Sometimes life throws you a curve ball. Something happens that knocks your whole world off kilter. And sometimes it’s a thing that isn’t going to get better anytime soon.
But even though you feel as though the air has been knocked out of your lungs, even if you feel you’re drowning, drowning in this new reality, you must keep going.
Even if you quite rightly want to curl into a ball, and you feel you’ll never smile, or find a glimpse of happiness ever again, however hard you look, you must try because you deserve to have happiness, even if it’s just fleeting moments.
Whatever the weight you are struggling to bear it’s ok to also wish for, and reach for, good things.
The hardest, yet most important thing, is to wake up every day and decide that you are going to survive this day, you are going to get through it, even if that means going an hour at a time.
If you’re feeling utterly defeated and as though life is just too hard right now, I want you to survive this day, and the next, I want that for you, I want it for me too.
But how, then, do you get on with getting on once you’ve decided you will?
I have made a list, of a few things that may help. (Reading the whole list in one go may feel like too much right now, read as much or as little as you can, and hopefully something here may help a little, at the bottom of this post there’s a small list of things that may help you to keep going through the most difficult of days, you could skip to that list if you like).
- Make some playlists. Maybe a happy one, to lift your spirits, a relaxing one, to help you unwind, a sad one, for when you need a good cry. A little wallowing can be a good thing. It means you’re allowing yourself to feel. It’s helpful to acknowledge and accept your feelings rather than bottling them up.
- It really does help, at the end of each day to write a list of good things that happened that day, 3 things is a good number to aim for, but even one good thing is one good thing. Surviving the day absolutely counts as a good thing, so this is definitely an achievable task.
- Another useful task is to sit each day and write a good memory. This will help you to remember, and hold onto the fact that life does have good moments, and will again even if that seems impossible to even imagine right now.
- Make a plan, a small plan, of small things you want to achieve that day. Your list may include even such things as getting dressed, doing a wash load, paying a bill. When you write the list also write what you will reward yourself when after completing everything. For example, an episode of something on netflix, a bubble bath, a chapter of a book.
- Getting outside. Plan a walk, a long one, a short one, into town, through the common, along the beach, anywhere. Walking, as well as being good exercise, makes sure you’re getting some fresh air and vitamin D. It also gives you a chance to clear your head, or think, if you need some space, and peace, to achieve that. Maybe take some photos on your walk. So you have something to show for it if that’s what motivates you.
- Read a book, this is an excellent form of escapism when you just don’t want to think for a while. For me, re-reading an old favourite, Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, always brings some comfort.
- Write. Write about what’s worrying you, how you feel, what you’d like to happen. It’s very cathartic. It’s up to you what you do with it, keep it as a personal journal perhaps, or publish it as a blog (you can limit who sees your blog) or even burn it.
- Cook. Cooking, I find, is actually very relaxing. And following the steps of a recipe can have a grounding effect. Also, you’re rewarded with a nice dish or better still, cake.
- Sing and dance. This may sound absurd. The notion that you could sing and dance at a difficult time, but trust me on this, pop your favourite cd, your favourite playlist or the radio on, and have a kitchen disco. Bust some moves, and sing your heart out. A temporary relief, but a welcome one.
- Run. Plug in your earphones, pull up a favourite playlist, get out into the fresh air and get those endorphins flowing.
- Do a good thing. Donate something to charity. Maybe those clothes you’ve been meaning to sort for ages. Pick up litter on your street, send a postcard to a friend who may need cheering up. Doing something to help someone else is a sure fire way to also help yourself. Give a stranger a compliment, then you will know you’ve made someone else’s day a little better.
- Crochet or knit. Whip up a jumper or scarf for yourself, a friend, or even a charity. Maybe a friend has a new baby, you could make a blanket. I believe that some hospitals appreciate little woolly hats for premature babies.
- Get crafty. Make something. There are so many things you could make. Perhaps some cheerful bunting or some greeting cards. Maybe try colouring.
- Make a Happiness jar. Write good things that have happened or good things you’ve done on pieces of paper and fill a jar with them. Then when you need reminding that there is good in the world open it up and read them.
- Breathe. Take a few moments every day, to sit peacefully and just breathe. Take in your surroundings (maybe do this outside somewhere nice) and ground yourself.
- Treat yourself. It needn’t be an expensive treat, paint your nails, do a face mask, go to the cinema.
If you are having a particularly difficult time, these things may all seem just too hard, and that’s ok, it doesn’t mean you’re not trying, it doesn’t mean you’re not good enough, it just means you need to be extra gentle with yourself.
You can help yourself to get through the most difficult of days by doing any or all of the following.
- First of all check that you’ve been taking any medication. It’s very easy to forget when you’re anxious, stressed, under pressure, depressed. Check, take them if you need to, ask for a new prescription if you’re all out of meds (I run out far too often). Set alarms on your phone to remind yourself to take them.
- Get some fresh air. If going out feels like too big a step open some windows.
- Drink water. Keep yourself hydrated. Another thing that’s easy to forget.
- Have a bath, shower, wash your face over the sink. And get changed, clean pyjamas are enough if you’re not up to getting dressed.
- Eat something. Your favourite meal, junk if you fancy it, cake, whatever you can manage.
- Choose one small job to do. Wash the dishes, do a wash load, put the bins out. Something achievable. It really does help to feel you’ve achieved something.
- Talk to someone, whether that’s face to face, a phone call, text, email, a friend on social media. Unload a little.
- Let yourself have a good cry. Crying is a powerful thing. Allowing some release. If I need a really good cry I’ll listen to my playlist of tearjerker songs.
- Try to remind yourself that it’s okay to feel this way. Struggling does not mean you’re failing or that you’re not good enough. Life is hard, surviving is hard, you’re doing a good job just by being here.
I hope this post doesn’t come across as sanctimonious self help waffle. I’ve written this post as much for me as for you. I am struggling right now and doing some of these things is what keeps me going. I want you to keep going too.