Remember when we celebrated the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020? I think it’s safe to say so many of us were hoping that THIS would be our year, that 2020 would finally be the year we did the thing…we lost the weight we’ve been carrying around, we went back to school, we graduated, we earned that promotion, we got married, and so on. Whatever that big goal was, we were so hopeful that 2020 would be a year full of accomplishments.
You know I love to embrace the perfectly imperfect, but this year has been far from perfect, and I think pretty far from any of our expectations. But if I’ve learned one thing over the years it’s that what happens to us isn’t what matters the most because we can’t always control that, right? Instead, what matters most is how we react to any situation. We have a choice every single day to look at the glass as half empty or half full. It’s all about mindset and choosing joy and putting ourselves high on our priorities list that will ultimately get us through even the darkest situations.
I’ve had to sit and remind myself of this advice over and over. If you’ve followed me for a bit, you may know that Chris and I announced our separation earlier this year. I’m not sure that I ever thought I’d find myself navigating a second divorce. Not only have I had to keep my heart in check, but I’m trying so hard to make sure the four little hearts I’m in charge of stay in tact through all of this as well. They’ve had to navigate through all this newness—new homes, new normals, and new co-parenting, but the one thing that continues to stand out to me is their resiliency. And you know what’s amazing? They’ve done it all with a smile on their faces. And if they can do that, then I owe it to them to try and do the same.
I think it’s when we’re able to dig deep within ourselves and find our strength, even through moments of immense sadness and struggle, that we come out stronger, more resilient, and better for it in the long run. It’s not always easy, but here’s how we can make it through!
Positive Thinking and Self-Talk
This is key. Of course, crying and feeling our feelings plays an important role. It’s so easy to let negative thoughts and feelings cloud our emotions, and when we allow that to happen, all we do is make ourselves feel worse. Instead of giving into the negativity, we have to push it aside, even when we’re sad, or angry, or hurt, or frustrated, or any combo of those emotions. It’s okay to feel that way, guys. It’s okay to feel and experience all those emotions. When we lose something we love or when our path in life changes, there’s a grieving process we go through, and while it’s important to allow ourselves to experience that grief, we can’t live there. We can’t stay there forever or we’ll never climb out.
When we’re going through a personal struggle, it’s also very easy to be overly critical when it comes to self-reflection. I’m so guilty of getting hung up on all the things I could have done differently, and it’s hard when we see our own failures. But we have to look at them as opportunities to learn. It’s so important to use positive thinking and self-talk as a way of building ourselves back up. Here are some great ideas:
- Write little notes of affirmation and stick them to my mirror
- Wake up in the morning and say things like, “I Can” or “I Am Enough”
- Instead of focusing on what you didn’t do that day, focus on what you did accomplish. As small as it may be, you did it!
These are great reminders I need that no matter what the day has in store for me, I can handle it. I even practice positive self-talk with my kids, reminding them that they are loved and worthy, especially during a time when they’re at their most vulnerable. Hopefully, doing this builds such a strong foundation that no matter what life throws at them, they’ll feel strong, supported, and capable of powering through anything.
Meditation and Prayer
I believe that a higher power is watching over me, and I believe in the importance of connecting with this higher power. No matter what you believe in, it’s crucial to connect with your spiritual side in some way. Whether this is through meditation, church, prayer, or whatever works best for you, spending a few minutes each day in that quiet peacefulness, connecting with someone or something bigger than yourself, will help. Sometimes I just leave the chaos behind and go for a quick walk. There’s something about being out in nature and watching the sun setting at the end of the day that just fills me with this wonder and awe, and I feel like no matter what is going on in the world, I know I’ll be alright. I know that I’m being looked after and that I have a purpose in this world. It’s during these times that I feel closest to God and my beliefs, and I cherish every single moment I’m able to do this.
Exercise is key. On a scientific level, exercise releases endorphins that make us happy, but it’s also such a great way to relieve stress. There’s nothing better than sweating out the bad stuff and leaving every ounce of stress and self-doubt on the ground in a big ole’ pile of sweat, tears, and dirt. Getting up and exercising is part of my daily routine. I do it first thing so I’m less likely to put it off the busier I get, and I call it my free therapy. That hour in the gym or outside running or walking is MY hour. It’s 60 entire minutes dedicated to me, and there’s something about getting up and moving that just helps me feel better no matter what I’m going through.
They say that laughter is the best medicine, and whoever they are, they’re right. Getting on the phone and having a good conversation and sharing some laughs with my mom or a friend is key for getting through the tough times. They’ll let me talk, vent, and ramble on and on (and I do the same for them), and it helps. And at the end of it all, they’ll always have something to say that just makes me giggle until it turns into full blown laughter. And I swear, guys, it makes all the difference. No matter what it is that’s bothering you, whether it’s a goal you feel like you’re not achieving, a heartbreak, or even just trying to navigate through virtual learning, laugh it out. Find someone you can talk to and get those emotions out of your body before they take over for good.
If you can’t share a laugh with a loved one, you can laugh by yourself. I know what you’re thinking…Heidi, this sounds crazy. BUT I dare you to try this: look in the mirror and force yourself to laugh for ten seconds. You can do this with your family as well. Now, you’ll feel ridiculous at first, but soon, that forced laughter will turn into genuine laughter so big you’ll be cracking yourself up. It’s a much needed stress relief at the end of the day.
Learning to find our strength through our struggles is never easy. Taking a step back and reflecting can be uncomfortable and icky feeling, right? But it’s so important to do, and you’ll be happier for it in the long run. What’s something you find yourself turning to when you’re faced with hardships? Leave your best advice below and let’s all support one another.
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