Staying sane during troubled times

nasa-bird-public-domain-free-nature-2011-1024Lately things have been extremely stressful for me. Without going into too much detail, suffice it to say that I just feel overwhelmed and discouraged by circumstances that are somewhat out of my control, but still manage to weigh heavily on my heart and mind. I think I would have gone crazy recently if it weren’t for my spiritual connections and the support and encouragement of those who love me. Although I am not happy to be facing difficult times and circumstances, I am glad to have the reality check that helps me get back to the basics of what is really important in this life.

So now that I am (hopefully) starting to see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, I would like to share the actual practices and actions that have helped me through, in the hopes that others going through the valley might find comfort and encouragement for their own battles. So here it is, a short list of lifesavers I have discovered:

  • Meditation and prayer – this is probably the one single thing that has helped me the most. I practice a combination of mindfulness and relaxation meditation, combined with prayer based on the particular Christian tradition I follow. I do breathing exercises, practice yoga, meditate to soothing music, read inspirational literature, journal and just spend time talking to God. Regardless of whether you are religious or not, there are plenty of relaxation and spiritual practices that may help you to find that inner peace and stability you need during rough times. Don’t be afraid to go within or look up for help.
  • Loved ones – this includes my husband, my family, my close friends, my pets and even Facebook friends that I have never met in person, but who have shown me great kindness and compassion throughout my troubles. One ironic thing I have found is that sometimes those who don’t even really know us show more compassion and love during hard times than some of the folks who we see on a regular basis. During times like this you find out that some people will always be there for you and other people are merely acquaintances. Although it may hurt, it is good to know who will be there when the chips are down.
  • Take care of your health – although sad and desperate times may tempt you to neglect your health, this will only make things much, much worse. Although I have had days recently where I was guilty of indulging in chocolate and caffeine fests, I find that I feel much, much better when I drag myself out to get exercise and eat what I know is good for my body. Make sure you take time to rest and sleep as well. Sometimes when all seems lost, laying down and taking a nap helps you recharge and “reset” your mind into a more positive direction.
  • Take time to play – this can be hard when you are facing tragedy and constant stressors, but it is important to try to keep life fun as much as you can. So do what brings you pleasure, even if you can only devote a few minutes a day. Read, write, draw, paint, do puzzles, dance around to your favorite music, watch cartoons, cook, shop, spend time with nature….whatever your bliss is, find time for it.

Well, that is the majority of what has worked for me. I can’t promise that what worked for me will do wonders for you too, but maybe it will if you give it a chance. It certainly can’t hurt to try.