When your life is in chaos, small upsets can feel like insurmountable challenges. 2016 was not kind to our family. My stepmom and uncle were diagnosed with cancer within two weeks of each other. My stepmom successful won her battle, while my uncle lost his in January. My husband was also laid off in November and since that time we’ve been hit with an onslaught of unexpected expenses. And that’s just the big stuff.
I can’t help but feel a little beaten up and discouraged, however I’m also the type of person that takes life’s challenges and will do my best to turn them into something positive. So today I’m suggesting we do exactly that. Below I’ve outlined some simple ways we can change our mindset
5 Strategies to Manage Stressful Times
Take One Small Step Each Day
You’ve all heard the saying that Rome wasn’t built in a day. More often than not, our problems also don’t materialize overnight. When the build up of stress suddenly feels overwhelming and insurmountable, think about what small thing you can do each day to help put you back on track. It could be as simple as getting yourself to the gym to clear your mind or as complicated as updating your resume. As my mom always said, stress is simply the absence of a plan. When your life feels out of control, focusing on a simple action you can control will help you to recalibrate.
Change Your Mindset
Contrary to what it may feel like at the moment, the universe is not in fact out to get you. Life is full of ups and downs, however the difference between those who succumb to life’s dark moments and those who rise above is two words: growth mindset. People who foster a growth mindset are eager to learn from their mistakes, recognize that life’s trials are what make them who they will become, and exhibit a tenacious belief in the power of ‘yet‘. In a nutshell, your current struggle is not an indefinite state. Instead of thinking things will never get better, remember that they are just not better…yet.
Below is my favorite TED Talk video on talking to your children about developing a growth mindset.
Successful people are resilient people. They are able to take life’s challenges and fight back until they come out on top again. This is neither an easy or a quick process, however the payoff is a stronger, more confident version of your previous self. Many years ago I remember reading a study about people who were most likely to beat their cancer diagnosis. Between three groups of people: those who got angry at the disease, those who are saddened and gave in to it, and those who graciously accepted it…those who got angry were significantly more likely to beat it. So go ahead! Fight back against anyone who tells you you can’t do it, you’re going nowhere, that this is all too much. Show them different!
Remember to Be Kind to Yourself and Others
Stressful times often breed more stress in your relationships as well. It’s easy to upset the balance of harmony at home and work and take out our frustrations on those we are closest to. Surviving difficult times in any relationship are a challenge all on their own. The best way to combat this to remind yourself that the source of your unrest probably has nothing to do with the many people you interact with over the course of the day. Keep yourself laser focused on attacking the problem at its source, and treat everyone around you with the same empathy and kindness you are likely craving for yourself.
Focus on Gratitude
The best thing you can do when life gets hard is to focus on the things you are thankful for. For us it’s that we still have our house, a loving family, and a supportive network of friends. We’re also lucky that one of us has a stable job to keep us afloat for awhile.
Seasons of unrest do not last forever – even if it feels like they just might when you’re smack in the middle of them. Eventually things will turn around and you’ll be back on your feet again. In the meantime, remember that focusing on what is still going right is the best way to put yourself back in a better state of mind.
XO The Good Enuf Mommy