Life continues to amaze me. On a daily basis, I find many new twists and turns to my journey. Through all of the ups and the downs, I have really been forced to find my own ways of dealing with everything that goes on. I’;m not here to tell you how to live your life, or to give you a guaranteed method of managing it. I am here to tell you what worked for me and how it can work for you.
Before I get into the details, I do want to give a little background of myself, just to show how I have had a huge transformation in my life. When I was twenty years old, I truly found myself. This article isn’;t about that, but it relates to it. Happiness was what I was seeking and I looked everywhere for it. By this time in my life, I had found out just how dark and awful the world was. After going through some painful breakups, de-moralizing academic setbacks, dealing with the death of a close friend, the divorce of my parents, and the split up of my entire family, I had discovered just how hard life was. On top of this, I was trying to find direction in my life, planning on trying to settle down in the next couple years, and really capture what I truly wanted. After getting myself through these things, plus many other struggles, I have come up with some invaluable tips that I had learned the hardway. These have gotten me through many other issues that have come up in my life.
My background leads me into my first bit of advice. You have to know what you want. This was the hardest thing for me to figure out. I was in college, working towards a degree in a field that I truly love. I was planning on just getting a job after graduating, but I had never put forth much thought into what I truly wanted. I was getting depressed because I felt like I had no direction in life. Well, I was right and wrong about that. I had direction in areas that I was sure of, but had no direction with things that I hadn’;t truly decided if I wanted or not. At the time, I wanted to just be happy, and I thought that was enough. It took many sleepless nights and stressful days deep in thought to find out what would make me happy. Save yourself the struggle and figure out what you want before you get in over your head.
After I realized what I wanted, I could then figure out how to get there. Along the way, I felt held back by family, “friends” who only failed me when I needed them most, academic setbacks, and many other things. I found that the only way to handle things is to take them as they come. It is a complete waste of energy and sanity to try to deal with everything at once. Sometimes, that is just not possible. Take your time and get through things. Do what you need to do. You aren’;t responsible for anyone else’;s happiness except your own.
Now, to the focus of this article, I will tell you how I got through things. The first priority is to make sure you are eating and sleeping. It is okay to not be hungry or tired, they are both side effects of stress, but you have to eat and sleep to function. You can always take time off work or turn down social invites if you are feeling overloaded, but you can’;t sacrifice food or sleep. Try to stay positive and always have a plan for what you are going to do. Sometimes, you really just don’;t have a plan, and that is when you just have to take things as they come. To keep your sanity, you really need to find support in others. It is a natural reaction to want to be alone and not do anything, but it is best if you find someone close to talk to, have fun with, and stay busy with. While relationships are important, having alone time is equally as important. Find something to occupy your mind and have “you time”. That is where you can really think and calm down. I shower, ride my motorcycle, go for a drive, fish, or do things like that. Have fun and it will help you deal with stress.
Once you have a handle on your basic human needs, it is time to do the hardest thing. Suit up and prepare for battle. While it is important to stay busy and keep your mind off things through trials, the only way to deal with stress is head on. Attack the cause of the stress and figure out how to eliminate or minimize it.
An important thing to remember is that this is never a stagnant process. It is a constant balancing act of all of the things listed above. You will constantly find yourself doing many things, but remember it is not a set of stairs. Moving backwards is not neccissarily a bad thing. It could even prove to be a step forward. Never let yourself get down, realize that being sad or depressed is just part of the natural human emotional cycle. Stay focused on the end result and do what it takes to get through.