There is a saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I wholeheartedly agree, but sometimes things go differently than planned.
2023 has been chock full of challenges in my life and I've been thinking how we often diminish our own problems or those of others - calling them "champagne problems" if they don't measure up to something seemingly more consequential. Often, we become reclusive with our problems, thinking nobody can possibly understand what we're going through. I know I have felt that way lately. It's not true, though. I have been pleasantly surprised how people have stepped up and helped me to cope by lending an ear and offering solidarity. This has made such a difference for me. Hope is the opposite of despair and it's a fine line between the two. Having hope is critical to find solutions in difficult situations.
How do we find hope when it feels like everything is falling apart?
Reach Out and Find Resources
First of all, opening up and sharing with trusted confidantes (including family, friends, and professionals) can alleviate the hopelessness we experience when things go wrong and we seemingly have to pull ourselves up from our proverbial bootstraps and go it alone.
Outside perspectives can help you recognize things you may not otherwise see. We often view failure as a dead end, but it can allow us to become something new and better if we are open to it. Sometimes, all it takes is changing your attitude from negative to more creative.
Unfortunately, loneliness remains an epidemic for those who are elderly, disabled, or given a bad set of circumstances. Seeking out or turning to a group of people who care about you, listen, and offer help is critical. You may feel alone, but you are not when you have an interpersonal network.
Speaking of which, acknowledging your problems is a necessary step in coping with negativity and adversity. Your problems could be the worst or not that bad given a particular set of circumstances. Regardless, your feelings are a roadmap for your next steps so do not ignore them! Pay attention and even seek therapy to learn how to manage them and understand the direction that makes sense for you.
Attitude of Gratitude
Focusing on positivity and being grateful for life comes next. Every day is a new opportunity to begin again if you let it be.
An easy way to start anew is by focusing on your physical and mental wellness. Go out and walk around the neighborhood or get yourself grounded by spending time in nature. Eat healthier, and take advantage of the opportunity to connect with others.
Merry Merry, Quite Contrary
The Holiday Season often brings pressure and stress and sometimes your inner Grinch comes out to say hello. If this sounds like you or someone you know, you may need an alternative plan for the holidays. Change is good and if you can't create the "normal" traditional holiday, then so be it. Let it go and make the best of it anyway.
Find joy in the small things. Release the guilt of not meeting expectations and choose to simplify, when possible.
Let family/loved ones know your concerns so they understand why the holiday may differ this year.
If things aren't feeling as merry and bright as you wish they could be, please know you're not alone. Everyone is struggling with something. But it is how you cope with your struggles that matters.