You are currently viewing Episode 137 – Treading Water

Episode 137 – Treading Water

You know those days where everything feels like it’s going wrong and you are just barely keeping your head above water? In this week’s episode of the Smooth Stones Podcast I’m sharing something you’ve probably never heard before! It’s my secret to planning for the hard days so you can be kind to yourself instead of feeling awful.

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Hey, friends. Welcome. I am so glad you’re here. If you’re new. An extra special welcome if you’ve been here a while. Oh my goodness. I appreciate you so, so much. One of my goals this year is to really grow this podcast and help more people. So I’m gonna ask all of you listening, will you please think of one friend who needs a how-to guide for life after loss, and send them a link to your favorite episode or something that touched you, or just share what we’re doing over here.

It would mean so much to me. I will absolutely love you forever and appreciate it. And also I just know how important it is to, you know, if you love something, recommend it to someone else. I. That’s the thing I love about podcasts is it’s so personal. I love getting to be in your ear while you’re going for a walk or doing your laundry or hanging out with your family, going for a drive.

But I also love how it can just reach infinite numbers of people all around the world. It’s so fun when I look on my podcast host and see like all the countries where this, um, podcast has been downloaded. It’s so, so cool. I love it. I love. Podcasting, and I love listening to podcasts, so please share.

Thank you so much. All right. Today we’re gonna talk about a really important tool that I actually can’t believe I haven’t done a podcast episode about, but what I’m gonna call it is treading water. This is going to be a really, really useful episode for you, and it’s gonna help you on those really hard days.

Let’s talk about it. What things are hard for you? I want you to ask yourself the question, when do I struggle the most? What is hard for me? When do I find myself just feeling like I’m failing? I’m not getting it done. I am like at my absolute worst. My behavior is the worst. My productivity is the worst.

My just all of it is rough. That’s what this is for. It’s for the hard days, the grief days, the days that are milestones, when there’s milestones coming up and you start feeling it when you’re just busy, like, I don’t know about you, but I feel like I don’t even try to put my kids into every single activity, and yet, It just always feels really overwhelming the week before your period’s starting or you’re on your period or you have a migraine or you got in a fight with your partner Yesterday, um, maybe you had to sleep in a bunk bed.

I just went to a retreat and I loved it. The only part I did not love was I was staying in a bunk bed with a friend, and I don’t know, there’s just something about a top bunk that is not for people above. I don’t know what age children, let’s just say adults should not be on top bunks. Maybe you are postpartum.

Maybe you’ve just had a, your loss and your body is figuring things out and you’ve got hormones and you’re tired, or you’re pregnant after loss and you have hormones, and you’re tired, and you’re scared. All of these things, whatever you find difficult, this is what this tool is for, and you are going to love it.

The thing is, when we have those kind of days, and I guess overall we would just call them bad days, when we have a bad day, a lot of times what we do is we tell ourselves that we’re failing, that we’re awful, that we shouldn’t be acting the way we are, we should be doing more. We should be doing things differently.

We all have this inner critic and this narrator in our head that is constantly telling us we’re messing it up and. Sometimes that part of our, our brain will even say you’re messing it up permanently. Um, for example, if you yelled at your kids or you said something mean, a lot of times our brain will be like, you’re really gonna mess these kids up.

Like they’re gonna need therapy when they’re older. And guess what? They all do, everybody does. Uh, but yeah, we just start going down this, this. Rabbit hole of worst case scenario, and we just feel more and more terrible. So we’re already having a bad day, and then our inner critic starts going, and then our inner critic starts projecting out into the future.

And before you know it, you can just feel terrible, and then it goes around and around because once you feel terrible about yourself, You’re much more likely to continue the behavior that you don’t like, and I want you to really listen to this part. Feeling bad about your bad behavior does not make it better.

It actually makes it worse. A lot of us have grown up in maybe, I would say at least with Christian religions or a lot of religions or just general like morality is we should feel bad when we do something bad. That’s important, right? We need to feel guilt cuz it tells us we’ve messed up. And I believe that’s true to some extent, but this is the switch.

That coaching can give you that I want you to try on. A lot of people are resistant to this at first cuz it’s kind of just so amazing that we think it’s unbelievable. But this is really important when you mess up, you don’t have to feel guilt or shame or beat yourself up. You do not have to tell yourself that you’re a terrible person, a terrible mother, a terrible spouse, a terrible whatever.

You could just love yourself and you could just allow for there to be some bad behavior sometimes because you’re a human, and that is just part of being a human. We are not supposed to be perfect all the time. We’re not supposed to be perfectly well behaved all the time, like we were told growing up.

We’re just supposed to be human, and sometimes that means that we yell. Sometimes that means that we gossip or we say something we shouldn’t have. Sometimes that means that we don’t get the laundry folded or we leave it in the washing machine. Sometimes that means you know that we. We let our fears drive us.

We don’t step up, we hide, we, you know, we, we come from our, what we would call, you know, the worst version of ourselves. That’s okay. That’s part of being human. And as soon as you can love and have compassion for yourself, life changes. Cuz we have been told so many times that it’s so important to feel terrible and to.

Punish ourselves. Like we need to be punished for a bad behavior in order to change. But I want you to think about any time that punishing yourself or punishing someone else or telling them what a loser they are, how terrible they are. How does that work? Like you think about a child who spills milk.

This is a classic thing, right? If the parents are like, what is wrong with you? Why did you do that? Why don’t you pay more attention? What is your problem? Right, like you’re so clumsy. Like if you really think about basically like verbal abuse, I feel bad just saying all this stuff out loud. But we all know that that’s probably happened to us.

We’ve probably done that without meaning to and feel terrible about it. But what if we just know that sometimes kids spill their cups of milk cuz they’re learning how to deal with their bodies and their bodies are growing and like they’re not paying attention, they’re paying attention to the their dinner and they just aren’t paying attention to their cup of milk.

So spills happen. What if we just love them and say, oops, let’s get a towel. And nobody has to yell and nobody has to be upset, and we just are kind and we just say, Hey, like you could put your cup a little farther up on the table that would help you not spill it next time. It’s not a big deal like we love you.

Right? How different does that feel? That is what I’m teaching you today. What we’re gonna do is we’re gonna stop. Punishing ourselves. We’re gonna stop berating ourselves and we’re just going to plan ahead for those days where life is hard and we are not at our best and most favorite version of ourselves.

So I want you to know that the key to treading water, which is what I’m calling this, is that we need to choose to do it on purpose. We make a plan. We make a plan that includes some of our worst behaviors. So, Think about your day. That’s hard. Maybe it’s today. Maybe it’s when your hormones are outta whack.

Maybe it’s when you’re near an anniversary, you’re gonna make a plan and it is gonna be all the things that you probably berate yourself for this plan to tread water. Is gonna include things like, I’m gonna stay in bed and eat chocolate. I’m not gonna get up. I’m going to be in a rush getting the kids to school.

I am going to forget things. I am going to, um, avoid people that I don’t wanna talk to. I, I will snap at my husband and I will snap at my kids and I will get really annoyed with the dog. You get to decide on purpose that these are the things you’re gonna do on the days that all you’re trying to accomplish is to tread water to keep your head above water.

And I really want you to have fun with this cuz that’s what we wanna do with coaching, right? Have fun with it. Of course, we’re not gonna put anything that’s like. You know, illegal or terrible on here, but really look at the things you do that you’re most ashamed of, that you tell yourself you shouldn’t do that.

Even people around you might say, Hey, you need to cut that out, like that’s not okay, and just plan on it and make a plan. Because what happens if we have this plan and we’re saying, this is my treading water plan? Then when it happens, when you find yourself doing it, You’re gonna be like, yeah, this is what I’m supposed to do.

This day is really, really hard. Um, for me, a lot of times, and for a lot of my clients, you kind of like have this big buildup and fear in whatever, on an anniversary or like October 15th or whatever it is. And then it’s actually the day after that feels really just overwhelming. Or this grief wave or like, you’re, you’re fine.

You know, you’re, you’re kind of managing all the things and then it’s the day after if you just plan for that and you just say, yeah, on October 16th I’m gonna sit in my bed and eat junk food and wa binge watch some show and let my kids play video games all day. And I’m not gonna feel terrible about it cuz this is my plan.

What would that be like? How much weight would you lift off your shoulders if you just could do this? And it goes against everything we’ve been taught. So that’s what I’m saying, just have fun with it. Play with it. Like laugh with it. Even just put the worst, you know? Um, just whatever. Just put it on there and plan for it and say, Yeah, I’m gonna love myself cuz all I’m trying to do is keep my head above water.

I’m just treading water today. Sometimes treading water, keeping our head above water means we’re gonna float too. We’re gonna lay back, we’re gonna relax. We’re just going to breathe and do nothing else. So I want you to even take a breath now. Take a breath with me. Okay? And just think on those days where you are fighting, it’s kind of like.

You know, I was listening to somebody talk about riptides and how they’ll pull you out to the ocean, and what happens is people fight, right? They freak out and they get scared and they ke start flailing and trying to go against the current. But actually, if you would kind of relax and just let the current take you, it actually curls back towards the shore and you can swim out of it.

If you swim with it, you’re actually gonna be fine. But when we fight it, that’s when we get exhausted and that’s when we get into trouble and we get just stuck and we get pulled down. So what I want for you to do is to stop fighting the days where you feel like you’re being pulled out to see like you’re drowning.

And I want you to say kind things to yourself and I want you to say, yeah, today I’m just gonna tread water. And this is what it looks like and you just have it in your head. Write it on a little note and keep it in your bedside table. Like, what do I do on the days where I just need to keep my head above water?

And then you do it. This is pure magic. I’m telling you. I want you all to try it and then come over and talk to me on Instagram at amy dot Smith Zone’s coaching. We’re gonna be talking about this, but I want you to say, what is my treading water plan? What are the things that are on there? Yours might be totally different than mine.

But this is what I see for me and my clients when you can do this. When you say, like, on the day I have a pregnancy after loss appointment, I’m just gonna be terrified. I’m gonna like practically throw up in the car. I’m going to try to keep myself busy and distract myself, and then really just feel terrible.

I’m gonna forget all the questions I wanted to ask my doctor because I forgot what Amy told me, which was right down your question so you don’t forget them. And I’m going to just be really grouchy all leading up to it, and I’m gonna be really exhausted all the rest of the day after my appointment.

That’s what you can do. This is so good for pregnancy after loss. I, I use this with all my clients just to understand that it’s okay. And if we plan ahead and we know this is what I’m gonna do on the hard days where I feel like I’m drowning. I’m gonna do the bare minimum and I’m gonna feel awesome about it because I’m choosing this.

It is a freedom like you have never experienced. So that’s what I have for you today. Make a treading water plan. You might be feeling it today. You might not be either. Time is great. Just look, if you’re in it, just observe what you’re already doing. That’s your plan. Uh, and if you’re not in it, Then think about what you wanna do.

What do you normally do on hard days and how do you wanna show up? Because we don’t always have to be at our best. Sometimes our best is really crappy, but when we do it on purpose and we’re kind to ourselves, it changes everything. What it feels like, if I could describe what it feels like is just grounded, calm.

Confident, honestly, cuz the people around you, they might not like it. They might come in and be like, whoa, what is happening? What are you doing? You’re just like, yeah, I’m treading water today. That’s all I need to do. You know what? The dishes and the everything is gonna wait. It’s gonna be there tomorrow when you feel better.

And also what sometimes happens, but this is never the goal, but what sometimes happens is if you give yourself permission to just tread water, You’re actually gonna ease into it and you’re gonna feel like you get a little bit of energy back, right? Just like we don’t wanna swim against that riptide, we wanna go with it.

You get more energy, you get more confidence if you’re like, I’m gonna get out of this, instead of just flailing around and you know, basically making it so much harder for yourself. I hope you have a great day. I hope you really implement this. Try this one. See what happens. You do not have to be mean to yourself on the days that you are not the person you want to be.

It’s okay. We all have days like that. Get some chocolate. Get your favorite movie, pop it in. Have a good cry. It’s all good. I love you. Hang in there. I’ll see you next time. Are you tired of feeling like your baby was somehow your fault? Go tostones coaching com and get my free minicourse. How to stop blaming yourself After Loss.

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