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3 Tips: Surviving The Tough Stuff

I know it seems like it’s all pretty stuff over here but it’s really been a tough go as we’ve grown our brand.  There is no telling when the shit will hit the fan and in my case it happened in the form of a cancer diagnosis as our brand really took off.  Sometimes when it seems like all is well life just kicks you in the crotch right?  All of the social media calls to “be grateful!” and “count your blessings!” and “stop comparing!” gets drowned in the noise of the stress and strain life changes, illnesses, challenges and failures can bring.  I get it.  When you are stuck in the darkness, it’s hard to see the light.  I have 3 tips to share on how to drag yourself to the surface again.

1) Permission

Give yourself permission to feel shitty when life gets hard.  It’s ok to feel sad/angry/tired/ungrateful/scared/lost/alone.  We put so much pressure on ourselves and each other to be positive all the time.  Happy all the time.  Optimistic all the time.  It’s not healthy to ignore “negative” feelings and it’s a bit silly to think we can protect ourselves from feeling them by scolding ourselves.  It actually makes the dark feelings last longer if you bury them under sugar.  So give yourself permission to feel all the feelings, even the “bad” ones and trust me they won’t linger around as long.  One warning here too: don’t let others make you feel bad for feeling them either.  When my friends (who I love dearly) get on me about staying positive I often say “thank you for trying to help but today I just need to embrace the shitty stuff so tomorrow can be a bit brighter”.  Well, I don’t actually say that out loud as often as I should but I am getting better!

2) Letting Go & Letting Others Help

This one was the hardest for me.  During my recovery from 2 surgeries and radiation therapy and then 2 years of my body figuring out how to function without my thyroid, I’ve had to learn to just let some things go.  I couldn’t keep up to my own standards of how clean the house should be, how healthy and homemade the meals were and how often I needed to just lay down.  This pile of laundry is always lurking around the corner now, we are never caught up and that’s just fine.  We order take out a lot more now and we say YES when people offer to help us.  I know it sounds crazy but this was HARD HARD HARD!!!  Letting go of the “shoulds” and embracing the “cans” has made me a better mom, less freaked out and frantic when I can’t do it all, so that’s big!

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3) Love Your People (and let them love you!)

Going through a dark season meant we had to stop doing a lot of the things we normally do.  We stopped taking on extra anything.  We stopped seeing many of our friends (and they stopped reaching out to us surprisingly but that’s a whole other post…).  We went to our jobs.  We took care of our kids.  We stuck with loving those closest and most important to us and they loved us back and it became really clear that this was enough all along.  Our calendar sits empty most of the time and when people try to entice us to commit to things we often say we’re busy because we are.  We are busy protecting our little circle, making sure we each have enough down time, fun time and home time.  There is joy in less activities and if the mood strikes us on any given day we can reach out to our small handful of people and make a plan.  Find your people, it will be less than you thought, and love them with what little light you have, it will serve you best in the end.

It sounds too simple I know but these 3 things have taken me a long time to learn and they saved me.  I’m kinder to myself now.  I don’t lose my mind when it all doesn’t go as planned and I’ve found a little bit of peace in knowing that hard things happen but also that WE CAN DO HARD THINGS.  That’s the catch here, knowing that shit happens and that it’s just part of the universe doing it’s thing.  Soak up the good stuff when you can!

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