Friday, March 29, 2013

When The Going Gets Tough, Get Tougher

Having a hard week? A hard couple of months? A hard start to the new year? 

We've all been there, at some point or another. You're more than entitled to letting the stress get to you, but we know how much fun the results of THAT are: sleepless nights, struggling to get through the day, missing out on get togethers with friends, and having a closet full of clothes of nothing to wear (to be fair, that last one can happen any day of the week ;)

Whether you're struggling to meet a deadline for a project at work, dealing with drama in your personal life, or even if you're just having a bad hair day, you owe it to yourself to work through these obstacles while keeping in mind that there is usually a light at the end of the tunnel. It can be hard, if not impossible, to remember this in the moment but I have faith in you. Or maybe it's an eternal supply of optimistic stupidity. Either way, neither have led me astray yet.

With that in mind, here are some recommendations for getting tougher when the going gets tough. Full disclaimer: there may or may not be tea involved.

1. Surround Yourself with Good Friends

There really is no recipe to sleeping better at night and waking up clear headed than surrounding yourself with good people. Friends, family, whoever they might be, these are the people that can talk you down from a late night freakout and reassure you that no, you AREN'T crazy. They are also the people who are going to be there for you no matter how tough things get. Consider these individuals your rock-solid foundation when it feels like the rest of the world is falling apart. 

Practicing positive affirmation with your friends is another cathartic way to work through your problems. A handful of my girlfriends and I did this at our recent girls night, and I drove home that night feeling so much clearer, positive, and at ease with myself. It's not just about the compliments, either - it's about hearing how much the people you love the most likewise love you for exactly who you are. 

2. Turn the Music Up

Get your car, sit in your room, go for a run/walk, whatever you need to do, and turn the music up! The power of music can be intensely effective, particularly in times of stress and hardship. That being said, take a moment to close your eyes and let the music remind you that everything will eventually be okay. Perhaps not tomorrow, or the day after, but things WILL work themselves out. Whether you get what you want or what you need, the result is the same: life goes on, and you with it. You might as well surround yourself with some kickass jams while you're at it ;)

Some people may not consider this video to the right a "kickass jam" and that's just fine, but I find this tune gets me smiling even on the worst of days.


3. DON'T Act Your Age

Did someone say Disney party? Laser tag? Ice cream for dinner? All of the above? Consider taking a break from all the things that are stressing you out for some serious play time. More often than not, it will remind you to appreciate the simple pleasures while putting work/drama on the back burner. We all need space from each other sometimes - and this includes space from your own over-thinking, stressed out tendencies. Anyone ready for a round of freeze tag?  

4. Step Away from Social Media, Email, Etc.

Turn off your computer and put your smart device down. Seriously, put it down and step away! Can we just agree that sometimes it's being TOO connected that facilitates or encourages drama and stress? As someone who works with social media for a living, even I would agree that it's essential to disconnect once in awhile. Or more than once in awhile. Give yourself room to breathe and I figure one or more the following may come to pass: you'll actually connect in person with your friends (see my first suggestion), you'll gain perspective of what's actually worth getting stressed out about, and most importantly, the world will go on.  Believe it or not, the sky will not come crashing down (apologies, Chicken Little) if you aren't responding to emails on the weekends. This is something I continually remind myself of, and guess what: the sky is still chillin up where it belongs.

5. Communication Vs. Internalizing 

You aren't a glass bottle meant to be tossed out to sea, sealed up, and with the small chance that you'll have the chance to open up. So why internalize the stress or complications that are hounding you? It's this kind of behavior that will lead to internal combustion, and an outpouring of stifled emotions. Rather, have the courage to communicate your feelings and work through them. Trust me, there are people in your life that DO want to help, or at the very least will listen like only a good friend can. 

6. Make a Cup of Tea 

Okay, so this might be a bit biased of a recommendation, but I stand by it. A cup of hot/iced tea may not solve all the world's problems - or your own - but it will help you to work through those problems with a clear head and heart. And if it doesn't, you obviously need to be drinking a better brand of tea ;) What comes down to is ritual. Whether you drink tea or not, identify the simple rituals that put you at ease. Exercise, reading, going for a walk, eating ice cream, shopping, or simply finding a quiet moment to yourself. The rituals we choose are as different as people themselves. Find yours and stick to it. You'll be grateful you did. 

7. Be True to Your Heart

Enough said. Be true to your heart, to who you are, and to what your goals are. And maybe listen to this throwback jam from 98 Degrees to remind yourself that you're already awesome - everything beyond that is just icing on an already fabulous cake.



Need even more recommendations on handling stress? Check out one of my older posts, Stop in the Name of Losing Your Mind!