It is really easy to give advice in hindsight or just from an outsiders perspective. However, when you are in the midst of a personal challenge it can be difficult to know how to help yourself in the moment. It’s something that takes time and practice.
I’ve had plenty of times when I’ve felt stuck. Sometimes sitting around, wallowing and doing the bare minimum feels like the only thing that you can muster the effort for. However, if you’re willing to step outside of yourself and whatever situation you’re in you’ll see that there are plenty of other things you can do that would be much more useful.
Doing a workout because endorphins make you feel good.
Going for a walk in nature because nature is a healer or will at least help you feel calm.
Venting to someone that won’t give advice because often you just want to be heard and don’t need someone to tell you what to do.
Have a solo dance party because your favourite music will always brighten your day.
Journaling to work through your feelings because it helps bring clarity.
When you make a commitment to showing up consistently, it can be incredibly challenging on the days when you don’t feel like it.
When you feel low or you feel blue, when you want to take a break and escape from responsibilities just for a little while, it can be difficult not to hide away.
On the days when you feel good, vibrant and full of energy, showing up requires little of you. It’s easy and it’s something you’re in the mood to do.
But I think sometimes we fall into relying too much on how we feel to determine what we do. Of course I wouldn’t advocate for doing things that will make you miserable. However, sometimes the good feeling comes after you begin, like with exercise.
If you rely on feeling good to do it, you’d probably never get it done. And so the best thing you can do is focus on things like being consistent and committed instead
I think the idea of going back to normal will cause a divide.
On one hand you have the ones that are craving the way things were. They spend their days longing for what used to be.
On the other hand you have the ones that have adjusted and adapted to this new way of life. Perhaps they found it challenging in the beginning but overtime they’ve found a way to make things work for them.
Then lastly, there are those that lie somewhere in between. Those that are able to see the pros and cons of both sides. Those that are interested in flexibility because they now that it’s not a case of things going back to normal but instead carving out a new world based on all that the past year has taught us.
Some of the most valuable conversations to have are the ones that are most difficult but that shouldn’t be a reason not to have them.
Even though it might be difficult, challenging or uncomfortable it allows room for learning, growth and understanding that may have not taken place otherwise.
Of course, there is a chance the conversation won’t end well and perhaps you’ll walk away feeling frustrated.
But if the conversation really matters then perhaps it is still worth a try.
Every once in a while I am reminded of the power of taking a walk in nature.
It is calming, refreshing, relaxing and simple.
If you haven’t done it for a while, I’d recommend it.
You’ll often find that some of the most helpful things are the cheapest, easiest and most accessible. But instead we end up looking to things that are expensive, difficult and challenging to obtain.
I think the reason for this is that we assume that big problems will require big solutions. Or if you’re not ready to work at something, you can use the excuse of the solution being out of reach, something you don’t have access to.
It can be difficult to comprehend that the very thing you need to help make things better, is something you can do right now.
Language is pretty important. What we say and the words we choose to use can be impacted by how we choose the world or even change how we see the world.
An example of this that I practice is not referring to things as bad or negative. Instead I’ll use words like unexpected, interesting, challenging, growth points and so on.
Something unexpected is just something you didn’t plan for, something interesting is something that has caught your attention, something challenging is something that can be overcome and a growth point is something you learn from.
Choosing to see things that way in my experience is much more beneficial.
Let’s say you apply for a job and don’t get it. In my experience viewing the unideal outcome as bad just gives the inner monologue a chance to run wild and after a few minutes you’ll find yourself thinking that you’re world is over.
But on the other hand if you view the rejection as a growth point you might realise that you didn’t really want the job, you could have filled out your application better or perhaps you just learn the lesson that not everything you want was meant to be.
Perhaps when you were young, someone taught you that when you feel overwhelmed, step away and give yourself a moment.
Maybe you grew up practising that and maybe you didn’t. If you didn’t you might find that as an adult when you feel overwhelmed you don’t quite know how to handle it.
The feeling might end up growing and growing to the point where it’s now unbearable. Then all of a sudden you remember that in the past it helped to give yourself a moment.
Even though you know it could help, you don’t do it straight away because you’re almost skeptical. It might not work, you might end up feeling exactly the same.
But then you do it, you step away, get some fresh air and take a few deep breaths.
You feel calmer afterwards.
In that moment you remember that (even though you forget time and time again), you’re capable of supporting yourself in difficult or uncomfortable situations.
Through challenging times it’s always helpful to find ways of boosting morale.
A common way of doing this is through bringing people together.
Very little compares to the feeling of people being united for a common cause. When that cause is gratitude, it really can help people feel connected to each other.
Right now a lot of people are becoming aware of the contributions that particular people make in society.
Despite everything that is going on there is this sense of ‘things aren’t particularly great right now but there are people showing up everyday that are helping to make things a little bit better or easier and I’m grateful for it‘.
I think just knowing that there are people showing up even though it’s difficult is enough to make us all feel a little bit better.
I start each day with a gratitude practice of listing 10 things I am grateful for.
Things are changing quickly and becoming quite difficult in some ways. It can be difficult to keep up with gratitude through challenging times.
You might find yourself wondering what exactly there is to be grateful for in a time of such great uncertainty. But I find that if you focus on the good bits (no matter how small) there is always something to be grateful for. I have no doubt that before you know it you’ll have reached 10 things pretty easily.
It could be sunny weather, the people you live with, the food in your cupboards, your health, the smoothie you made, being able to communicate with loved ones far away, the fact that you’re able to work from home, the friend that sent you a song as a pick me up, the extra time you have now you’re no longer commuting to work or even your favourite (almost) daily blog.
It might be difficult to think of things when you’re fearful or overwhelmed but know that this the perfect time to put your daily gratitude practice into practice