Oh how life can throw you some curve balls. Tough and hard stuff that is difficult to navigate through. Unfamiliar valleys so deep that you feel blind and have to find your way through them. I’ve had my share.
Whether a physical or emotional challenge; a loss of loved one, facing a serious illness, unthinkable surprises that hit you out of the blue, dreams that are thwarted, or whatever it might be, you need tools to help you navigate through those troubled waters. Here are some things I’ve found that have helped me during these deep and difficult times.
- Take a walk. Maybe you have a favorite place like the beach or a special path. Take a walk and just take a deep breath.
- Breathe. Practice breathing exercises that can help you feel more present. The value of a deep breath and taking a moment to pause is greater than you might think.
- Retreat. If time and means allow you, take a small trip. The change of scenery sometimes allows for renewal. It doesn’t need to be grandeurs, it could be to a friends or some place simple, but different.
- Take care of yourself. Stress requires additional resources to your body and mind. Eating right, exercising and practicing relaxation techniques are key. You have to put on that oxygen mask first before you can help others.
- Prioritize. This is something that may take time, but starting the process to prioritize the important things in your life and what is best for your well-being is key. Maybe it’s a change in job (which can be scary, but a blessing in the long run). Maybe it’s making more time to care for yourself, because you’re such a caregiver. Possibly it’s recognizing that more resources (financially, physically, mentally) are going out than coming in and you need to set some healthy boundaries.
- Do something you love. Whether singing, playing music, creating art, doing a sport . . . do something you love. Take a little time and fill up your bank.
- Lean on Family and Friends. Sometimes we think we need to carry the burden or trouble on our own. Our family and friends are there for us. Sharing with our safe circle can help ease some of the weight of these troubled waters. Sometimes the gift of their presence is so precious and just what we need. No words are needed, just knowing they care and are there, is such a gift. Other times words of wishes can be shared as loved ones have been through something similar.
- Give to others. Sometimes doing some thing for others when we are going through a difficult time can encourage our souls. Serve at a soup kitchen, give to a charity.
- Be Still and Rest. The above about giving to others or doing something you love, those are important. But there are other times that you just need to be still. Being still helps us with clarity and can refresh us. Resting is so important to build up our energy both emotionally and physically. Sometimes this can be being completely still or others times it may be listening to uplifting music. Recently I have been learning about the absolute importance of good sleep. It is critical for good health and especially during times of stress. Routine is important, turning off technology and making the time for good rest is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.
- Stand on your Faith. Reading scripture, standing on promises you know to be true by past experience, focusing on faith and the strength and comfort it brings, is so important when things are unsure. A great practice is a gratitude journal, or journaling in general.
These are just a few tools that have helped me when walking through a deep valley. I hope they are reminders to you when that time comes. If that time is now for you, know that I am with you in prayers and thought.
I do understand that this is easy to share, and harder to practice. It’s also a good reminder to me.
Know you matter. Know you are loved. Know you are precious.