So it happens to everyone, we all go through tough times. I am not going to say I have had more than my share but let's just say I think I have acquired expert status in getting through the hard stuff. Anxiety, job loss, divorce, loneliness... you name it, I and I am sure many of you as well, have gone through it. I read an article about coping recently and I didn't save it but it got me to thinking about what my best advice would be to anyone going through something difficult. Just a few short years ago I landed myself right in the hospital because I wasn't managing the stress very well and that is not fun. Shit can kill you and make you sick in other ways. So here are some of the things that have worked for me and I think will work for just about anyone going through hard times.
Don't Let Yourself Get Down - Take a minute now and then if you need to and cry in the shower, scream (when you are alone), binge on Netflix, but don't let that be your thing all day erryday. Staying positive even if you have to fake it is critical.
Treat Yoself - It sometimes seems counterintuitive when things are hard. We tend to think now is not the time for fun, celebration or pleasure but it is so necessary. I used to feel guilty about doing things for myself or that people might be judging me if I appeared to be having fun or happy when obviously I was going through something really crappy. So what, you need to smile even when life is shit.
Remember Everything Changes - My Dad told me this years ago and it has become my most valuable life lesson. Remember that time in your life when things were amazing before they turned to shit? Yeah... they will be amazing again. And they might be shit again too. Just embrace it, can't change a damn thing about it. The only guarantee is that things will change.
Don't Be Alone When You Feel Lonely - I really don't mind being alone but it is not good 24/7 especially when times are tough. If no one is around go out and eat in a restaurant around other people once in awhile. If you feel too conspicuous at a table by yourself sit at the bar. I do this regularly even now. No one looks twice at a person sans companion at the bar. Have a glass of wine an order a nice meal, you deserve it.
Focus On What Is In Your Control - When you are going through something difficult only certain things will be in your control. You can drive yourself nutty obsessing over things that you really can't do anything about so figure that shit out and methodically work on what you can. Make lists and check things off. If you're getting a divorce for example or going through a breakup forget about the fact that your ex cheated or is an alcoholic or is just a dickhead. You can't change it. Work on your list.
Maintain Your Routine - Get up, get dressed, put your face on, whatever it is that you do everyday don't change it up too much. Routine breeds comfort for most of us so do what you can to keep as much of your world status quo when turmoil is around you.
Sleep - I can't say this enough. You can't focus on truly fixing things or just dealing when you are staying up all night drinking wine and watching Teen Mom OG marathons. You'll be worth shit the entire next day, or so I've heard. Try to get in bed at a reasonable time and if sleep is tough to come by read a book, take a hot shower, create a fake Tinder profile for your ex and start swiping right. Sleep is essential.
Take Care of Yourself But Don't Beat Yourself Up If You Don't - We all know how important fitness and healthy eating is. Try your best to stay on track especially with getting exercise, that goes hand in hand with the sleep thing. Sometimes you just need a pizza or a pint of Ben & Jerry's on the couch with a spoon. It's OK.
I have failed at all of these things over the years numerous times. The upside of going through a lot of crazy crap in your life is that at some point you get used to it and you just say oh well... here we go again and it will all be whatever it will be and before you know it you are at the top of the rollercoaster again.
What's your go to coping mechanism?