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I’m just gonna put it out there: I’m going through a hard time right now.
I won’t bore you with the specifics – that’s not the point. The point is that if you’re human, you’ve gone through a hard time. Hell, you’ve probably gone through lots of them.
This isn’t the first time in my life that I’ve gone through a season of struggle, and I’m wise enough to know that it won’t be my last. So, as the saying goes, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters” (Thanks, Epictetus!).
In all honesty, that quote is the last thing I want to hear right now. What I really want to do is crawl into a ball, wallow in self-pity, and ask “Really, God? Just when I think I’ve found my stride, the shit hits the fan?”.
And ok, I did do that. But I didn’t let myself do it for long because, c’mon, what good is that doing anyone?
So, when you find yourself in times of trouble (Beatles, anyone?), here’s how to navigate through them.
1. Feel sorry for yourself.
For a little while! It’s totally ok. Life is hard, girl! And sometimes you just have to give yourself a little bit of empathy and sympathy. But make it quick.
I don’t mean to sound harsh. I’m not at all minimizing what it is that you’re going through. But like I said before, indulging in this isn’t going make anything easier for you. Give yourself 5 minutes, 5 hours, or maybe even a day or two. Then keep movin’. These next tips will help you do that.
2. Cry your heart out.
Cry like you’re 5 years old and someone just stole your fave pound puppy. Just let it out. It’s the most amazing therapy ever. You can cry next to someone you care about who will support you and let you just sob it out, or you can cry completely alone (my preferred method). I swear it’s like letting all of that toxic anxiety, depression, and negativity out of your body and mind.
3. Talk to your mom.
If you’re fortunate enough to still have your mom around or to have a good relationship with her, take advantage of it! I often try to avoid calling my mom so that I don’t worry her. But then I saw something on Facebook about your mom’s voice being equivalent to a hug. I believe the message was something along the lines of “Talk to your mom when shit gets tough because it feels like getting a big hug”. And I was like, yes! I need to call my mom. Which brings us to my next tip.
4. Listen to your intuition.
Too woo-woo for you? Well, I don’t know what else to tell you except that it’s true, and I know from personal experience. You know when you see, hear, or feel something? Like this nagging voice that’s telling you “Hey! Pay attention to this!”.
Put simply, you should pay attention.
When I saw that mom Facebook article in my newsfeed, I glanced at it and kept scrolling expecting to completely forget about it. But it was sticking with me. I then reallyyyy tried to ignore it. But still. It was in my head. So I stopped and I thought for a second… and it hit me that yes, I should call my mom. I absolutely wouldn’t have called her otherwise because I didn’t want to be a burden.
And just so ya know, that convo with my mom helped tremendously. It pulled me out of my funk tonight and led to me writing this post!
5. Be still and pray.
Or talk to the universe. However you want to phrase it. Believe in something bigger than yourself and then when it all gets to be too much, hand your problems over to it. There is something so incredibly freeing about saying to God (that’s what I believe in, so that’s what I’ll use here), “I’ve done my best. I’ve given it my everything. I need to hand this to you now and trust that it will all work out”.
And it miraculously always does.
6. Do something relaxing.
Tonight, for me, that was a glass of pinot grigio, John Mayer, and catching up on long overdue text messages with friends. Other nights it’s a funny show, a light-hearted book, or journaling. Just do something that gives you enjoyment and that will take your mind off of the serious stuff for a bit. You deserve that break!
7. Ask for help.
I don’t know why this is so hard for us women to do when we have people who care about us and want to help us out! Think about it – when someone you care for is going through a hard time, aren’t you more than happy to do something for them that will lighten their load?
Not only does it help that person out, but it also makes you feel happy. Next time you’re grappling with asking for help, try to think of it that way. (By the way, how sad is it that for some of us to feel comfortable with asking for help, we have to think of it as we are actually helping someone else by asking them for help? Like, what? Topic for another day.)
8. Remember, this will pass.
Maybe not quite as fast as you’d like, but nonetheless it WILL pass. You have likely been through hard times before, and yet here you are – still standing. This will not last forever, and you’ll make it through like you always do. That’s some mom advice right there, by the way.
9. Look for the reasons.
You are absolutely not going through a hard time for no reason. There is a lesson to be learned, a person to be met, some catalyst event that is going to get you where you need to be. Ask yourself, “What good is coming out of this situation?”. There is ALWAYS some good. Is your job insanely busy and stressful right now? You’re learning resilience and patience. Are you going through a divorce? You are leaving a relationship that wasn’t the best for you, and opening up an opportunity for a greater relationship.
Going through hard times completely sucks. I don’t think anyone would argue that point. But know that it’s not just you, it happens to all of us, and we’re all in this together. You are not alone. Try some of the tips above to see what helps you, and remember to keep your head up. You’ll make it to the other side, I promise.