You’re listening to The Work Of Becoming podcast! My name is Dr. Karin Nordin. I am your host as well as a behavior change expert and self-proclaimed tornado girl. I spent years of my life struggling to change before I finally got my PhD and learned the psychological tools that I needed to actually make those changes happen. Now, I’m bringing you five-minute sneak peeks of how I’m applying the real science of self-help to my life. Let’s get started!
Today we are gonna talk about bad days because yesterday I had a really, really, really bad day at work.
So, for those of you who were not around or maybe you missed it or maybe you don’t remember it, I had a post about boundaries do really well and get a bunch of shares, and it was very supported (it was my personal boundaries around DMs), but I started to have people comment on it and say very negative things about me. In particular, there was one very well-known industry leader who commented on it and said, “This is ridiculous,” and then shared the post in his stories and then proceeded to ridicule me in his stories and then blocked me. So, needless to say, I did a lot of crying in my car, and I was really upset.
This happened at, like, three o’clock, so I was really upset. I was crying in my car, and all I wanted to do was get Crumbl Cookies (very specifically), go home, put on my pajamas, eat them in my bed, and cry, and then scroll away the evening on TikTok. That is all I wanted to do, and when I tell you that every single fiber of my being was craving that — I was sitting in my car. I was about to drive home. I’m like, “What am I gonna do here,” and every single part of me just wanted to do that, to hide and self-soothe and numb out and not think about it anymore.
First of all, I want to clarify that emotional eating is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can be actually a really, really useful tool for emotional regulation. And so, we need to stop demonizing emotional eating, but in this situation it was not the right choice for me at the time, okay?
Here’s what I did instead. I knew in that moment that I was really upset. I knew in that moment that I was essentially like a child with their feelings that were hurt, and what I needed to do was not numb out those feelings. What I needed to do was actually let those feelings run their course. I needed to let myself be upset. I needed to let myself process. I needed to give myself time to calm down and just be in my body.
And so, what I did was I drove to Rock Creek Park in DC, which is like the only nature that we have in this city. It’s one of my favorite places. And so, I drove there, and I went for a 45-minute walk, and I sat next to the river, and I put my toes in the sand, and I just breathed. That single-handedly rescued my whole night because not only was I able to think and process there. I got a lot of perspective. I’m actually gonna talk about that for a minute.
So, when I got there, I was feeling upset, wrecked, mad, sort of hurt, and as I was walking, I’m in the nature, which, obviously, we know that there’s scientific evidence that nature kind of calms you down and brings you back to yourself. But as I was walking, because I was in that scenario, because I had taken the time to take care of myself, all of a sudden I started to reframe what was happening.
I actually Voxered my team and my business coach, and I was like, “Listen, y’all. This is the standard of the industry. The standard of the industry is unpaid labor, and people get really mad when you don’t do that unpaid labor. Especially when women and people of color don’t do unpaid labor, it really pisses people off.”
I, as someone who owns a business that is growing, can be the one to raise the standard. I can be the one to pay my coaches well. I can be the one to say, “No, nutrition coaches, health coaches, life coaches, you are not going to be told that your experience and your perspective doesn’t matter, and you have to give it away for free to get clients. That’s not it.
And so, all of a sudden, I left this walk totally empowered by the situation that had happened, and had I gone home and ate my Crumbl Cookies in my bed, sure, I might have been a little bit less upset, but I never would have been able to actually process those emotions and reframe the situation into something that’s empowering. I genuinely woke up today so motivated. I was like, “Yes! We are gonna do this. We are gonna bust this industry wide open,” etcetera, etcetera. I’ll go into that on another podcast, okay?
The other thing is that it turned around the rest of my night because I was really headed for the fuck-its. I was really headed for the zone where I’m like, “Fuck exercise. I don’t need to do that.” (I’m gonna say the F word a lot. Just turn it down if you have a little ones in the car.) “Fuck it, I’m not gonna exercise. Fuck it, I’m gonna eat whatever I want to for dinner. Fuck it, I’m not gonna hit my plants today. Fuck it, I’m gonna stay up late and scroll.” That was the trajectory that I was headed towards.
Instead, I got home, I gave my partner a big hug, he made dinner, we spent some time watching some low-stakes television together, and I took care of myself. I did my bedtime shower. We ate a really healthy dinner that made me feel amazing, and I went to bed. I was able to wake up today and be in neutral and be in empowered, peaceful Karin.
So, if you have a bad day, remember that A) it’s never too late to turn that bad day around, and B) ground yourself. Do what you need, not necessarily what you want in that moment.
PS: if you are on a journey to become a better you, and you want to learn the tools and techniques that will actually help change your life, make sure you check out my Change Academy Membership. Each month, we do a 1.5-hour workshop on a different psychological topic, but we also provide resources like journal prompts, worksheets, and trackers. We host community events and more. If you’re struggling to close the gap between knowing what to do and actually doing it, this membership was built for you. Go to www.bodybrainalliance.com/change-academy to learn more!