*Reposting this because a lot of you have been asking for it.
One of the most common questions I get asked, is HOW did you get through what you did? And its a tough question to answer. Spending nearly 3 months in ICU, getting off a ventilator and learning to walk again – all with a newborn baby – is something I never thought I would be able to get through. But I did. I persevered and am stronger than ever.
And that wasn’t the only hardship in my life. I’ve gone through a LOT of awful things. From broken hearts, to financial trouble, to divorce. Plus all the in between; the day-to-day stresses we experience from being an adult, a parent, a human being. And when we experience these challenging times, its often difficult to believe we are going to get through them. But you will!
Here are some tips I use whenever I’m going through a difficult time:
- Write down the biggest thing you are struggling with right now. Then brainstorm a list of ANY TINY possible things you could do that might improve the situation. They may not solve your problem but even small improvements can help. Without brainstorming, you may not even realize the options you have.
- Make a list of long-term goals you think would improve your life. What do you want to achieve this year? What would you like to be doing? What gives you purpose? What things can you do every day to get you closer to those goals? Taking steps towards these goals will give you a sense of accomplishment.
- Every day, write down something you are grateful for. It can be as simple as having a house to live in, or finding a dollar on the ground the day before. On hard days you may have to dig deep, but it’s a good reminder that there is always something to be grateful for.
- Make a list of the things that you love doing (that you are able to do) that set your soul on fire. They can be things that are done daily, like cooking or drawing, or things that can be done periodically; like going to see a play. Just make sure you are doing the hobbies that you love to do! On the flip side, is there anything you are able to remove/change from your life? Stop doing things you hate to do!
- Make a list of some of the hardest times in your life. Remind yourself that you made it through those times. You are so much stronger than you think you are. And you can get through this too. Say that to yourself as many times a day that you have to.
- At the end of your day, write down three things that you accomplished. On particularly bad days, small things like doing your hair counts, even having a shower or getting out of bed! Writing accomplishments down, no matter how small they are, reminds you that you are moving forward! Keep going!
- Make sure you surround yourself with friends and family that you love. Alone time is often needed, but isolating yourself can make you feel worse. Spend time with your favorite people and ASK for support!
- Get your body moving! Exercise is the most underused medication in the world!.You have the ability to increase your dopamine levels (the feel-good chemicals inside us that make us happy) at any point in the day! If you struggle with finding the motivation or the time to get to the gym, then start small! Its amazing how you can feel after just ten minutes of say yoga or a brisk walk a few days a week.
- Pick a charity to get involved with or donate money to. Research shows that donating either your time or money to charity makes you feel GOOD! And it’s good for society too 😉
- Watch online videos of inspiring people overcoming devastating tragedies. Not to see that there are others who have it worse than you (because what you are going through is hard too; don’t diminish that) but to remind yourself that there are so many people that have overcome the impossible — and you can too.
- As often as you can, try to change your view. Positivity goes a long way. Just once, trust that everything is happening for a reason. Trust that everything is going to work out the way you want it to. Remember, no one expects you to be cheery all the time, but just try to ditch the negative self-talk as much as you can. And no matter how bad of a day you have, no matter how negative you feel when you go to bed each night – start fresh with a positive attitude every day. If it doesn’t go to plan, it’s OK to try again tomorrow. It doesn’t matter how many times you have to start over. You just keep trying.