Today I want to share with you about how to cope when times are tough.
I don’t like to pretend that everything is perfect in my life, because it isn’t. I’m not here to gloss over the reality of situations and present you an image of my life that isn’t true. My intention is to design a lifestyle for myself that brings the most joy and service possible. I want to inspire, encourage and help you give yourself permission to do the same.
At the moment I’m going through a bit of a tough time where on one hand I’m blessed to be over-run with work opportunities. On the other hand cursed by timing not being quite right to be able to trim out what I don’t want to be doing at the moment. I am working too hard at the moment and it is stressing me out. I can feel tension entering places in my body it hasn’t been for a while + I find my emotions riding up + down. I don’t have the balance right at all.
I was recently asked to answer the question of how I cope when times are hard. This seems like the opportune moment to answer that – while it’s actually happening to me.
I listen to my body
My body is the first thing that goes when I’m stressed out. I get headaches and a deep ache in my right shoulder. If I hit that point then it’s usually a big UH-OH moment, as it means I didn’t catch it early enough. Listening to your body is an excellent way to guide yourself towards activities or approaches that might alleviate your suffering a little.
I have found a lovely local lady who will unknot my shoulder in about 30 minutes for a very reasonable price, and the bonus is I only have to walk 1 minute down the road to get to her. I also know which yoga postures work best for me to release the tension. I try to preventatively drink lots of water to minimise headaches.
So I take care of the basic things that my body needs to be able to cope. This is actually really simple, the problem is you have to do it.
Grab a piece of paper and write down the symptoms your body shows when times are tough. Then see if you can write down a way to alleviate those symptoms. Go as simple as possible as you’ll be more likely to execute on them that way. Store that list somewhere so when you next experience the symptoms or feel them coming on, you act as immediately as you.
I empty my mind
This is actually something that needs to be done whatever mood you are in, because it prepares you for when times are tough. The idea comes from The Artist’s Way, I believe, but it’s something I have been undertaking on and off for over 15 years.
Every morning I write 3 pages of whatever is in my head. It’s stream of consciousness. It doesn’t have to make sense. It’s certainly not blog-post worthy. It’s often a bit of a whinge. But it gets the garbage out and I feel much more prepared to handle the rest of my day.
I do something relaxing or fun
This can be SO hard when you’re stressed out or under pressure because it feels like you couldn’t possibly take a break to relax. Have you heard that saying, if you don’t have time to meditate for an hour, meditate for 2? It completely applies in this case for learning how to cope when times are tough.
When you can’t even make time for a small amount of fun or relaxation, you’re letting the story in your mind rule you.
You will probaby feel better if you do. You will almost certainly perform better if you do. You just need to actually do it.
Again, one of the best ways to do this is to pre-plan a list so that you don’t have to waste cognitive energy you don’t have on deciding what to do. Make a list by amount of time and/or cost so that you can find what you need when you need it. If you need to relax but only have 5 minutes, make sure you have a list of 5 minutes activities. If cost is a limiting factor, make a list of cheap fun things to do. Keep this somewhere you can use when you are feeling the pressure.
In my happiness library in July we are focusing on the theme of relaxation, with 3 fairly short yoga and meditation videos and audios, plus the archive of content which is all designed to help you rejuvenate + relax.
I look outward
Often the reason things can feel so bad is we are focusing too much on our internal processes. If we pay a bit more attention to what is going on in the world we can sometimes find the silver linings of our situation. Not always, but sometimes.
Helping others also alleviates the negative emotion we feel when times are tough. It’s an opportunity to turn your mind away from your own problems and support. So call a friend and ask about their life. Watch a documentary and get a different perspective. Sometimes to be able to deal with what’s going on within us, we need to be aware of what is outside of us.
I know this, too, shall pass.
Even if it feels like it’s going to last forever. I keep reminding myself. This, too, shall pass.
I hope this helps you with some ideas on how to cope when times are tough. If you try to do this in some small way every day – it may just make your tough time that little bit easier.
P.S., if you’re looking to bring some relaxation into your life + you’re in the Berkhamsted area – sign up for my gong relaxation on 9th July. I guarantee you you’ll feel so much better afterwards.
P.P.S if you aren’t local to Berkhamsted then why not sign up for my Happiness Library to gain access to over $1000 worth of material designed to help you to relax?