• Madhura

It is okay to be not okay.

Hello my lovely friends, welcome back to yet another episode of Morning Cup of Sunshine podcast. Welcome to all my new and regular listeners. It is a new month. We are almost to the end of this season of life goals. This is the last episode of this season, the next one will be a fun episode and after that you are going to hear from a great friend. She will be  talking all about her journey. I am also excited for the next set of life goals. I can’t wait to share with you all new goals and life lessons in a new upcoming season. I love planning and planning the things that you love? this is just plain joy. I hope you are enjoying this journey too. 


Happy Moment of the Week

Anyways, how was your September? We had a fun filled and jam packed September. We made a lot of fun memories this month. It is already fall. The weather is starting to cool down, so we enjoyed the last days of hot weather by going on a lot of trails and nature walks. Spending time with nature gave us the extra energy boost to survive the extra hectic week. Last week, we celebrated my son’s 8th birthday. He is the complete opposite of Maitreyi. She was so fixated on decoration that I had to make extra arrangements but it was easy since pretty much all the girls her age are in love with Frozen, there was a lot of readymade material available in the market. I had to make very few things at home. But my son, he is a different story. Till date, he never chose a birthday theme that easy. It is never a TV character, or any theme for which I can buy the decorations from the store. This year he is obsessed with Indian history and reads literally tons of books on the subject. This year he wanted a birthday based on all the different forts in India. He wanted a fort cake, fort decorations and a real fort built using mud and clay. That’s it that was his requirement. He didn’t ask for balloons, streamers or even gifts. He just wanted to build a fort himself. When we were kids, we used to build the forts on Diwali and absolutely enjoyed the process. Getting the bricks, the soil, getting head to toe dirty while building the fort, fighting with friends over the arrangements of soldiers are part of our fond memories. So, when he asked for the fort, I and my husband started brushing our memories. We started figuring out what can be done with the material available at home here in the US. After a lot of discussion and some valuable suggestions by Mihir and Maitreyi,we devised a plan. The week before his birthday, we started working on a fort. It was such a fun time. We laughed a lot, we argued a lot about small details, we just enjoyed every moment of it and finally it was all ready. The look on Mihir’s face, I simply can not forget that in lifetime. It was so precious. He could not believe his eyes. I am going to cherish this memory forever. This is definitely my happiest moment of the week, I am still smiling ear to ear even when I talk about it right now. I just felt so good to share a piece of our childhood with him. The feeling is simply indescribable. 

How about you? How was your week? What amazing moment you had? Just close your eyes for a minute and think of one thing that brought you absolute joy. Share it with the world. Post your happy moment of the week in our amazing facebook group. Morning Cup of Sunshine community. The post for Happy moment of the week is waiting for your response. 


Alright, let’s dive in today’s episode. It is the last one in our “It is okay” series. This topic was on my mind for so many days. Everytime, I record a goal, I always hear a sound in the back of my head. It says, “what if I don’t want to be motivated today? What if I am not feeling great to follow these steps? What if I am just not okay?” I am all for positive mindset but there could be days when you are not that motivated, refreshed, and all happy. Should we ignore those feelings? Is it not okay to be in a funk for a day? Is it not okay to feel sad? Is it not okay to feel demotivated? I started thinking about all these questions and more I thought about it, I realized, we created this mindset where everything has to be perfect , rosy and chirpy and anything that does not fit in this criteria is simply not okay. But that is not the case right. You are a human being and you will have a full spectrum of emotions ranging from happiness to grief. You have to acknowledge and accept every single emotion and that’s when I decided to record this episode. Today, we will be discussing how it is okay not to be okay. So without any further delay, let’s start discussing the steps. Shall we?


Step 1 : Give yourself permission

You think you have to be strong all the time. You think you’re not allowed to cry, to admit that you’re not okay. You shame yourself for feeling sad, unmotivated. You feel guilty for getting your emotions in the way of other’s happiness. Why? Why do you always have to be happy, chirpy and perfectly alright? You are a human being with a beating heart and mind full of all kinds of emotions. Why don’t you allow your mind to feel all those emotions? Why can’t you give permission to yourself to understand those emotions. I urge you to listen to your emotions, understand them, embrace them. I know, our goal is to be happy and content. Of course, we are on a journey to be a better version of ourselves. But that journey will have some pit stops. It will have its own share of ups and downs. I love the analogy of sunrise and sunset. Sunrise brings us a new beginning and is a symbol of hope and brightness. It is definitely beautiful, but having said that, do you think the sunset is less beautiful? Sunset might not be as chirpy and bright but it gives us a hope that there will be a tomorrow. It brings different sets of emotions. These emotions might not be exactly the same as the ones that you feel after seeing the sunrise but does that mean you stop looking at a beautiful sunset? Does that mean Sunset is all dark and fearful and should be ignored? No right? Both are equally beautiful and complementary to each other. This is exactly the same for all your emotions, not all emotions will bring you joy and happiness but that does not mean you should ignore them. Right? Allow yourself to feel the sadness, grief, boredom, anger. They are all part of your personality. Acknowledging them will allow you to understand them, work on them and emerge out of those emotions with a positive mindset. 

Let me give you one example. You know I talk a lot about self love, accepting yourself the way you are and all about positive body image on this podcast. But for the last few days, I was feeling really low about my health journey. I fell out of my routine for a week or so. I was not working out with the same intensity like before. I was in a funk. I was already not feeling great about missing the workouts but on top of that I started feeling guilty of feeling that way. I thought I always talk about all this self love and motivation on the podcast and here I am , totally unmotivated for a workout. I started feeling that Im have no right to talk about motivation if I am unmotivated. I started beating myself up for being unmotivated. I started shaming myself for recording motivational episodes. This was plain wrong. This was not the way to handle this situation. After a lot of reflection, I realized that the first step to get out of that funk is to give myself permission to be unmotivated for a day or a two. I need to accept that I am not feeling okay and it is absolutely a valid emotion. It is absolutely okay to be not okay. I accepted this , I talked about it with my husband. I devised a plan with a calm mind to get out of it. I worked on my plan and finally I came out of that funk. I restarted my fitness journey. I started enjoying my workout routine again. But I had to be patient and work on it by accepting my feelings,  by giving them permission to surface. That was the key to feel okay again. Trust me my friend, you don’t have to be perfect all the time, you can be unmotivated. It’s okay to say that you’re not okay. Yes, that’s right. Your feelings and emotions are totally valid.It is okay not to be okay, it is okay not to be perfect, we all have problems, it is absolutely okay to cry, show your emotions. 


Step 2 : Speak up

Once you acknowledge your feelings, you need to let your emotions out. Don’t suppress your emotions. Don’t pretend to be okay if you are not okay. Don’t put on masks of different emotions if you are struggling internally. It is okay if you are struggling, if you are not okay. It is hard most of the time to share your struggle. But we all struggle at some point. We all have bruises, we all feel sad sometimes. But that is why you need your tribe, your people. Speak up. Talk to your friend or family or even seek professional help. Don’t neglect those emotions. Don’t underplay your struggle. Don’t ignore it thinking it will pass on it’s own. It might pass, it might be a phase but it is always better to share your problem with someone. Share with at least one person who you are closest with. You might find a solution, a guidance from them. Sometimes even having a listening ear is sufficient to make you feel better. If there is someone who can just listen to you while you pour your heart out, then talk to that one person. You will feel lighter after that heart to heart session. I had this experience just a couple of days back. 

I was working out on my elliptical that day and my husband came into the room. We were talking about random things while I was working out. I was not feeling okay that day but I was not able to pinpoint the exact reason. I don't know what got into me but I started rambling about all my jumbled up thoughts. I told him that I know all these things are not really important if you look at them one by one but together they are creating chaos in my head. I was thinking about the upcoming project deadline. At the same time, I was worried about my son who was complaining about a headache for a couple of days due to too much screen time because of virtual learning. I was confused about my daughter’s preschool. I could not focus on my workout, I was thinking about million random things. I had few returns to make, few phone calls to make, take appointments for kid’s wellness visits. I had at least 20 distinct thoughts running through my mind at the same time. None of them was enough on its own to cause stress but together I felt as if I am sinking in a huge pile of to-dos. I was not feeling okay. There was no single emotion, I was not angry, I was not sad, I was not frustrated I was just not okay. I talked to my husband about all these thoughts and being a problem solver that he is, he helped me navigate through each one of them. After we talked I slowly started feeling like me again. I felt much more at peace after talking to him. Just admitting to him that I am not feeling okay was a crucial step. I was ready to work on it but talking to him gave me a sense of comfort. It made me feel that I have someone who is with me and is there to listen to me even when I am not  100% me, even when I am not okay. 



Step 3 : Ask for help

Do we need to even discuss this? I have an entire episode on this topic. If you are not okay, if you are overwhelmed, if you need it, ask for help. Plain and simple. There is no shame, no guilt in asking for help.  You might not be okay, but if you have someone to help you through this, you will still be standing. It is okay not to be okay. It is healthy to accept it. It is okay to not to be okay, it is brave. Feel your emotions. Have your moment for a day, a week or a month but then do something about it, ask for help, do it for yourself, for your happiness. If you are overwhelmed, hiding that overwhelm under the label of businesses, will not help you in the long run. It is better to accept it and ask for help rather than pushing through it and then suffer total burnout. You are not here to suffer and push through life with a heavy heart. Always trust, people around you love you. They would help you if you just ask for it. Do you remember the sentence in Harry Potter and the Chamber of secrets, “Help will always be given at Hogwarts  to those who ask for it” Isn’t it just a perfect quote? You have to ask for help to receive help. Just express your feelings, and ask for help. There is no shame in asking for help. Please listen to my previous episode if you are still struggling to ask for help. You will get tons of tips and tricks on how to ask for help. I will add the link to the episode in the show notes. It is simple my friend, just be real with yourself and ask your friends, family or even be ready to take help from outside if you need it. Don’t ignore your own needs. It is absolutely important to learn to accept yourself, forgive yourself, take care of yourself both physically and mentally. Learn to accept that it is okay to be not okay and then take help to make that okay. It’s okay to not be okay. You’re allowed to change your mind, to take a break or leave a situation you don’t feel comfortable in. There’s no need to blame yourself for any of those things just like there’s no need to feel bad about, feeling bad. There’s no need to feel guilty to ask for help to come out of those things. 



Step 5 : Do the work

F

inally, you need to put in some work to get out of that funk, that unmotivated phase. You need to work to be okay. I am all for accepting your feelings but I am not here for sympathy or pity. I totally understand having a full spectrum of emotions but that does not mean you stop working on yourself or never work on coming out of that dark place. It is okay not to be okay as long as you are not giving up. 

It might happen that you let those overwhelming feelings take over you. You stop taking care of yourself, you stop your workout, your journaling, meditation. You become a couch potato, eat your feelings. I understand that you are in that funk. But for how many days? Just sitting on a couch, binging on Netflix is not going to help you come out of it. Ultimately, you will start blaming yourself for being in such a bad mood. You will start blaming everyone around you. You will slip more and more into this dark place. It is you who need to come out of it. It is you who need to put in the work. It is you who need to stop playing pity parties. Just get up and get going. Start doing things that keep you sane, happy and motivated even on the hardest day of your life. Try to be on a regular schedule as much as possible. Do you like music, or listening to audio books or my podcast ? Put on your ear phones, blast that music and just get going. Start cleaning up your mess. Clean your house, if you have been neglecting it for a while.  Go for a long walk if you were missing your workouts. Write your journal if that makes you happy and grounded. Play with your kids if that brings you joy. But do something that will help you come out of this phase. You have to put in the work, my friend. Stepping on the elliptical or playing with my kids or even vacuuming the house always work for me if I am feeling unmotivated. I have a special tip for you. I have a playlist of songs, the songs that I absolutely love and the songs that are so motivating that they always get me going. This is my just in case playlist. I don’t listen to it everyday just to keep its novelty intact. But I listen to that playlist when I am trying to come out of the funk. It always gets me going. Moving my body, working out makes me forget the worries. Find your “just in case playlist” and “just in case thing” that make you feel back to normal again. It is that simple my friend. But I will reiterate what I said in the previous step, if this is not working and your not okay feeling is still clouding you, seek professional help. It is not healthy to feel sad, lonely for a prolonged period of time. Just speak to someone who can help you figure out your way out of this phase. We should all be allowed to fall apart sometimes so that we can find ourselves all over again. But we also have to put in the work to get better, right? I somehow don’t like the movies with sad endings. I sometimes feel it is incomplete if everything is not okay at the end. One should feel happy and cheerful after watching a movie. Maybe that’s why I like this quote a lot, “Everything will be okay at the end and if it’s not okay then it is not the end.”


Recap

That brought us to the end of this episode. Today, we discussed how it is okay not to be okay all the time. It does not mean you are weak. It does not mean you are incapable. It just means you are a human being. You don’t have to be perfect all the time, perfection is totally overrated. Feel your feelings, accept your feelings and then of course work on your feelings. The steps that we discussed today were

  1. Give yourself permission

  2. Speak up

  3. Ask for help

  4. Work on it.


This week try to accept yourself the way you are. Accept all your feelings, acknowledge them and just let yourself feel loved. I will leave you today with this amazing quote,”It’s okay not to be okay. Sometimes, there will be bad days, sometimes, you won’t be okay. It is okay to cry, to mourn for your losses. Stop running behind the picture perfect life.This is just a temporary phase, you will find yourself and proudly stand tall. Trust me, it is okay to be not okay, it is okay to fall, you will learn how to get up and get going”




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