This last month has been one thing after the other. The passing of two friends, a misdiagnosis of a rare nerve disease that had me totally terrified for 4 days, an emergency room visit and emergency root canal, finding out that my insurance doesn’t cover a lot of what it told me it did… hello medical bills, my son trying to get his molars in, and then he got sick which included throwing up, diaper explosions, crying, 5 sleepless nights, and more. Needless to say, life has been pretty tough at our household.
Since I’ve been surviving and some days doing quite well despite it all, I decided to share 7 proven steps that I take to get through the difficult times in life:
1. Prayer. Yes pray. If you are not spiritual try meditating. If you are spiritual try both. It’s amazing what a little faith and hope and peace can do for the psyche.
2. Cut out anything that you can. If you can possibly cancel a few things, do it. Have a to-do list a mile long? Take a split second scan of it and decided if there is absolutely anything that can’t be put off for a few days. If there are a few things then make a very short list of 2-3 absolutely necessary items you will tackle and put the long list away for later. Say no to any near future obligations and cancel anything that is adding stress to your load. Here is a tutorial/info graphic I created on how I tactfully choose when and how to say no to something.
3. Practice self-compassion. If a friend of yours were to be going through what you are going through what would you say to him/her? Tell yourself those compassionate and comforting things. Talk aloud to yourself and comfort and support yourself. Yes talking to yourself is allowed, even encouraged. You know best what you’re going through and how you are feeling. Pour on the self-compassion, it may be hard to do, but it works.
4. Say hello to survival mode. Tough circumstances come. It’s best just to accept that they come and most likely it will be important for you to let the routine you usually have fly out the window for awhile.
To do this it helps me to think of just going with the flow. I remember when my son had the flu for the first time and the inexperienced mother in me had no idea that I needed to take him off of milk. He was throwing up about 20-30 times a day. He’d guzzle down a bottle of milk and then throw up a few times after, then another bottle, and more throwing up, and so forth… until my sister told me to take him off milk which fixed the problem.
I found that during those crazy flu-stricken days that focusing on the moment helped. I didn’t set any kind of structure at all (besides trying to get the laundry switched over and started as soon as I could). I just let things happen. If he threw up on me I’d stay focused and say, “Okay first I’ll change him, then me, then put in a load of laundry, then clean up and disinfect whatever may have been tainted etc.”. I just focused on the here and now and put survival/going with the flow as the main priority.
When a few close friends of mine recently passed I tried to just allow my emotions to flow. If I needed to cry, I allowed myself to cry. If I felt angry, I allowed myself to be angry. Sad, I was sad. Feeling fine, I felt fine. I didn’t try to fight my emotions. I didn’t try to judge my reactions. I just went with the flow. Fighting against what will be often makes it worse. Just roll with it. If you are a visual person imagine water rolling off a ducks back, just let what comes hit you and then instead of grasping on to it, accept that it is there and allow it to roll off your back.
5. Wear what you want to wear. Don’t be afraid to be in pj’s all day. It’s practical if children or you are sick and not feeling well. PJ’s are a whole lot easier to clean and replace than expensive clothing. That said, if it makes you feel better on tough days to get dressed up nicely, do that too. Just wear what you want to wear.
6. Rest. Life is so much easier to handle when we are well rested. Do your best to sleep, nap, rest, etc. whenever you can. The human body is an amazing thing and can handle a lot, but it needs rest and sleep and never more so than when it is under a massive amount of physical or emotional stress.
7. Don’t be afraid to have a breakdown/pity party. Some of the best advice I have ever received about getting through tough times was given to me from a leader of mine while serving an LDS mission. I was going through some very tough stuff. She told me to go into my room and just allow myself to have a “break down, a total pity party, a woo is me moment”. And then after I got it all out of my system (or at least most of it) I should to pick myself back up and keep going.
Allow yourself to feel sorry for yourself for awhile, give yourself time to come to terms with the insanely difficult and tough stuff you are going through, host an official pity party for yourself. Just don’t stay and wallow in the pity. Once you have gotten a good majority of it out, pick yourself up and keep going.
Bonus Tip. If you are lucky enough to have family or friends nearby, requesting or accepting help is another great way to get through difficult times in life. If you struggle with others helping you (I know I do) just know that everyone will need help at some point in their lives. It is a great opportunity for others to be able to serve as well. Allow others to help you if possible.
We all experience huge challenges in life. Sometimes they come as a bunch of small challenges one right after the other. Other times they hit you square in the face and are almost unbearable. Other unfortunate times it is a combination of small and large challenges. But life is meant to be hard, if not we wouldn’t learn, grow, aspire, and/or appreciate it.
Despite the inevitable difficult times, I hope these 7 steps will help you.
Is there anything you have done or do to help you get through tough times? Please comment below, because who knows they may help another reader who needs it.
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