When Your Life Falls Apart
How to cope when everything feels hopeless
It can be hard to find the light when it feels like everything has gone wrong. When your body's in crisis mode and you're consumed by stress, and focusing on anything else is difficult. There are different strategies to lift yourself back up and get your life back together, and here's some advice I hope will help you on the way.
Even though it might not feel like it, remember that it's possible to turn your life around. People have come from nothing and achieved great things. There's a large number of success stories out there, and perhaps they can inspire you and help you realise that it's possible for you as well. Maybe you've been through hard times before and come out stronger. Remember how hard that was, and acknowledge the fact that you still managed to work through it.
Appreciate the small things in life. Every little thing you do during the day that makes you feel good, like making a good cup of tea, eating something nice, watching a fun movie or listening to a great song. Self care looks different for everyone. Baking banana bread doesn't make everyone feel better, but some people find spending time in the kitchen therapeutic. There are lots of good ideas out there for different activities you can do to lift your mood, and you have to find what works for you. Things such as yoga, taking walks, arts and crafts, colouring, painting, reading books, writing, playing games and watching shows or movies are common ways to take your mind off of what's going on.
An important part of self care is to not shut out everyone around you. It can be hard to share something you're struggling with, but try to tell at least one or two people about your situation and how you feel. Let your feelings out, it can really help you feel less alone about it. And you never know, someone might have gone through similar things to you, and might have useful advice and experiences to share with you. Talking helps! If you're lucky enough to have a good support network around you, tell them about your situation if you're able to. It's not always easy to talk about difficult things, but it's hard for your friends to help you if they don't know that you're struggling.
Consider every little achievement. At a different stage in life they may seem insignificant, but right now, anything you do counts. Did you get up this morning? Well done! Applaud yourself for every productive thing you do, such as taking a shower, cooking a meal, doing some work, spending time on a hobby, calling someone, taking a walk, reading a book, journaling or doing exercise. Reward yourself with pats on the back for every single thing you get done, and don't forget to be nice and kind to yourself. You're a person who deserves compassion, not only from the people around you, but from yourself as well.
Please don't feel guilty about having feelings or for being sad most of the time. Always remember that it's okay not to be okay. Not being okay isn't what we strive for, and it's important to keep the focus on getting up from a low point, but accepting that it's a process is important. It's not as easy as deciding that you're gonna be happy. It includes working on yourself and improving your situation, but realising that this takes time. Also, don't get yourself sucked into silly positivity phrases in the "Just smile!" category. They're most likely not gonna make you feel better, and just because the quotes make it sound easy to be happy, that's not always the case. You're on a journey towards happiness, and the journey is your own. And through everything, keep in mind that healing and getting better is not a linear process, and you might have setbacks. That's okay, it's all part of the journey.
Be realistic. Don't expect too much of yourself when getting out of bed or making a meal is a challenge. Don't fall into the trap of writing a long to-do list because you want to be productive. If you can't complete the list as desired it'll probably just lead to negative emotions such as guilt, stress or shame. These are feelings you want to avoid as much as you can. Beating yourself up over the situation or feeling bad about how you ended up there isn't constructive at all. There's no point in suffering extra because you're making yourself feel worse by adding guilt to the situation. It doesn't matter how you ended up here, you're here now and that's what needs to be dealt with. Not saying you shouldn't learn from potential mistakes so you don't end up making them again, but regretting something you've done does nothing to help you. You're better off putting that energy into something productive.
The phrase "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" really has some truth to it, even though it can sound incredibly stupid when you're riding the waves of a negative incident or having a bad time. After getting through something tough, it becomes easier to deal with other things in the future. You know you managed to get through something that seemed impossible at the time, but you did it. If you can do that, you're strong enough to deal with what comes in the future as well. Good things are gonna happen as well as bad things, and you have a lot to look forward to. I hope you're doing okay, and that you feel better about the journey you're on.
*This is meant as general advice, and not to replace professional help, which I would recommend you seek out if you're really struggling. Good luck on your journey of healing. I wish you all the good things in the world.
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