113. How to Show Up When Your Life Gets Turned Upside Down

If you ever wonder how you can strike a healthy balance between processing and feeling emotions AND showing up in your life, I talk about how I recently did this on this week’s episode of the podcast.

I hope you enjoy! xo, Janeen

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[00:00:00] Janeen: Well, welcome back to another episode of the podcast. We are talking about how to get things done when it feels like your life turns upside down. I am Janeen Alley, and as always, I am really excited to be with you guys today. recently, I had one of my clients ask me how to function when you’re feeling really big emotions.

[00:00:20] And I knew I had to do a podcast on this because this has been my life recently. So in her experience, one of her kids had just gone back to college and she was surprised how sad she felt. She was particularly surprised with these emotions because it was his second year of college and she didn’t remember feeling sad the year before. I can relate, I understand where she’s coming from, but these emotions kind of blindsided her. She didn’t really think she was going to feel as sad as she did.

[00:00:52] She noticed that she was falling back on two of her kind of go-to buffers, reading and eating. So if you [00:01:00] are unfamiliar with what buffers are, buffers are things we do in our lives to escape our feelings that create a net negative in our lives. So that means that our buffers give us a negative outcome. So if we overeat, for example, we gain weight or if we drink alcohol, it creates a hangover or maybe a dependency later on. You might be surprised that reading is included in her list of buffers, but we can even use things that are seemingly good for us, like reading or exercise, to escape our lives. So it’s anything that we’re doing really to procrastinate on something.

[00:01:34] So what I want to tell you before I dive into my experience and my story as part of my episode today, I know sometimes it’s tempting for us to compare our situation with someone else’s.

[00:01:45] I know sometimes we can minimize our own emotional experience because we don’t feel like it warrants as big of an emotional experience as someone else because of their circumstance. We feel [00:02:00] like their experience or their circumstance is bigger or it’s more devastating. And so we shouldn’t be feeling how we are feeling because our experience isn’t quite like theirs.

[00:02:11] So we try to minimize what it is that we’re feeling. So if you do this and I have done this in the past, I’m much better at catching myself when I do this. So when we do this, I want you to just stop. It doesn’t necessarily matter what has happened in the sense that we feel emotions. We don’t need to judge the reasons why we feel, we just feel things.

[00:02:33] And I know for myself, I can cry at a commercial and it’s still sad. And it doesn’t mean that my sadness isn’t as worthy as someone else’s sadness who has experienced a loss. Okay. It’s still sadness. But what happens is when these emotions become all consuming and we don’t process them in a healthy way, we feel out of control.

[00:02:56] We become kind of nonfunctioning. So, what I wanted to talk about [00:03:00] today is how you can continue to show up without allowing these emotions, these really big emotions to consume you like grief or anxiety or sadness or frustration. Now I have to tell you I’m not a therapist, I’m not a grief counselor. I’m a life coach. I’m gonna share with you what I’ve experienced lately. And I’m going to tell you what has helped me to move forward and what has helped me to show up the way that I want to in my life.

[00:03:28] Okay. So we had big plans for labor day weekend. We were gonna go to my aunt uncle’s house in Iowa, and they have this beautiful farm and their house is just a lot of fun.

[00:03:41] And my aunt and uncle are a lot of fun. This was on my dad’s side of the family. And I was really looking forward to seeing my immediate family, my parents, and my siblings and their families. And then also my cousins and all the games that we were gonna play and all the swimming and all of the things. I was really, really looking forward to being with my family.

[00:03:59] And this is [00:04:00] something that we’ve actually talked about for over a year. And even though Thomas and Merrill, my oldest son and my husband, weren’t going to be together with us on this weekend, I was still really looking forward to being with my family. Well week before labor day weekend, my sister-in-law, my sweet sister-in-law, Angela, passed away and it was somewhat expected.

[00:04:18] She passed away from cancer and her decline was pretty fast. And I was probably a little bit more blindsided by her passing, then maybe somebody else. We didn’t live in the same state as she did. And she has sent a lot of hopeful and a lot of positive text messages about how she was doing. And so I was kind of going off of that.

[00:04:40] So when she ended up in the hospital and she passed away, it seemed very quick to me.

[00:04:45] So if you’ve been following along on the podcast, you know that I had a brand new product launch that was happening the following week. It was happening on September 7th. So I had this really big family party planned. And so a lot of the launch pieces were already in place, [00:05:00] but you guys, I’m not a robot.

[00:05:02] As human beings, we are not robots. We need to be able to allow for the human experiences that we are having. And I’m gonna tell you the decisions that I made, and they might not be the same decisions that you would make in your life. And that is okay. I’m not telling you that the decisions were right or wrong.

[00:05:20] I’m telling you why I made those decisions and how I was able to support myself. And that is the important piece of this episode today.

[00:05:29] So I’m not a robot. But I am a business owner and I enjoy being my own boss. I enjoy calling the shots. I enjoy the flexibility of my life. I love that part. But I also value showing up and I also value keeping commitments and it takes a lot for me to reschedule something on my calendar and in my life. Not just in my business, but with my kids and my family and my friends as well. Now I have to tell you, because we had this big weekend planned [00:06:00] with family. I already had a lot of pieces in place for my launch. I already had the podcast recorded.

[00:06:07] I already had the emails automated and written and all of that. So at this point in the game, It would’ve been more difficult for me to cancel the launch physically with all the pieces in place. And I knew that if I moved forward with the launch, I had to be able to support myself emotionally and mentally because y’all like I just said, I am a human being and I loved my sister-in-law Angela. I was heartbroken when I heard she was in the hospital. And of course I was heartbroken when she passed away.

[00:06:40] She was the type of person who was the life of the party. And she lived a very full and fun and beautiful life. So I am going to miss her for the rest of my life. So, like I said, I’m not gonna be able to turn off these emotions, these emotions of grief and sadness, not just my own grief and my own sadness, but my [00:07:00] concern for my husband who was deployed, who is finding out all of this information by himself, but also my grief and sadness for my brother-in-law Nate and his family.

[00:07:09] So all of that is happening at the same time. Looking forward to this trip to Iowa, the loss of my sister-in-law and all of the emotions that came up with that. And the same time my husband Merrill is making plans to come back to the states for her funeral.

[00:07:24] So if you’re brand new to my world, my husband has been, been deployed for about five months. And so I was really, really excited to see him. And one of the keys for me is to know that I can’t make room for all of the emotions. That I am experiencing.

[00:07:42] I can make room for the disappointment of not being able to see my family in Iowa. I can make room for the grief of the loss of my sister-in-law and I can make room for the excitement of being able to see my husband and I don’t need to minimize any of the emotions that I’m feeling because [00:08:00] of other circumstances.

[00:08:01] So let me give you an example of this. I never once told myself, well, "I’m excited to see my husband, but not under these circumstances." I never said that. I was just excited to see my husband. I was really, really happy that he was coming home. That was it.. Did you notice that I didn’t say "even though it was for a funeral." I didn’t say that. I didn’t tell myself that I was able to hold space for all of the things that were coming up.

[00:08:28] Now, all of these things are happening and my launch is also happening at the same time. I’ve got pieces in place right now for these things to happen. And I was also really excited. I was really nervous about launching my brand new product as well. So I knew that if I did not manage these emotions well, I would get stressed and I would get overwhelmed.

[00:08:53] And in a launch, there are many moving parts. There’s the marketing material that has to go out. There’s the sales [00:09:00] emails, there’s the sales page, there’s the webinar I was planning. There’s the social media. And all of that needed to happen. And most of it was already completed and done, but I still needed to give a live webinar. I still needed to post some things on social media. And of course I still needed to show up for my new students and I needed to continue to show up for my current clients that I was supporting.

[00:09:23] But here’s the good news: I knew I had the tools. Both physically, emotionally and mentally to pull it off and to do a good job. I just needed to be really intentional with my time use. So when I was working, I was working .When I was spending time with my family, I was present with them. When I was spending time with my sweet husband, I was present with him. And I was continuing to support my kids who were also having their own grief experiences.

[00:09:51] They were also having their own swirls of emotion and all of that. So I had to decide, I had to make some decisions: what was I going to do? [00:10:00] Was I gonna continue to move forward with my plans to be in Iowa with my family? Was I going to allow my kids to have the option to go to the funeral or the reunion?

[00:10:08] I needed to get quiet in order to make the decisions that I wanted to make. And I didn’t want to make these decisions based off of what I felt like I should do, but instead what I wanted to do. What did I want to do? Where did I want to be? And the tricky thing was I really wanted to be in both places. I really wanted to be with my family and I really wanted to be with my husband’s family.

[00:10:35] But I made the choice in the end to go to the funeral. And I was really glad that I did. I was really glad that I was there with my husband. I was really glad I was able to celebrate Angela’s life and be with all of his siblings and his mom and all of my nieces and nephews. So, how do we show up for things?

[00:10:51] What were some of the tools that I was using in order to do this? Because it was not easy. It was not easy, my friends feeling a lot [00:11:00] of emotions and making space for ourselves to be human and to continue to show up for life is a dance. It’s a balance that we have to create in our lives. So the first thing that I did, and I’ve kind of talked about this already, I had to make room for all of the emotions.

[00:11:17] So not just all of the uncomfortable emotions, the grief and the sadness and the disappointment that I was feeling, but the good ones as well. I didn’t need to feel guilty for feeling joy or happiness or excitement at the same time that I was feeling heartbreak and grief. I knew that I could make space for all of them, not necessarily at the same time, but I needed to throughout my day and throughout the week, make sure I was checking with myself to feel the things that I was feeling.

[00:11:47] Like I said, I was really, really excited to see my husband, but I didn’t need to downplay that excitement to myself because I felt like there was a hole in my heart. And notice how I said to myself, [00:12:00] That is really important. We want to be sensitive to what other people are feeling, and we want to be able to make space for them to feel the things that they’re feeling.

[00:12:10] I mean, my husband just lost his sister and he might not have the same tools and the ability to make space for all of things. If he didn’t seem as excited to see me as I was to see him, that was okay. I could make space for him to have his emotions as well.

[00:12:27] Okay. The second thing I wanna say is you want to be intentional about feeling whatever it is that you’re feeling. So I feel like I’m a pretty transparent person, but there are places that I feel like are not appropriate to express exactly how you’re feeling when you’re feeling it. So let me give you an example of this.

[00:12:48] So my sister-in-law passed away on Monday. My husband flew into town on Wednesday and he flew into town in the afternoon. I teach two yoga classes on Wednesday night. [00:13:00] One of them is a regular hatha class that starts at six o’clock, and I could have canceled the class.

[00:13:06] I could have reached out to my boss and had him take the class off the schedule, but there are already 25 people who were signed up for that class. The other class is a combination of yin and restorative yoga and it was the first night of a six week block that I was teaching

[00:13:23] there wasn’t any way that I could find a sub for that class. And so I figured, "well, I would like to really teach my yin restorative class tonight. I might as well teach my hatha class too." And that worked out just fine for me. So I went to teach my class. And even though I’ve been teaching this Wednesday evening class for the last four years, my hatha class that starts at six.

[00:13:42] I have become friends with a lot of my students, but I did not feel the need to share all the things that I was experiencing and all of the feelings that I was feeling. I am not there to socialize. I am there to serve them. I am there to deliver a fantastic class and it’s not about [00:14:00] me. And I knew that as a professional and so I didn’t say a word about what was going on in my life. I did the best that I could. I taught a great class and I finished my night. That was it. I just took a deep breath and I told myself, I could feel all of my feelings later, but right now I need to show up and I need to be present with my students.

[00:14:19] So the way that I did that was I kind of think about it a little bit as compartmentalizing emotions. Like I see you grief. I see you disappointment, and I’m gonna feel you later. But here’s the kicker. I kept my word to myself. I set the time aside later to feel all the things that were coming up. And I didn’t just do it once. I had to do it many times during the week.

[00:14:45] So here’s the thing with planning to feel. You can’t necessarily force feelings and like, I I sometimes will plan to go on a walk to feel things, but I can’t force a good cry if I’m not feeling it in the moment. I just [00:15:00] allow myself space to feel whatever comes up.

[00:15:02] Sometimes those emotions are there. Sometimes they’re a little bit more difficult to access based off where I’m at, but I set the time aside and inevitably something comes up eventually over time. Those emotions start to surface over time as I am regular with allowing myself to feel.

[00:15:20] So the way that I do this is, like I said, I just set the time aside to check in with myself and be intentionally quiet so that I can think and feel. So this happens for me sometimes when I’m in the car alone after I drop off one of my children I’ll turn off the music. I will just drive. Sometimes I’ll roll down the windows so that I can, I think the wind helps me to just feel things I don’t know. I love to go for walks. I love to take myself out to lunch by myself. I’ll do an emotional exploration yoga practice, where I’m just breathing and feeling and there’s no music or anything. And sometimes I’ll intentionally pick an emotion

[00:15:57] if I notice that I have had a hard [00:16:00] time allowing grief to surface, I will just do a practice on that emotion for that yoga class and I’ll explore it as I do my practice. So when I allow for that time, I’m able to smile and serve and resist the urge to process emotions at inappropriate times.

[00:16:19] And I know, like I said, that is subjective. That is my opinion about when it’s appropriate and not appropriate to to express emotions. But I know why my yoga students are there. It’s the same reason why I show up for a yoga class.

[00:16:31] So I keep myself in check at certain times and that’s how I do it.

[00:16:35] Okay. So the next thing that I do is I cut back on extras. And what I mean by that is I am intentional with how I spend my downtime and my self-care time. So I work out generally every single morning. I do weights with my friend at eight 30 in the morning at the gym.

[00:16:57] She’s one of my best friends. And I love that time. I work [00:17:00] out with her and I work out with my daughter, Emma. This time is set aside and it is non-negotiable. However, over the last week I opted instead into going for walks with my husband one or two times a day. We love to walk. We love to talk.

[00:17:13] We love to hold hands and we love to be quiet. all of those things happen when we walk. When you’re going really hard in life, whether that’s because of an emotional experience or because your life is a little bit more physically demanding, I feel like the best way that I can support myself is to back off intentionally on other things.

[00:17:32] So for me, going hard on my exercise doesn’t serve me. I feel like it’s really, really important to choose exercise, always, that is going to support you. This is a good rule of thumb, like I said, all of the time. And it’s one of the reasons why I switched from doing long distance triathlons, into doing a lot more yoga and getting certified as a teacher because triathlon wasn’t serving me like it did at one time.

[00:17:58] And so I had made a conscious [00:18:00] decision to mix things up. So lifting weights for me is hard and I didn’t want to be doing something physically hard at the same time I was experiencing something that was emotionally and mentally, really, really challenging with making decisions and moving forward with the launch and experiencing my grief and being there for my family.

[00:18:18] Another little tip here physically is you wanna make your food really easy and as nourishing as you possibly can make it. I know it’s really tempting for us when we’re experiencing a lot emotionally to eat out. To go out, to eat a lot. However, for myself, I have found that using simple ingredients and really grounding ingredients is really helpful.

[00:18:39] So actually, to be honest, One of my favorite things to eat when I’m experiencing a lot of emotions is mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. I know for you, you’re just like what? That’s gross. totally fine. I love mashed potatoes, the organic Yukon gold mashed potatoes are the best. They’re [00:19:00] super creamy. I just add a little bit of almond milk and some salt and pepper and they’re perfect.

[00:19:05] It’s really easy. It’s really fast. And I have used that dinner a lot while my husband has been deployed and I’m experiencing a lot of emotions. Another thing that I use is just some simple soups. They’re warm and they’re grounding and they’re filling and they’re really nourishing as well.

[00:19:23] Okay. My last tip here on how to show up for yourself when your life turns upside down is to be okay with how you pick up the slack or how you navigate a new situation.

[00:19:33] So even though my experience that I’m sharing with, you might be different than the way that you would choose to show up. It’s totally fine.

[00:19:40] You want to be intentional with how you decide to show up for your own life and to make sure that you have your own back with those decisions. So even as I’ve been talking, you might be thinking, "Hmm, I wouldn’t have done that. I would’ve totally gone to Iowa," or "I would have not moved forward with the launch" or whatever it is that you’re thinking that is.

[00:19:59] Fine [00:20:00] with me. And I hope that’s fine with you. Just make sure that you like your reasons for why and that it’s coming from you. Not that little voice in your head that tells you what you should be doing. All right? Not from that space. . So, while we were in California for the funeral, we stayed with some really good friends of ours and the husband of this couple that we were staying with, he made kind of a

[00:20:25] remark, a little snide mark, that I was working again. I was building my sales page while we were in California and we had some downtime. And I got a little heckled a little bit by my friend, but it didn’t phase me because I had made my own decision to move forward with my launch, and I felt really good about that decision.

[00:20:43] I knew better than anyone else, what it took to get me to that point and what it would take to stop the launch train at that point and to choose a different date and to do it differently. So it doesn’t matter what anyone else would do. Someone might have done it completely [00:21:00] differently than me. There is no right or wrong way.

[00:21:03] It’s just what I chose and it’s just what I wanted. And I made sure I had my own back through the entire thing.

[00:21:10] All right, my friends, that is what I have for you today for this episode. Now I have to tell you, if you enjoyed this episode, I would love it if you left me a review over on your favorite podcast platform, wherever you’re listening to this podcast. It’s really easy to do if you’re listening on your phone. Just open the episode and hit the rate and review button, and it’ll give you the option to leave stars and to make a comment. I would just love it if you enjoyed this episode and you left me a good review. It’s a great way for other people to find this podcast and get support for free. So that would be amazing.

[00:21:45] The other thing that I wanna say is if you would like help further with this content and implementing it in your own life, I have one-on-one sessions available during my week to help coach you. So if you need extra help right now, I would love [00:22:00] to talk to you.

[00:22:01] So just head over to janeenalley.com/programs and click on my one-on-one booking link for a discovery call with me. I would love to talk to you about helping you out with the content that I share on the podcast. So that’s all that I have for you guys today.

[00:22:17] I hope that you have a beautiful week. All the things that you’re doing. And again, thank you for tuning in and we’ll talk to you guys soon. Take care. Bye.