On Ruts and Relationships: Two Mantras For When You Feel Discouraged Or Lonely

Often our inner voice is harsh – especially when we feel disheartened. Having a couple of mantras to to recall in the midst of a challenging experience can help change your self-voice so it sounds more like the one you use when talking to your BFFs.

Trust the process.

Whatever I was doing to my body was not working for me anymore. I did not know exactly what it was. Perhaps my portions were too big. Maybe I was drinking too much. Maybe the 10+mile weekend runs were inflammatory. Maybe coffee was an agitating culprit. Maybe peanut butter really was a bulking strategy like my neighbors in Chicago had said.

I decided to try something new. I made small changes – NOT 10 big changes all at once. Little by little. At the advice of one of the trainers at my gym, I started religiously keeping a food journal and included portion sizes. Second, I cut back on alcohol. I did not eliminate it completely yet I did not drink it as much. Next, I stopped running such excessively long distances. I still ran, but nothing over 6 miles. I rotated in some almond butter but still kept peanut butter on hand. I tried new weight lifting exercises in the gym. I swapped green tea for coffee. Then I stopped green tea –definitely had to take Advil for a week – and just drank water. (Parents have said, “just wait till you have kids!” You are right, I am sure when I have kids someday I will be back on caffeine in no time.)

Someone came up to me as I was doing walking lunges with 25lb dumbbells and said, “You’re looking great! I see you working hard all the time! Keep at it!” He is one of the gym morning “regulars” like me and no, he was not hitting on me – he is older than my father. That was not on day one. That was not four months in when I walked into the gym wiping tears from my eyes as I struggled with overwhelming emotions post-breakup. That was last Wednesday, six months after I initiated these lifestyle changes. True, I am the only judge that matters, yet positive reinforcement from others provides an extra boost.

When you have initiated positive changes in any area of your life and sense a momentum disruption or feel “stalled”, remember to trust the process.


Love is all around me, and my heart is filled with love.

Negative emotions like loneliness, envy, and guilt have an important role to play in a happy life; they’re big, flashing signs that something needs to change. – Gretchen Rubin

When I feel down, I give to myself first and then to others. Often what I need most is a cat-nap (some of those workouts are intense!) or time spent reading or journaling. Whichever activity it is, afterwards I feel refreshed, productive, and recharged.

Earlier today I was dog sitting and instead of just a normal stroll I took the pup for a run. I know he loved it because he excitedly took off at the beginning of our adventure and his pace slowed (finally) 4 minutes in. When we got home he licked my sweaty arm. Awe! The simple pleasures in life.

When you feel low, do something to take care of yourself first and then go out into the world with an open mind and warm heart. Love is all around me, and my heart is filled with love.

Which mantras help you? @kellymc247

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Kelly Christiansen

A top columnist at MsCareerGirl, marketing guru Kelly Christiansen has 10+ years of strategic leadership experience and is a Senior Marketing Strategist on the Health Care team at Kahler Slater, an architecture firm in Wisconsin. An avid reader, runner, and recipe experimenter, you can follow Kelly on twitter @kellymc247

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