• Lauren Maxwell

Welcome to the Pity Party

Ever have one of those days where you feel like a complete and utter failure?

Hint….the answer is YES. Of course you bloody have. You’re only human. You might even be having one today like me.

It happens to all of us. Objectively we know that we’re not the colossal losers that we feel like – I mean, if we sit here and take stock we can agree that we all successfully achieve things (hell, we’re alive for one) but subjectively it feels like we just suck….at eeeeeverything. Like those days when we question “why haven’t I pushed to get further in my career?” or “am I being too needy as a partner, or not needy enough?” or “gaaaaawd – why won’t these pants fit me anymore?” or “why I can’t I do ANYTHING right today???”

So what do we do about it? Follow the principles of ‘what you believe is what you receive’ and start believing in unicorns and abundance (oh god I hate that word)? Or maybe we could harness our powers of NLP and talk ourselves into a more positive mindset…one that automatically reframes our self-talk? Or maybe we could watch ‘motivational’ talks on YouTube and Facebook to pump ourselves back up?

Nup. I’m having NONE of it. What I’m planning on doing today, and what I regularly recommend my clients to do, is to throw open the doors to your very own pity party, complete with trackpants and an angsty soundtrack.

But here’s the deal: this party (like all good parties) has a time limit – I mean, there’s only so much partying we can all take right? Generally give it 5 hours. One day at a max. And if you’re pity party is one of those affairs that threatens to take over your whole week, it might be time to reassess things (ie: equip yourself with some other strategies and talk to a professional….seriously, we’re good people!)


  1. Set the mood – like all good house parties, this one needs a certain ambience. You can enhance your wallowing environment quickly and easily by drawing the blinds; turning on some angsty music; and leaving any washing up / dirty laundry / cushions that have fallen on the floor etc until after the party has finished. This will reinforce to you on a visual and audio level that you are far from the domestic goddess you aim to be, and subconsciously help to get you started on important pity party exercises like huffing and sighing.

  2. Get comfy – I mean reeeeally comfy. Trackpants, messy hair, and no makeup. If you must have a shower, make sure that you don’t use too much body wash or deodorant – now is not the time to cheer yourself up with pleasant smells! Ideally, you can just pull some clothes from the dirty hamper for today – I mean, you’re not inviting others to your party, and this look will help to reinforce to you that you’re not the model / sex goddess / go-getter you’d like to see yourself as, which will help to get you started on more advanced pity party exercises like eating foods you don’t even really like straight from the jar while standing at the kitchen bench. Helpful hint: make sure your outfit is elasticated – today’s not the day to be reminded about ‘portion control’. Pffft!

  3. Get vocal. Now, ordinarily we’d ring a girlfriend if we were seeking a little cheer-me-up. Today is not the day for this. I mean, if we chat to a friend it could actually derail the party altogether. No, today is the day to get vocal on your own. And I mean REALLY vocal. Get your swear jar handy, and just bloody go for it! There’s increasing understanding as to why swearing is good for us: it helps to lower our cortisol levels (that’s one of the pesky stress hormones); can assist in pain management (seriously – google some REAL science pages); and can promote a sense of belonging and calmness. So f&%*ing get your potty-mouth into action – today is not the day to act like a ‘lady’! And for some super advanced pity-party exercises, combine swearing with a little stomping around the house – it’ll help you burn off the calories from the hate-eating.

  4. Watch a movie. No, nothing cheery here. Think Terms of Endearment; Beaches; or Titanic. The aim here is really to get the flood gates to open. It’s a sneaky way of drawing the party to a close, because the cool bit here is that tears actually help to bring your mood back to being a bit more reasonable after a day of slumping about. Crying has been increasingly studied in recent years, and has been found to be linked to several mood modifying processes such as releasing serotonin, one of our happy hormones, which can help to decrease stress and frustration levels. And really, what a blow-out pity party without a few tears anyway??

So go on – knock yourself out. Enjoy the party. You’ll feel better for it tomorrow!

Lauren is a Rehabilitation and Career Development Counsellor, who after nearly 20 years of helping people adjust to life after a major health change, wants to make sure that women everywhere are proactively making educated choices about their lives. She likes cats, science, and is addicted to coffee (well…there’s worse vices). You can work with Lauren one on one, catch her running workshops, or grab her e-workbooks at www.headstrongwomen.com.au

#headstrongwomen #mentalhealth #personaldevelopment #laurenmaxwell

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