We all have rough patches. Everyone. Every single person on this crazy chaotic journey through life. And they suck. If you're in one right now, here's 7 things I'd like you to know.
1. It’s ok to feel like things are not ok. Right now. Things are not ok right now.
This happens. It’s part of life. We all have rocky patches and it is ok to really feel that. But it’s important to recognise it is a rough patch. And that’s all.
2. Do your best. Not your superhuman effort that will end up breaking you. Just your day-to-day best. Accept your best today may be different to your best on other days. Don’t regret that it’s not more. You can only do what you can do. And that’s all anyone can and should expect from you, including yourself. So don’t compound a bad situation by giving yourself more grief.
3. Stop and breathe from your belly. Give yourself time and space to cry, vent, be angry. But give yourself a time for wiping your face and going forward. I refer to this space as my cocoon. I might curl up on the sofa in a duvet and sob. I might call my mum and vent. I might swear my head off and then sulk for 12 hours. But I always set a time to stop doing that and get on with it. You might need several sessions of this and that’s ok.
4. Treat yourself with kindness. Use your good coffee cup. Use that expensive conditioner that you usually keep for special occasions. Wear your favourite outfit. Be kind to yourself. When we are in the middle of a rough time, it’s easy to think we’re treating ourselves with food (and sometimes drink). But often this can contribute to a downward spiral of poor nutrition and feeling worse. Using your favourite things that you save for better days can help, instead of just turning to your go-to fast food. (Chocolate for me!)
5. Reach out. Connect. Allow yourself to be comforted and to lean on your support. Feel like you don’t have that support? At least, be with people in a meaningful way. Choose to spend time with other people, even if they don’t know what’s going on, even if they can’t help in any way. Being around people will stop you overthinking. I’m not saying be with other people all the time. Yep, I’m an introvert too and the idea of that just makes me tired. But find at least one person that you can just have a cup of tea with, or go for a walk with, or just call.
6. Work on what you can work on. The things that aren’t ok may be beyond your control and influence. And that sucks, but it is what it is. What can you control or influence? Look at everything. It’s easy to see a bad situation as pervasive, as if this one thing affects every single aspect of your life. But you can probably find at least a couple of things that you can control. Focus on these. Exercising that control can stop you feeling so helpless over the other things that you can do nothing about.
7. Recognise the good. Even very bad days, weeks, months, still have some good if we can recognise it. Be grateful for the small things. That’s not saying that they outweigh the bad stuff, but it stops you focussing 100% on the negative. It’s not saying you are wrong for feeling negative about the bad stuff; it’s about accepting you also have the capacity to feel positive about the good stuff. This can be hard, it can feel fake or even pointless, but taking time to do this consistently will help you reconnect to positive emotions, even if they aren’t in the majority.
If you are suffering from persistent depression, anxiety or another mental health issue, please consult a medical professional for that kind of help (and know that they can help, even if it does take time).