Staying STRONG when life gets TOUGH.
A few years back I hit rock bottom.
My relationship of 10 years broke down. I was in the middle of a family feud, renting a flat I didn't feel right in or enjoy living in. I was skint for the most part, living by myself. I had parents who couldn't care less and that I never heard from. I was depressed and very anxious but was a master at hiding it from anyone who I came into contact with. I put whatever additional cash I got into counselling sessions (something I would highly recommend to anyone).
There was one week when I had my flat broken into, my laptop, personal goods of any value and car stolen, I was ill, so couldn't work and I also got injured in the gym, performing exercise incorrectly because my mind wasn't focused in on the task at hand. This tipped me!
I felt weak. I felt like all of this was happening to me and I had no say or control. I felt like something had to change, like immediately!
After giving myself a serious talking to, I decided to read, watch and learn from people who were there to help. I watched talks and lectures on YouTube, reading articles by mentors and people who walked a similar path to me, as well as listening to what my body was telling me when it came to exercise.
I learnt and understood that absolutely everyone goes through times like what I was experiencing. What was important was how I reacted to my situation and use it to push forward.
Below are some key points which will help you get through the toughest of challenges in life, promoting personal strength and tenacity.
1 - Accept your current situation
This was a tough one to grasp for me as I had a difficult time accepting my current situation - I wanted out! But this is key going forward for anyone. Accept where you are now and your current situation. We can only move on from where we are in this present moment and in that present moment we can only move on from a place of acceptance. Holding onto what has happened in the past, feeling sorry for yourself or making excuse after excuse on why you are where you are will get you absolutely nowhere.
Acceptance shows you're in control. Being in control enables you to progress.
2 - Reflect and appreciate what is good right now
It can be all to easy to put all of your energy and focus into what is going wrong. I know I did! I thought EVERYTHING was going wrong. Maybe at one point, almost everything did. But then, thats when positive reflection comes into play.
I wrote down what exactly I had during this time that had a positive impact on my life. A roof over my head, food on the table, my career with supporting, understanding, hardworking clients. I was alive! Probably most important of all however was that I was aware and acknowledged that change had to happen.
It was only when I actually sat down and wrote all of the positives down that I began to realise that there was a lot to be grateful for. It gave me strength to remain persistent and I'd definitely recommend this to anyone struggling at the minute.
3 - Focus on small positive steps towards what you want
This is the first key step to change. What is it you want? Who do you want to be? What is it you want to achieve? How to this ideal life you want to live make you feel and how would you feel if you did nothing to work towards it? Having dreams and aspirations in life is very, very important and is extremely empowering.
Starting small is key. I started by first of all eating the best I could. I believed eating well would heal my injury, enabling me to get back to exercise as soon as possible. Cooking kept me productive at home and brought focus to the present moment when I felt my mind wandering. I also felt much better tidying up my diet, especially when it came to cutting down on junk food and alcohol, something which at that time in my life was dangerous.
Whatever it may be, however big, break your goals down to tiny segments and draft a plan that will help you make the smallest of steps towards that goal today.
4 - Do something that will make you feel good
This kinda ties in the above in that during tough times we want a high. We want to feel good pretty quick. This is why unfortunately most turn to drink or drugs, to mask the deep rooted feelings for another day. So by doing something that makes you feel good, I mean something that will support you and your goals.
Something good that supports you personally could be anything from a health or fitness angle or by socialising with friends, treating yourself or visiting a place that you like. If you have say a long term fat loss goal, in that you want to lose 5 stone, choose to go for a walk today. Choose to eat a healthy meal or take part in a small workout. Book an exercise class for this week or an activity in the future to work towards.
Doing something that supports you or your personal goal with provide the strength you need to persist.
5 - Understand that you are in control
The really difficult thing to grasp during tough periods in life is separating and understanding what we can and can't control. There are certain things completely out of our control. What other people say or do is one of those things that we have no control over, but how we are going forward is whats key.
We are in control of every situation we are in.
You may have experienced poor health or such tragedy to say "that's not true, I had no say in this situation" but what we CAN do is choose how to react, to any circumstance or challenge thrown at us and take control going forward.
During my dark periods in the past I had a 2 choices. LOSE control, give up, turn to drink and drugs more often, potentially lose my business and give up completely. I went for option number 2, deciding to focus on the important things that mattered to me.
We are in complete control of how we react and progress in our lives. Taking the reigns, being in control, is a major step in staying strong in a difficult period.
These are some of the keys steps that helped me and what I believe can help you too going forward. We have to be aware of our feelings and we have to understand we have the power to react and progress in a manner that we want, regardless of what card has been dealt our way. Everything comes to you at the right time and for that we have to make sure we stay strong, prepared and ready for the next step forward.
You can find the strength you need in any situation.