When we feel crappy, it’s hard to show up, to think clearly and rationally, to empathize and understand, or to approach ourselves and others from kindness. Everything can seem so, so much worse all of the sudden. It’s also a lot easier to blow small things out of proportion. This doesn’t just happen for us — it can happen for our kids (and everyone else), too.
Keeping an even baseline (to the best we can) goes a long way in staying out of crappy zone (OR getting out of crappy zone when we visit, which happens sometimes because life is messy). This isn’t about trying to be some version of perfect — this is about putting in effort in service of ourselves. Because no one else can do it for us. And if we’re not willing to try (and try and try again, because creating this baseline takes effort to put in place), we’ll get to know crappy zone really, really well (which isn’t really, really fun).
Keys for an even baseline: What we’re eating and drinking, how we’re moving our bodies around, and how we’re sleeping. And sure, there are more (think: thoughts in our heads), though these are a useful place to start.
So: How’s your foundation/baseline? Are you a frequent crappy zone visitor or resident?
Parents do a ton towards helping their kids start building this baseline, though ultimately each person has to learn to continue to build and reinforce it for themselves. Our kids may treat themselves like crap for a while, regardless of what we teach them (which I know bites to see), though in becoming their own main anchors, they’ve got to learn for themselves that keeping an even baseline is mission critical. And sometimes that involves a phase of (huge) contrast (and lots of crappy zone visits).
If/when we see them getting on the CZ train, what can we do to help? How about if we skip telling and instead be the best models we can be (which includes getting honest with ourselves about what we’re doing or not)? Modeling is an underrated side door for support — and it may help more than we’d guess (for them and us).