Coping with Life

We all go through periods in life when for one reason or another it’s hard. Really hard. Everything takes effort, even things that we usually do with little thought. There are so many reasons for feeling this way, perhaps a bereavement, anxiety, depression or some mental or physical trauma. Chronic illness or pain can leave us feeling drained, or there may be no one reason that causes us to feel low, empty or lacking in motivation. We can go through this for days, weeks, months or years. Everyone is different and experiences vary from one person to another.

When everything feels too much it’s important to accept that it doesn’t make you any less capable, worthy, loveable or accepted. There is no need to wrack yourself with guilt which pulls you down even further, instead the way to cope with the tough times is to nurture yourself back to a better place. Self-care is what gets people through, not the tough love our ancestors adopted, the stiff upper lip and get on with it no matter what attitude. Driving yourself further down exacerbates the problem and can result in deep chronic depression.

If you or someone you know is struggling with life at the moment, here are fifteen suggestions that might help:

  1. Talk, talk, talk. There is nothing more therapeutic than simply talking. Telling someone how you feel, what’s going on with you and trying to make sense of it all is so good for your mind. The more often you do this the better. A good friend who will listen and can show empathy is worth sharing your burdens with, the more regularly the better.
  2. If you don’t feel up to engaging with family or friends be honest with them. Text to explain how you’re feeling, and ask them to check in with you via text instead of voice to voice.
  3. Pick one or two things that feel like progress and do them. Tidy a drawer, send an e-mail, put away the dishes.
  4. Go for a short stroll in your neighbourhood. Admire the diversity of gardens, house design and the freedom of fresh air on your face.
  5. Get lost in another world, a story that distracts your attention away from your own thoughts.
  6. Get expert help from the right person. Work out who can help you with what you need. Let the trained professionals give you the right support.
  7. Try to establish a routine as lack of structure can make you feel more out of control. Stick to similar times each day for getting up, showered, dressed, meals and bed. Routine gives a sense of grounding when other aspects of life may feel chaotic.
  8. Challenge your negative thinking. Ask yourself the right questions to encourage more positive thoughts and emotions. Wallowing in self-pity will not help you. Think about the blessings you have and know you will enjoy them once again.
  9. Write down your thoughts. No matter what they are. It is much easier to make sense of something when you see it in black and white.
  10. Say no to extra obligations. Self-care time is the priority, other things can be taken on when you’re back on form.
  11. Eat healthy nourishing food. Drink lots of water. Get 7-9 hours sleep every night.
  12. Go to You Tube and enter a topic related to how you’re feeling. Listening to uplifting speakers is so helpful as they give tips on overcoming various adversities and make you realise you’re not alone.
  13. Go out in public where you can watch but don’t have to engage. Perhaps go to a local café and observe humanity around you.
  14. Listen to music, songs that you found uplifting before or something new that you can get lost in the lyrics. Music is powerful and mood changing.
  15. Remember that what you’re going through is temporary. Have faith in the future, that tough times will pass and your heart will find happiness again.
Blog Post by Claire Jackson