The #1 Question that I've been asked: How do you get through challenging times? - Day 11 of 40 DAYS OF GROWTH
The #1 Question that I've been asked: How do you get through challenging times? (i.e. how do you keep showing up consistently?) - Day 11 of 40 DAYS OF GROWTH
With transitioning from law into leadership development three years ago, then starting Jen Y Insights last year and, most recently, being injured, I've learned A LOT and been asked a lot of questions about 'how I do it' by friends, older colleagues and people on social media.
Vulnerability: The Challenging Times
Not only that, but... and here comes the vulnerability... I've experienced, like so many other people, a period of time with shitty mental health, overwhelm and feeling 'stuck' and weighed down. Getting out of that hole was one of the hardest things I've had to do (and I've done a lot of challenging things!) Surviving it and keeping on going has not only given me a greater appreciation of my health holistically and a set of tools to deal with things when times get tough, but it's given me a greater ability to coach and counsel people who are going through periods of challenge and transition.
The most common questions I've been getting recently are about: How do I get through challenging times? And, how do I keep showing up consistently?
Jen Y Insights Answer: Having a WHOLE HOST of Self-Care Strategies!
The above are BIG questions and I have numerous different ways to answer them. Essentially, I have a WHOLE HOST OF SELF-CARE STRATEGIES that I use to get through challenging periods of time. I've honed them over the last few years to make sure I've always got some strategy up my sleeve no matter the situation. I've honed these coping strategies down so that most of them are independent of weather, independent of resources and I am able to remember to do them at a moments notice (critical!).
I have TWO MANTRAS THAT I LIVE BY and repeat to myself OFTEN:
- Get up, Dress up and Show up... every single day
- A little bit and often
For the last 2 years I've had on the back of my door a list of things that are important for me to remember to keep things in perspective. Because I've been seeing these every morning before I head out the door for the last 2 years, a number of these are now imprinted in my memory.
Returning to my breath - focusing on my breath (mindfulness exercises). Most recently, in a 'falling table vs big toe' saga, to cope with the pain I used my breath. Not kidding. I deliberately took in long deep exhales into my diaphragm and exhaled out through my mouth so as not to hyperventilate and cause myself to have a panic attack over the pain. Extremely effective!! Mindfulness (I wrote a blog about it here) and meditation practices have been so life changing for me that I now teach them to others so that they can also learn and use them!
Little plug (because I'm so excited!) - I've recently been featured in an Ovio Mindfulness PROMO VIDEO!!!! Check it out here :) :) :)
feeling the fear and thinking "whatever happens, I'LL HANDLE IT" -> this is from Susan Jeffer's 'Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway' book
When I'm confused or unsure how something or a situation is going to pan out I reassure myself that whatever happens, (1) I trust myself and (2) I'll work it out. Essentially, this is like treating myself like my best friend - something that has taken work to do consistently.
I consciously bring up a memory of some 'benchmark' I've got of a challenging situation that I've been through and what strategies I used to get through that. Outward Bound is one of my key go-to benchmarks when I face a physical challenge - I always remember that whatever I'm currently going through, I've been through Outward Bound which was WAY more challenging for me.
VULNERABILITY: being HONEST about how I'm currently feeling and what I'm going to and telling someone who I care about and who I trust. This is almost always the first thing that I do.
Sleep - if there's a challenging decision that needs to be made and I've got time to make that decision, I'll often write down the question I have on a piece of paper before I go to bed and then, when I wake up, I'll often have the answer to that question.
Exercise, oh yes!! Dancing is something that ALWAYS makes me feel good. If it's bad weather: having a dance party inside! Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees 😃 That, and going for a walk in nature somewhere where I'm guaranteed to bump into a dog to cuddle 😃
Going for a walk, in nature, and talking with someone = this ticks 3 strategy boxes for me. Exercise, endorphins, connection and fresh air = almost always guaranteed to boost energy and mood.
Working within parameters! Some days 'Power-House-Jen' is present. Other days, it's 'low-energy-bit-sad-and-overwhelmed-Jen'. On any of these days I work within these parameters and I celebrate what gets done #celebratethelittlewins
Essentially, I balance discipline and consistent action (get up, dress up, show up) with self-compassion and working within my limits. This is key for me.
Questions for you
What do you do when you're in periods of challenge or overwhelm? What are your key strategies? I'd LOVE to hear them in the comments section below (or message me privately, that also works!) 😃