In life, you are going to experience moments of memorable joy i.e. the first time you rode a two-wheeled bicycle all on your own, your first kiss... and there's also going to be moments of unspeakable difficulties i.e. the first time someone close to you passed away, or going through your parents' divorce.
When trying to get through tough times, the goal is not to pretend to be happy for others' sake. But instead, to navigate through it with the healthy balance of letting the grief come and then slowly recovering from the hardship. Here are 5 ways you can help yourself, or a loved one, recover from a difficult time:
1. Give yourself the time to recover
Allow yourself space to be sad. Most of the time, society expects us to put on a mask and carry on with life so as not to affect others around you. But doing that can be extremely harmful to your emotional wellbeing.
Give yourself the time to grieve, but don’t let it consume you. Set a time limit for yourself. When I was getting over my first break-up, I think I probably had a week of being upset, and then it was time to get up and move on. Which brings me to my next point...
2. Surround yourself with people who can help you move on
I want to stress that people who can help you move on does not mean getting drunk in the club and hooking up with the first person that makes you feel better.
What can help tide you through difficult times are trusted friends who will rally around you and remind you of your worth. This does not only mean comforting words and shoulders to cry on, but they can also help to distract you from wallowing in your emotions by just being around.
3. Do things that make you happy
On the road to recovery, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to give yourself some self-love. Find the thing that gets you through the hard days. It does not need to be a new hobby or something that is time-consuming, but whatever can bring you that little bit of joy to motivate you.
For me, it’s drinking a hot cup of tea in the evening after work, with a book in my hand and my cat in my lap. What's yours? It can be playing basketball with friends after school, going to watch a movie on your own, or treating yourself to some chocolates (the good brand kind!)
4. Keep the hope alive
Following the death of my best friend, knowing that I will one day see her again helps me overcome the sadness. In your mind, you know that it is not the end of the world. It's the having to take the effort to remind yourself of that again and again so that your heart can slowly mend.
Whether you're getting over a break-up, or struggling over a close friend's betrayal, these are things that had happened and there is nothing we can do to change it. What's most important is to have hope that you will find love again, and there are people who genuinely care about you. As long as you have even one person who loves you, you are for extreme importance. Bonus: Your parents makes two people who love you :)
5. Let the tough times guide you
It’s okay to have setbacks and to feel heartbroken or devastated or sad. You don’t need to feel ashamed or horrible about yourself because of feeling all those emotions. Ask yourself, "Okay, that’s just part of life. What can I learn from this and where do I want to go from here?”
We are only at the start of the year and I'm sure all of us have goals for 2017. It can be study goals, money goals, travel goals, so let the tough moments guide you into learning more about yourself and your feelings along the way.