I think it’s inevitable in life that you’re going to go through some tough patches. Times when you’re unsure and confused, unhappy and out of sorts, unexcited and lack lustre.
The trick, I’ve found, is to prepare yourself for those unpleasant patches by finding out what helps you get through them. Maybe it’s yoga, or spending time with friends, or reading an upbeat book, or making sure you’re getting enough sleep. Or maybe, as is the case with me, you use a combination of all of the above.
Here are some of the things that I’ve found work particularly well for getting me through a difficult time in my life.
When things are feeling unsettled in my life and you I don’t feel like myself, I find that inserting positive habits into my everyday routine go a long way in bringing up my mood.
1) Get into a good morning routine
My favourite way to start the day is to get up bright and early, do a yoga routine, make myself a big mug of tea and a bowl of porridge and then cozy up under a blanket to watch a bit of a film or an episode of whatever series I’m on (currently Grey’s Anatomy). There’s something so nice about having a slow and relaxing morning as opposed to rushing around frantically.
2) Get things off your chest
If I’m struggling with something, it always helps me to get it off my chest somehow. Either by talking to friends and family and asking their advice, writing in my journal, or, if the problem feels particularly overwhelming, I’ll try and organise to do some counselling. Saying whatever’s bothering you out loud helps you gain some perspective and getting advice from people can really help you to work towards find a solution.
3) Start a mood board
I recently wrote a post about the magic of mood boarding and it really has helped me get through the tough patch I’m in at the moment. It has given me so much excitement about the future which I was lacking before and has reminded me that there’s so much to look forward to in life.
It can be tempting, when you’re going through a tough patch in your life, to hide yourself away to deal with it yourself. While this may be good for some of the time, I think it’s important to make sure that you’re still spending time with people: going for coffees with friends; doing fun things to take your mind off your worries; getting out the house and just being around people. It not only helps to bring your mood up, but it also reminds you that you’re not alone.
5) Develop rituals
I always ritualise ordinary moments by doing things as simple as lighting a candle while I’m doing some work, putting on some nice music while I’m cooking dinner, or doing yoga with a nice view. Rituals are especially important to me when I’m going through a tough patch and always help me to feel better about the things going on in my life. I may not be able to fully control my circumstances but I can control my environment and make it as inviting and cozy as possible.
Any time that I’m facing challenges in my life, I find that my mind becomes my biggest enemy. It fills with negative thoughts and it becomes harder and harder to see the light. Fortunately, I’ve found that there are some small things you can do that provide some relief.
6) Recognise that it’s all temporary
It can be so easy when you’re going through a challenging time in your life to despair that it will never end. Currently, I’m busy job hunting and dealing with persistent feelings of frustration that it’s taking so long…only two weeks so far but who’s counting? I have to reassure myself on an almost constant basis that this frustrating patch I’m in is only temporary. It won’t last forever.
7) Be aware of your thoughts…and don’t trust them
Richard Carlson, in his wonderful book Stop Thinking, Start Living gives the very important advice that when you’re in any sort of low mood, you shouldn’t trust your thoughts as they’re likely to be overly negative and lack perspective.
So when you’re tired, or frustrated, or angry and feel like you’re going to burst with all the negativity swirling around inside of you, try and remember that your thoughts aren’t to be trusted. The trick, he argues, is to focus on other things besides your low mood and allow it to improve in its own time.
8) Avoid labels
It can be so easy to try and label how you’re feeling when you’re not quite yourself…”I’m anxious…depressed…miserable…angry.” What’s the problem with labelling your mood? I’ve found that when you try and attach a label to yourself when you’re going through a difficult patch, it just makes it harder to come out of it.
It’s important to be in touch with your emotions and there’s nothing wrong with the feelings you are having but the excessive need to monitor how you’re doing at all times will only make you more aware of your struggles and in no way help you to overcome them.
9) Feed yourself loving thoughts
Instead of labelling yourself, reassure yourself. I always turn to my journal when I’m in a low patch and begin my entries by writing down everything that I’m struggling with. Then, I do my best to try and come up with solutions to what I’m going through. Maybe it’s a case of taking action, making a decision, or turning to loved ones for support. Maybe it’s as simple as making time for some all important self-care. I write advice to myself as though I were giving it to someone I loved who was coming to me for support and it never fails to make me feel better.
Whenever I’m struggling with things, I make sure that I make my health my priority.
10) Get enough sleep
My number one way to get through a rough patch by focusing on my health, is to make sure I’m getting enough sleep. I find that if I’m already feeling tense and emotional, a dose of tiredness makes everything a lot worse. I lose perspective, I find it hard to stay balanced, I get irritable and frustrated. Alternatively, when I’m well rested I feel calm and in control.
Obviously, if you’re going through a stressful period in your life, troubles sleeping may be your first unwanted symptom. In that case, I find that developing a relaxing evening routine helps a lot: banning technology from the bedroom; doing a short yoga practice to unwind; journaling; reading…they all help to get your body and mind ready for sleep.
11) Take herbal remedies
If I’m going through an especially hard time, I usually get myself a pack of Lavender one-a-day Kalms. Designed to provide temporary relief of anxiety with its calming lavender oil, I find that taking them gives me a sense of control in the face of the uncontrollable. It makes me feel like I’m doing something to soothe my tense body and anxious mind. Even if it’s a placebo, I find that they help.
12) Eat healthy, healing foods
It’s important to look after yourself when you’re facing challenges in your life and an easy way to do that is to make sure that your diet is full of healthy, healing foods. It can be tempting to reach for the chocolate when you’re feeling sad and vulnerable but after a brief sugar high, you’re left feeling heavy and worse than before. Something like a smoothie, on the other hand, will leave you feeling light and energised, ready to take on whatever’s bothering you.
Good for everything…
13) Regular yoga practices
Something that is good for your mindset and health is yoga. I’ve been doing yoga most mornings for the past few months and it’s made a really noticeable impact on my ability to handle the challenges I’m faced with. I find that it helps me to release any tension I’m carrying in my body, helps my mind to slow down as I focus on my movements instead of my thoughts, and leaves me feeling calm and relaxed.
I follow the YouTube channel Yoga with Adriene and would highly recommend her videos to anyone wanting to get into yoga.
– Tiger Lily –