I grew up in Minnesota, where a favorite state saying is, “It could be worse.” While that is in fact true, things can always get worse, it doesn’t actually make my current feelings any better.
We’ve been dealing with one setback after another at our house, so I've been mulling alternate ways to ride the waves of difficult times. Here's what I've been working with:
- Feel sorry for yourself. Permission to wallow.
- Don’t compare yourself to others who have it worse. Yes, truly bad and horrific things are happening everywhere. Does you suppressing your emotions help them in any way? NOPE. Dealing with your true emotions will ultimately give you more resources and then you can help those less fortunate than you.
- Get mad. (Although be careful about directing anger at others. Anger can be damaging to relationships.)
- Swear a lot.
- Don’t make big decisions. Avoid decisions at all costs.
- OR make the big decision that you’ve been avoiding. Are you stuck in the vortex of SH*T for a reason? Is there something you can do to make it better?
- Ask for help. Anyone who offers, take them up on it.
- Cry. Crying flushes away cortisol, the stress hormone.
- Know who your friends are. Don’t look to help from people who will lecture you, or tell you about how others have it worse, or turn it into a convo about themselves, or whatever....
- Eat chocolate. Or in my case, eat extra dark chocolate with peanut butter AND butter. Try it, it is awesome.
- Drink wine. Or gin and tonics.
- Have a dance party. In your underwear. With your toddler. Or alone.
- Escape. Coping will be easier if you can find times of comfort and release from the situation.
- Watch something funny.
- Laugh. Laughter is a great natural stress reliever. Let yourself laugh until you cry.
- Move your body in the way that feels good to you.
- Get outside.
- Stop feeling guilty about The Shoulds. What do you tell yourself you should do, should be, should think, should feel? Whose voice is that anyways?
- Spend money on a good therapist. This will save you in the long run.
- Throw sh*t away. Clearing out physical space sometimes helps with the mental space.
- Do it imperfectly. I mean, things are always imperfect. But they might seem extra imperfect during a time of stress. But sometimes you gotta get stuff done, and done is better than perfect.
- This too shall pass. That’s the one constant, right? Life always changes. Hang in there, it will get better.
- Remember that good things can come out of difficult circumstances. I like the quote, "never let a crisis go to waste." A crisis creates an opportunity for positive change, for learning more about yourself, for making the hard decision, for strengthening relationships, for deep healing. Or to put it another way, "Another F#*@ing Growth Opportunity."
If this resonates, I’m sending you big virtual hugs. And if you're willing, leave a comment here about how you deal with a stormy time of life.
Until next time,
PS - sometimes things go beyond hard and you may feel like you really are sinking into an abyss you cannot return from. Please seek help from a professional if you are contemplating hurting yourself.