag me down, and hold me from getting back on my feet.

If you’re struggling to give up a habit that you know isn’t good for you, here’s my challenge to you: Every time you’re tempted to say yes to that box of donuts, bottle of wine, or pity party, ask yourself, “Is this going to make me stronger?” If your answer is no, move away from it.

Make Gentle Movement a Part of Your day

I know I can’t be happy and capable if my body isn’t healthy and strong, so I make time three to five times a week to exercise.

If I’m not in a good place and am running low on energy, and feel that I can’t make it through an intense workout that involves heavy equipment, I shift gears and go slow, using my own body weight for strength work instead.

Fitness isn’t always about going hard and fast all the time, or getting flat abs — it also means being able to listen to your body and spirit. Approaching it in this way can add purposeful movement into your day, that helps you build the resilience you need to deal with the anxieties of everyday life.

MovementFind forms of movement that you like, so you can happily incorporate them into your life.

Learn Something New That Will Strengthen You, From the Inside Out, Every Day

Whenever I feel stuck in a rut or painful place, my gut often tells me that it’s because I may not yet have the necessary skills, insights, or right mindset to heal and break free from it.

This is why I set a goal to learn one new thing every single day; by reading a book, blog post, listening to a podcast, or even connecting with someone who has more experience than I do. This helps me approach life, or a particular situation that I’m in, from a fresh perspective.

The internal shifts that happen don’t have to be huge, but they do add up in a way that makes a significant difference to my life: I gradually become stronger, gain more clarity, and start feeling more confident about taking that first step in a new, healthier direction.

No matter how low or lost you feel right now, I want you to know this: There’s always a way out and up, and it will always start from within you.

Words By Michelle Lian

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42 Responses to A Daily Self-Care Ritual for Those Who Feel Lost in Life

  1. Just so profound for me… right in it and have been for years : abusive childhood lost 2brothers , break ups a lot of what you said hit me. I have realised for ages years I need to stop it get the heck off now. And ur right small changes do matter and reading this today inspired me to Get up off my knees permanently! Such a great, real and Helpful actually helpful article. Thank you!

  2. Michelle,
    I found this writing a very gentle and beautiful way of making a difference in this sometimes cold and indifferent world. I shall attempt to employ these methods in my life and
    I just wanted you to know what a treasure you are for the attempt and the obvious compassion that flows through you like water flows downstream. I myself am at a cross road of sorts that I will spare you from for now as the purpose of my message is of thankfulness for your spirit and essence which are far more lovely than my simple words could ever convey. Grace and Peace be with you and be proud of your work- Warmest Regards, Scott A. Hatfield

  3. Yes,
    I agree with the text and all the thoughts and advices. When I am worrieng and feeling down,I listen to the music,mostly classic. I also take time for myself and write in my diary my thoughts and emotions.
    Read a good book,go out fior a long or short walk.
    Listen to the silence in the woods or in your garden or even on your balcony. Have a talk with a good person.
    My exoerience is,that people want to listen to you.because they also have been there and they know the feelings.

  4. I often use self-care/attentive attention ASMR videos for relaxation and healing. Having someone soothe and take care of me, give me soft positive affirmations and affection heals my soul. I sometimes cry while watching them, but it’s OK- they are healing tears.

  5. There is some really good stuff in this article, I teach young people with substance abuse addictions, and I’ve noticed their lows are what I would look at as borderline suicidal ideation. I give them journals when they enter any of my groups and tell them to write down as many gratefuls as they can. The setting the Intention for the Day was something I had not thought of and will be incorporating that in my suggestions, we do goal setting but the Intention of the day is more a simple act, sometimes the word goal setting scares them into shutting down. Thanks for the good work and take care of yourself <3

  6. Wow..this is so uplifting. I am actually going through the phase.i shall try this ritual… I can’t wait to break free!

  7. As someone with terminal cancer and physical pain I find that most of these don’t work. Sleeping is impossible with that rudimentary technique for instance, as is physical exercise. Most of my rollercoaster feels at rock bottom anyway :-/

  8. What a great write up. You open my eyes to so many things this morning. What a great way to start the day. Thank you.

  9. I can really relate to this I lost my sister 6 months ago and lost isn’t the word for it finding it so hard to get through each day and barely functioning

    • Cathrine Maguire,
      With great risk and with all due compassion may I attempt to help you with “losing” your sister? If not, just please ignore the following, OK? As a long time Spiritual follower, I choose now to say, “our deceased loved one’s are not “lost!” By our need to mourn, just maybe I’m the one who’s lost? I certainly hope you’re no offended. My thought comes only with love.

  10. What a wonderful article – so clear kind gentle and directive , obviously from a place of Knowing and experience . Felt touched and held to read it.
    I have been stuck in a fallen place of being unable to care for myself now since January. It is hard slipping further and further into self destruct losing the will to be kind to self esp when I have gorgeous 10 yr old daughter I want to model better things for and barely care for her as cannot for myself unkindness rules and 20 yr old daughter struggling ty o with her demons.
    Need new perspectives
    Thank you for your article

  11. Meditatiion is a powerful tool, which I stopped doing some time ago. I was inspired by Frank Burton’s comment, to attain peace beyonf my thoughts.I enjoyed all the commentaries I read, what a wonderful discsussion, greatly needed by those who fall off the path. Thank you

  12. Thats just how i feel perhaps i could use this information to help me , i will give it a try
    Who knows it cant make me feel any worse.

  13. I am grateful for somebody to make the effort trying to help people needing a little support to pull themselves up…..Thank you, a lot of very good advice

  14. My circumstances doesn’t have power..is I who let it in or take control. .I’m everything I just need to keep that in mind. .I’m in control. ..

  15. You are full of Compassion for the humanity. May God bless you with more more &more of true guidance to straight path so that you move rapidly in the path of Uplifting humanity.

  16. Michele, I found your article at just the right time. I’ve struggled with many self defeating behaviours for a long time, always promising myself tomorrow would be the “new start”, and feeling a failure for repeating old habits. I look forward to looking at life a bit differently.

  17. I love this article! Just reading it is an instant pick me upper! Thank you, Michele Lian, for writing this piece. I always go to this website whenever I’m stressed out about life and I’m extremely grateful to have come across this article. It is exactly what I need at this moment in time. I will definitely be taking all your advice and continue to look back on this article as a guide to change for the better. Your “Will this make me stronger?” and “..[not] allowing negative thoughts to take center stage” really resonated with me so, for now, my main focus are those two. Again, thank you and I really appreciate you!

  18. I was meant to read this today. I was feeling numb for an unknown reason, and your incredible, inspiring article has given me the tools to take the first step. Feeling beyond grateful for your words.

  19. Thank you for such intimate sharing. Beautifully honest and full of self love. You’ve inspired me, which is not easy to do to me. As a woman I prefer to do breath meditation during Yoga to release old energy in my body, I used to swim. I find Tapping a wonderful way to lessen and heal old patterns of emotional trauma also, quite profoundly. But I haven’t let go of two glasses of Red Wine, not every night though. Thanks for the support! I’ll be writing your tips down. Very simple too. Love to you.

    • I’m so honored that you found my writing inspiring, Gai, and so happy that it’s helped you 🙂 Sending you lots of love too! xo

      • Sending you lots of love too and lots of gratitude for your work ! 🙂
        I’m sure you have an amazing big heart.
        And let’s ignore those who freely try to polute you with unuseful messages haha 😉 Just keep sending light all over the world instead !
        Let’s live ! <3

    • Sending you lots of love too, Gai and Michele Lian, and lots of gratitude for your work ! 🙂
      I’m sure you have an amazing big heart.
      And let’s ignore those who freely try to pollute you with unuseful messages haha 😉
      Just keep sending light all over the world instead !
      Let’s live ! <3

  20. What’s missing in the above article is meditation. This allows me to distance myself from the thoughts passing through my mind and see their transient nature and unreality. There is great peace and spaciousness beyond those thoughts.

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