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When Life Doesn’t Go Your Way

Barmouth Beach Building Stronger

Taking this photograph in Barmouth, North Wales last week instantly made me think of the caption

"WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU STICKS AND STONES ...... WHAT DO YOU DO?"

Let's face it we can all go through periods in our life when life does give us the full hurricane force of many sticks, stones and pebbles and crap thrown at us without even having the time to recover from the previous. Running from one S*** Storm to another without notice or chance for recovery. One crisis to another. Know that feeling?

WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU STRESS - WHAT DO YOU DO? 
When things do turn to crap or there's one crisis after the other and it feels like our whole world is going to cave in - wether its a bereavement, a break-up, redundancy, addiction, the arm of the law ... its easy to go into meltdown. To think there's no way out. To get anxious, depressed, stop looking after oneself. To go round and round in circles talking about it without any resolution or chance of moving on. To be in a dark hole with no way out. Does this sound a familiar story?

But what if we could see THIS STRESS LIFE GIVES US as an OPPORTUNITY to learn, to grow, to develop, to evolve and eventually build from all the pain, heartache and suffering ..... In fact BUILD SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL, MAJESTIC AND WONDERFUL exactly like what this photograph captures.

If when we are suffering, if we could view our hurt as a learning opportunity for growth? Sounds great in hindsight doesn't it? So how do we do that? When you frightened? scared? in denial? in pain?

I view our emotional well being helped by looking at our "HOLISTIC WHOLE" and SELF CARE is essential to get you through the tough times. When a client come for therapy one of our starting points is looking at the "holistic whole". For therapy to be effective I believe we need to address the person's "whole life". If a client is turning up to therapy severely sleep deprived - it's obvious to me they are not to gain as much from the therapy session. Looking at the holistic whole is in a way ensuring the client has strong or stable (ish) foundations before we delve into the deep stuff!

Here are 5 tips on how to get yourself through the battles life can throw at you so you can (eventually) re-appear strong, contented and majestic! These are SELF CARE tips to help you when are going through a crap time. Some of them sound really obvious - but are so easy to let go of .... ironically when we need them the most!

5 TIPS TO SURVIVING LIFE'S STRESS OF STICKS & STONES ..........

1. GET PLENTY OF SLEEP

I know you are probably thinking ... there's no way you can sleep.Your mind might be racing at a trillion a second. Being sleep deprived contributes to you becoming vulnerable. Physically and mentally. Wether download an app like headspace, leave your phone, iPad, all electronics out of the bedroom, a 10 minute mindfulness meditation, a warm bath, lavender oil. Whatever it takes getting plenty of sleep will HELP!! You may not be able to focus - it may take effort trying to meditate. You may not feel like looking after yourself but Sleep is ESSENTIAL for healthy emotional wellbeing and you might have to pull out all the stops to make sure you are getting plenty of good quality sleep.

2. EAT HEALTHY, DRINK WATER

We we are stressed out many of us can’t be bothered with food that is good for us. Its then we need it MOST - but most us of reach for the mars bars, take aways, and any thing that is going to comfort us. In reality who wants a poxy Caesar salad when we are over stressed???

But if you can think of us humans like a plant. We need optimal conditions fed to us to function, recharge and grow. That includes water to stay hydrated and nutrients to regenerate. Else we will wither away … just like an unloved house plant. If you really can’t face cooking or eating healthy at least try to compensate with some multi vitamin's.

Im not really an advocate of multi vitamins when you could instead get your needed nutrients from food. BUT WHEN NEEDS MUST. When we are going through a rough ride I guess multi-vitamins are better than going without.

3. CUT OUT ALCOHOL or SUBSTANCES  OR CUT DOWN YOUR CONSUMPTION.

It’s quite easy when in pain to reach for something that is going to ease that pain even if it is for a short term fix. But alcohol or another coping mechanism like gambling, shopping, drugs are all short term fixes. There's always the danger like a tornado there suck you in deeper and deeper in. So for some it might be best to avoid such coping mechanisms until you are more resilient and have more control over your emotions. It doesn’t have to be forever! You could think of it as a way of saving some money - and spending it on a little treat.

4. OPEN THE TAP AND RELEASE THE PAIN

Find a way of releasing all the hurt , pain, anger, resentment in a constructive, healthy way opposed to a self-harming, destructive way. Creativity is a flexible tool to use to release emotion that could be building up in you. The great thing is there are no rules to what creativity is ….. its personal to you. So whether its doodling, painting, writing poetry, crafting, keeping a photo journal, crafting, airplane modelling, knitting ……… its healthy to find something which works for you. Which will help you focus, take a little time out from worry. I know some of you might be thinking along the lines of …..how the hell do you think I am going to concentrate on knitting when I am about to lose my house? Its difficult and you might just think you have more important things to do (like worry!). But the reality is taking some time out will really help rest and recharge the active mind.

5. IMPROVE YOUR CONCENTRATION.

When we are under stress we can become angry, short-tempered, forgetful … our mind racing with worry. Replaying events again and again and again leaving little space in our head to remember where we put those keys or did we lock that door. If you could take 10 - 20 minutes out of your day to do some short Mindfulness exercises, these would really help. Either a short body scan or breathing exercises. Your mind WILL wonder. And it most likely will be a struggle ….. they won’t necessarily come easy, but a small investment in your “FOCUS and CONCENTRATION” will really beneficial in helping you stay calm.

And of course it's natural to NOT want to do any of these tips, perhaps drinking yourself into a pink gin stupor, gorging on chocolate cake and digestive biscuits sound more appealing. I don’t think there's too much wrong with any of these coping mechanisms as a one off - if that's what you feel you need to do.

But once you’ve got that out of your system these top 6 tips will help you when you are going through a battering that life is known to throw at us now and again. By ensuring you are well rested, well feed nutritionally and emotionally this will make you a lot more resilient to deal with whatever life throws at you. And you will eventually emerge Stronger, Happier, Contented …. Looking back knowing you have grown as a person.

Remember WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU STICKS AND STONES …. YOU CAN, YOU WILL ONE DAY EMERGE BEAUTIFUL, STRONG AND MAJESTIC!!!!

Ready to find out more?

Hello there I am  Yasmin a qualified counsellor, registered with the BACP and I follow their ethical guidelines. I am available for counselling sessions in North Leeds, Bradford, Harrogate and Otley. I am also available for online counselling also via secure video calling.

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