It seems to me that we are all going through some challenging times right now. Some of us are working in jobs we don’t like, that don’t feel right, some of us have failed important exams, some of us are facing important business decisions. I myself am working through a break up with a man I love so deeply, I can’t even begin to explain. While the breakup itself, I am overcoming much stronger and faster than I thought, which might be the topic for another post, it definitely opened up a channel for lots and lots of thoughts, things to process and to work through.
So let’s just say this: Things have been difficult. For all of us. And as I was on a run recently I’ve began to wonder how I am working things out right now, how I am actually handling it all. So many times the advice I find online or even sometimes from the person next to me, is not enough for me. It doesn’t give as much detail as I wish. It doesn’t help me to read that I should meditate or that I should write things down. I want details. As much as I can. I’ve been thinking about that for a while and even more intense ever since I went to visit my dear friend Mirjam. What really came out of all my thoughts is that I’d rather publish only one post a week, but that one to go as deep as I possibly can, giving as much insight as I can on my own inner work, hoping to inspire you on an even deeper level. And since it seemed to me that this last month has been a challenging one for most of us, that’s what I will be talking about today. How am I mastering those challenging times?
I get real about what’s really going on
Sometimes this in itself is already a challenge. To really name up on what’s happening. This doesn’t mean that you have to say it out loud, you only need to become aware of it yourself. Now when it comes to my example, when you look at my situation from the outside it is pretty simple. The break up is challenging me. And while this is true in some way, there are other things it brought up. For instance, that I am not happy with my body right now, not as happy as I could be, missing my workout routine. Or that I am working in a challenging school, which takes up a lot of my energy. Or that truly, deeply, in my heart I know exactly what I am here to do but struggle to do so.
As I said, sometimes things don’t happen on the surface and you can’t put a finger on them, so how do I know that I am struggling? Here are a few indicators that usually show me that something isn’t good:
- I loose my morning routine and simply cannot get myself to get up early.
- I am easily annoyed by others and I rather hide away at home.
- Any kind of social commitment drives me crazy.
- I fall back into binge: binging on Netflix or food or both.
- I loose all of my inspiration.
- I am tired. All the time.
Now those are a few of the indicators that tell me right away: Ronja, something is going on. It took a while to find those patterns, to become aware of them. But I know sure thing, we all have them. For some it’s partying a lot, for others it’s food, for some it’s crazy workout, for others it’s sex or alcohol or drugs. But what now? What if I realize that I am not doing well and put a name on it, what shall I do now?
There is nothing I need to do
Now if you’ve been here for a while, you know that writing and meditation are my number one tools for everything. But here’s the thing: At the beginning of tough times, I can’t meditate, I can’t sit in silence and I most definitely can’t find the strength to write my thoughts down. I just can’t. And I am not going to preach you, that you should. So many that you ask for advice will immediately tell you to do this or that, to follow x routine and to avoid y. But honestly, that’s not helping. Nope. Not me. At first I need to dive head into this mood. And for years I’ve judged myself for not “having it all together”. So let me tell you this: There is nothing you need to do. There is no plan to follow and there is nothing you need to avoid. You just need to be and I know that that itself can be a challenge.
Embrace this. Embrace the pain. The sadness. The grief. The anger. The fear. Let it out, let it out, let it out. Even if that means coming home after work and collapsing into tears. It is okay.
This is your pain. This is what you need to feel right now. This is what you need to experience. Embrace it. Embrace it. Embrace it. And then…
Become aware of your needs
You’ve become aware of your struggles, you put a name on them and you embraced each and every one of your feelings. What I’ve experienced in times I struggle is an intense feeling of overwhelm stretching through my whole body. I feel overwhelmed about the struggle, about all the emotions, the action my daily life calls me to take, the to do’s on my lists, the commitments I made, the friends that ask my attention. I get overwhelmed. And I know I can’t do it all. So I need to become aware of my needs. Right now, I am the most important person. And no, this has nothing to do with egoism. You are in pain, you come first. Ask yourself this: What would help me to feel more calm? What can I do in order to get those emotions out? What or who could help me to feel better?
The answers to those questions can be different every time, every day. Here’s what I needed in those past weeks: I needed to sleep, lots and lots of sleep in order to heal. I had to get out of the city, I had to get away so I booked a plane ticket to Zurich, to visit Mirjam as spontaneously as I’ve never done before. I had to be alone, to process everything and to work things out. This time I had to do this on my own, I didn’t want to discuss it with my friends. I had to spend hours on Netflix with way too many cookies and chocolate. And then I slowly began to…
Put the pieces back together
Step by step and little by little we can put the pieces back together. So many times in the past I’ve found myself asking “When will I finally feel better? When will life get normal again?”. Truth is, there is no right answer. It depends. Sometimes it takes a weekend, sometimes it takes a month. What I know is this: You will know when you are ready again, when it is time to put the pieces back together. And then it’s important to take it slow. There is no need to rush, you’ve got time. Instead of rushing, check in as you are pulling your head out of the sand. How are you feeling? How are you? Is what you are doing feeling right?
After the break up I quickly got back on my feet. Because I had to, workwise, and because I quickly saw the good in it all (which is a muscle I’ve been growing over the past years). Yet, there were emotions within me, that I didn’t fully had let out, that I hadn’t fully experienced. I kept up, until it all got too much, until I came home one afternoon and burst into tears. Although it didn’t feel good right then and there, it is okay. It is part of the process. Please don’t judge yourself about it. Sadness and grief are part of the process and “not having everything under control” (which lets be honest, we never have) is normal. It happens. It could still happen to me every day, because…
It takes time to heal
You’ve got hurt. You’ve got sad. You are grieving. You are struggling. You are going through a tough time. And no matter how many times you’ve experienced that before, no matter how many personal development books you’ve read: It takes time to heal.
So there is no time frame for this. It can take a day, it can take a month and it can happen over and over again. So don’t worry if you feel you’ve got it all together, and then the next day fall right back. Again. IT IS OKAY. There is no right or wrong. Take it easy, take it slow.
And lastly, I thought I share the mantra’s, the things that I tell myself in this, maybe the resonate with you, maybe they don’t.
Take it slow.
One step after another. Little by little.
I can and I will.
Love over fear. Always.
I hope this helps, I hope this serves you. And I am sending you lots of love and positive vibes. Whatever is happening: You can do this.
And of course, if you have any other ideas or tips, please let us know in the comments below. Let’s always learn from each other.