Everything comes eventually to an end. From the smallest to the largest. I remember being younger and suffer from the Sunday blues. In simple terms, a kind of despair brought by every weekend ending. It usually started around Sunday afternoon, me feeling sluggish and dragging myself until late evening doing my best to delay the end of the day.
It may sound silly, but it was kind of a big thing during my teen years. If I close my eyes, I still have an image of myself laying down in bed, binge-watching whatever TV series was trending then until exhaustion would catch up with me.
This scenario followed me through most of my college years and after I started my first job. Every Sunday evening meant that the weekend was about to end. And I simply could not accept it. As you can imagine, this was not the best way to approach the upcoming week. Nights were far from well rested, not to mention the Monday mornings ordeals.
You might have been impacted – or still being – by the Sunday blues yourself. Or perhaps you are wondering how I could have wasted so much time and energy in such an ordinary life fact. I am grateful that this is not my reality any longer.
A few months after starting a new job in the HR world, I decided to put a stop to it. One day I opted for a different perspective: I would start honoring Sunday endings. I realized I was wasting half of Sunday – meaning a third of my weekend – feeling languid and depressed, instead of enjoying it. After all, weekends are great! We get to do whatever we enjoy the most. And we should be able to choose how they end.
Moreover, with the end of a weekend also comes the beginning of a week. A whole week where you get to show up at your best when you are in the right mindset. And what a difference does it make!
Though this example falls into the category of ‘small endings’, it is supposed to show how much we are influenced by our own preconceptions, thoughts and feelings. As well as the power within us to change them if we want to. Surely, I could have written about other sort of endings. Such as a relationship breakup, an interrupted pregnancy, the loss of a loved one. Regardless of the ending you are going through it deserves to be honored before a new chapter begins.
This week we look at 5 ways to learn how to cope with an ending by honoring it with all the reverence and compassion it deserves.
1. Give yourself time: We live in a world where we are constantly rushing as if we were being chased. We are always in a hurry, late to be somewhere. We rush in the morning to get ready to work, we rush in the afternoon to leave work. We just want to quickly go by the supermarket or swing by a friend’s place. When something comes to an end – expected or not – it forces us to stop. We try to deal with it with the usual rush to then realize it does not work that way. Time. You need time to let it go, to adjust, to heal. Allow yourself that time, even when you have no clue how long it may take.
2. Acknowledge your feelings: Endings are never easy being hard to predict how we are going to feel. Regardless of being an apparently insignificant ending or a deeply sorrow one, any emotions can be triggered. The first step is to acknowledge what you are feeling. Check in with yourself, sit with your feelings for a bit. It may be helpful to write them down as they come in your journal or notebook. In case you are a visual person, you may find pictorial representation useful, so go ahead and make use of your drawing skills. Whatever approach you use it is up to you, insomuch as you do not shove down your feelings, rather let them flow as they come leaving judgement and guilt aside.
3. Practice acceptance: Letting our feelings come and go as they please without judging ourselves is already a challenge for most of us. When you manage to do that, you are ready to follow to the next stage. This one involves accepting what you are feeling, even when you do not understand all the ‘whys’ behind. Acceptance means being able to release, to let go of. Not only your feelings, but also what that ending represents to you. It means detaching yourself from what ended even when it stings and hurts, especially in these situations. Perhaps start small, think about a recent ending in your life and practice letting it go. Hold that moment in your mind, visualize it, and then release it without rushing it to grab it back.
4. Connect with positive people: I want to stay positive! – you tell yourself first thing in the morning hoping you can keep this intention throughout the day. For the most part it depends on you, for sure. You get to decide what impacts your attitude and your mindset. You choose how to channel your emotions focusing on the positive side of things. With that being said, some people can really get you in a bad mood! Their way of being, of expressing themselves and relating with others is toxic. If you are processing something that recently ended, they are likely not providing the kind of support and cheering that you need. Take a hard look around and do your best to get away from them. Instead, surround yourself with positive people. Those who can offer a kind word or show a friendly gesture while you cope with your ending.
5. Be kind to yourself: Being patient and understanding with yourself is an act of kindness you should practice as often as possible. Usually, we tend to get angry or blame ourselves when things do not happen according to our expectations. When it comes to endings we want, once more, to rush the healing and move forward as quickly as we can. However, our heart, mind and spirit are the ones guiding us through this process. Meaning that the best we can do is to respect its rhythm. If we force the process, we may end up with deeper and more permanent scars. Let the healing run its course while you are kind and compassionate to yourself.
You do not want endings to hold you back, rather to prepare you for new beginnings. You do not wish to become prisoner of the past, rather to get enthusiastic about the future. One way of doing so as proposed here is to honor each ending, no matter how small it may seem. Honoring an ending means above all to give yourself time and show yourself kindness while the healing process takes place.