When The Going Gets HARD
Like any day now you’re going to collapse with exhaustion and give up? I almost feel that way, but not quite. Not the giving up part at least. I can’t allow myself to do that, that’s just not who I am.
Right now work is really hard, harder than I ever could have imagined it being. I’m on the fast track to learning so many things about event management that it can feel overwhelming at times. Where I start to think to myself, “If only there were more hours in the day!” But there aren’t, and this is where I am. Even though it’s really hard, I know that it will all be worth it in the end. That I am actually very fortunate to be learning so much so early in my career.
I’ve always been a high-strung person (partially why I think I have a knack for organizing things, especially when it comes to events), and I’ve had to live with the consequences of being this type of person – both positive and negative. When the going gets really HARD, here’s how I deal.
Without a doubt, my first line of defense when things get tough is to go to the gym. Working out not only releases tons of feel-good chemicals in the brain for a quick boost, but it also acts as a quick confidence booster. Getting in there and challenging myself to do something and then doing it feels good – it’s a brief reminder that everything is about mindset.
I believe that working out has made me mentally stronger and much more resilient to challenges that arise in all areas of my life, not just my career. It’s a daily practice of doing something very hard and having your brain tell you to give up, tell you to drop the kettlebell, tell you to take a break, but not letting those thoughts take over and instead pushing through the pain. It’s incredibly liberating to prove yourself wrong over and over and over again, even if it’s over something as small as going up in a rep in your overhead presses. This brain exercise has helped me push through the day-to-day struggles of having too much to do and being incredibly overwhelmed. All you can do is just keep pushing forward and trust that you will get it done if you try hard enough.
When things get crazy and overwhelming, go out. Go out with friends, go out with your S.O., go out by yourself. Just get out and do something that isn’t related at all to what you’re stressed about. Yes, you can go out and talk about what’s got you freaked but try to stay away from the negative topics of the day and you’ll feel a hell of a lot better. Just go and have fun. Yes it’s that simple. It will help you put your problems into perspective and evaluate your priorities in life, which let’s face it, for most of us it’s our relationships that should be treated as number one.
Meditation has changed my life. Yes, that’s a bold a statement, but I really can’t think of any other coping strategy that works the way that meditation does. It forces you to live in the present, when most of the time in our daily lives we are living in the past or in the future. Most of our anxieties stem from the future or the past, not what is happening right now. You will realize how little you are truly present when you begin meditating regularly.
I am no mediation expert and I still prefer to use guided mediation instead of sitting in silence. If you’re just starting out, you should definitely give guided mediation a try. There are tons of free apps out there that you can use, but Calm is by far my favorite. These apps also feature calming sounds (oceans, rain, peaceful meadows etc.) which I turn on when I can’t get my brain to stop racing at night so that I have something else to focus on. Meditation isn’t about not thinking, it’s about being present. There is no such thing as the perfect meditation practice, just start and go along for the ride.
Similar to meditation, visualization strategies can help you get through anxious and negative thoughts and feelings, accept them, and move on with your life. It can often help turn abstract emotions and feelings into something more concrete in your mind. Now it’s not real or anything like that, but it’s almost easier to understand your abstract experiences by visualizing them in a concrete way.
Here’s an example, when my anxieties begin to creep up on me and grow to a point where I begin to panic, I visualize a wave. The wave is my anxiety, and the more I try to hold off the wave, the larger it grows and the intensity of it crashing down on me is unbearable. If I let the wave crash when it’s still small, then the intensity is much less intense. The key here is to be open to experiencing the crash of the wave, because no matter what, you can’t escape it, you can’t run away from it, and it will catch up with you eventually. You must accept that you feel anxious or panicked, and experience it. Just feel the shittiness of the moment and let it pass, because you’re going to feel it eventually and it might be even shittier because you tried to stop it.
There are many other visualizations that you can use for a variety of experiences that can help you cope with whatever is happening in your life that’s causing you distress. The more that you practice your visualizations, the easier it is to use them when you need them most. I highly suggest giving this a try.
I use these tips on a regular basis to deal with stress, anxiety and whatever else is going on in my life. How do you deal with the going gets HARD?