FACT: Our lives are not always glorious. We are bound to fall from time to time, just like how we always have the choice to rise up again. But at times when we have sunk to the very bottom, what does it really take to be able to pick yourself back up?
In the past few years, I felt like I was always exploring myself – building relationships and trying different interests. My life was like a roller coaster because I was growing and changing all the time. Because of this ongoing transition, I’ve had so many moments of self doubt, insecurity, and multiple break downs where I just didn’t feel like putting any effort anymore.
Instead of sinking deeper into the rabbit hole of feeling depressed, I had to take initiative to find effective methods that can bring me back on track again.
Below are 5 practices I hold strongly that have always helped me realign myself and pick myself back up during difficult times. And really, I’m writing this for myself as much as I am writing it for you…
1. Take Care of You, First and Foremost
You are your best investment. No one is doing this for you. Only you can heal yourself. Only you can change yourself. Only you can make yourself better. At the end of the day, you are doing this for YOU. So practice lots of self care – learn how to take care of yourself emotionally, physically, and intellectually.
In other words, be conscious of what you are feeding and how you are treating your body. Have you been binge eating on fast food constantly? Do you have enough exercise and rest? What kind of information and knowledge are you digesting into your brain daily? Is it mostly filled with gossips and negative news stories? What kind of things are you saying to yourself? Are you constantly saying negative things to yourself? Are you living in a limiting mindset?
Before doing anything else, you need to be at your best self first in order better serve this world. Get all the rest you need. Take all the time you need to heal.
2. Return to Your Roots
Go back to the very beginning when you first decided to start the project, choose the career path, or invest your time and money into something. Why did you decide to do this work in the first place? What were the reasons that motivated you to go for it knowing that it will be difficult?
Being externally motivated by people and material goods such as money and success can only take you so far. Really dive in deeper into the inner motivations that made you start in the first place. What was that feeling that you had? What kind of impact did you want to make? How do you want people to remember you as? How would this decision lead you to the kind of life that you want to have?
Sometimes we get so caught up during the process that we forget our original purpose. Sometimes we lose our initial drive and passion because and our thoughts are only about the struggle and frustration at the moment. Return to your root and realign your purpose. One suggestion would be to write out your original purpose, date them, and constantly refer back to them whenever you feel off track.
3. Build, and Let Go
We are not superheroes. As humans we naturally grow and shine brighter if we feel connected and surrounded by supportive people who cheer us on.
Start identifying the important people and relationships in your life and build on those. But also understand that not everyone and every group can give you everything that you’re looking for. Sometimes each group and each friend is there for a different reason- some are there for emotional support, some are more career focused, some are simply there to have fun and be spontaneous with you. And some of them, you may have to let go. And that’s okay. You are the average of 5 people you spend the most time with. So choose them wisely.
Don’t be afraid to seek out new connections if you feel like you are lacking certain people in your life. Understand what you need and start building your tribe(s). Seek for those who understand you and share similar interests as you. Have a support group who you can depend on whenever you feel lost or need any support. Find those people who can be there for you when you are down or depressed. They are your safety net. Reach out to them whenever you can.
4. Show Up on Day 2
There is great power in showing up on the second day, even when things had been tough. When everything is working out for you, of course showing up and doing your work will be easy, when you are feeling your best self. But true transformation happens when you know that things are hard, that you are feel uninspired and unmotivated, but you still decide to show up and do the work anyways.
This is called the compound effect. It is the small, consistent actions that you do every single day that eventually build up and lead you to where you want to be. It’s not about the celebrating the glory, because the real magic lies in when the times are hard and you still decide to show up, have faith, and decide to do the work despite that.
5. Reflect, Constantly
Reflect – in any form possible. Learning to be conscious and aware of your thoughts and emotions are so important to feeling more grounded and on track with what you do. This is the act of practicing mindfulness. Some actionable approach to being more mindful include journaling, meditating, going out for a walk by yourself, or simply just spend time daily not doing anything particular other than tuning into your thoughts and clarifying your purpose and values. Even just 5 minutes of mindfulness every day can go a long way.
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Lastly, know that you are not alone in this. Every one of us will go through challenges as we transition to different stages in our lives. And that’s what makes this life so beautiful because we always have the choice to learn and be better than who we were. Life is a journey, and we just have to learn to respect and honour the process. Nobody said it would be easy. You just have to make the best out of what you got.
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