Ok. #realtalk. Moving to a new city where you don’t know anyone is FREAKING HARD. Elite Daily wrote a feel good article about it this summer, and while it was an effective rallying cry in June, it wasn’t quite as inspiring when it started snowing in Minneapolis in early November, I gained 20 pounds of “moving weight,” and I work from home alone. Uuuggghhh!!!

Now, you may not have just moved to a new city – but all of us have had those “I didn’t sign up for this shizz!” moments. And, for better or worse, you will, without a doubt, have them again. This is life. But, feeling that way isn’t what life is all about – how you get through it IS.

Here are 5 Steps To Follow When You Are Feeling Blue:

Step 1:
Feel your damn feelings.
What I see most in my clients (ok, fine, in myself too) is that we are tough cookies. We live by the “when the going gets tough… put on a happy face and make shit happen” creed. Well, KNOCK IT OFF. Listen, feelings are like gas, if you hold them in, they’re gonna make your tummy hurt. When you feel a feeling coming, feel it. There is magic and wisdom and life in your feelings. Trust me on this one. (More on this in #3)

Step 2: Get naked.
And, by that I do mean share vulnerably. For the first 3 months in Minneapolis, I was on “Things are great!” auto-pilot. Lies! All lies!! It actually took me taking off my “I’ve got this!” armor, crying in my merlot and honestly sharing my struggle that actually supported me the most. WHY?? Because no one can support you if they don’t know the support you need. The more honest and clear you are of where you are with others, the more they can actually give you the love and support that will make a difference for you.

Step 3: What do you need?
Here is the thing about feelings: They are the secret codes to your life. Seriously. Consider this: Every feeling is an indication of a need – your job is to figure out what that need REALLY is. For example, let’s say you are feeling lonely and sad. What’s the need? Companionship? Maybe. Hugs? Maybe. Look deeper. What is the basic human need that isn’t being met? Perhaps it’s belonging or intimacy or to be seen, heard and known. Answer the question: “What do I need?” Then go 2-3 layers deeper. There you will find what you are truly craving.

Step 4: Think like an 8 year old.
Remember when we were pups? Think of all the forts we built without any instructions or tools. I mean, how many hours did we spend creating entire other words that were AWESOME?!?! Sadly, somewhere in growing up we forgot how super creative, innovative and resourceful we are. But fear not! That clever little munchkin is still in you, you just need to bring her out to play. Once you have felt your feelings (Step 1), shared where you are vulnerably with others (Step 2), and done a deep dive into what you really, actually need (Step 3), now it is time to call on your inner 8 year old to get creative and MEET THE DAMN NEED.

Getting stuck on the HOW of meeting your needs?? Here is a trick that I like to use: List the 3 most obvious ways to meet the need. Ok, now, list the 3 most embarrassing ways to meet the need. Great. Now, list 3 totally hilarious and off the wall ways to meet that need. GET CREATIVE. Have fun with this. Remember, you can’t fix a feeling, but you can meet a need. And the more creative you are in meeting the need, the more likely it is you wont get stuck in your same old ruts.

Step 5: Play. Risk. Win.
Ok, this is less of a step and more parting words of wisdom. Listen, human beings were built to be great. And we LOVE to win. But when was the last time you held a trophy over your head? Or Top Gun high-fived someone after a killer presentation? When was the last time you surprised yourself and fell in love with you all over again? Here is the deal: Winning (whatever that looks like for you) is actually totally energizing and generative!! Here is the catch: Wins only happen when there is risk. Here is the solution: Go play. Take a risk on something that you don’t know how to do. Go beyond what you are comfortable doing – take an improv class, volunteer to speak at church, join some weird rec sports team. Remember: Risk is the only way to truly win; Winning generates joy; And joy is the name of the game, people! Vulnerability creates intimacy and risk generates reward. GO. PLAY. NOW.

If you haven’t caught on yet, make sure you get this: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Guys and gals all over the world are wrestling with the same stuff you are. Unfortunately, we are all going through it alone. The biggest lesson that I have learned in the 8 months of being in a new city this: The MORE I share where I am, and the LESS attached I am to what happiness could look like, the EASIER it was to get my mojo back.

Go be great!

Ali