When it rains, it pours. Can someone tell me why life has to be so difficult? Why can’t things be easier? Can’t I just catch a break?
These are things I’ve said to myself recently. A little too often.
Things that have happened to me in the month of October:
- The 1998 Jeep Cherokee that I’ve driven since I was 15 died. One day, the transmission just crapped out and the vehicle was a goner. I had to sell it for parts. This was devastating to me. I cried. Then, I had to ride the bus for two weeks.
- My wife and I got in a small accident where a guy knocked off the side mirror of our other car and then lied to his insurance company and blamed us. Now we are in a battle with his insurance company over who will pay for the damages done to our car.
- My brother got married and I wasn’t there. On a Wednesday he told me that he wanted to get married on Thursday the following day. I thought I had talked him out of it, but then he just got married anyway the next day and I missed it. If you knew how close my brother and I are, this would shock you. I still haven’t recovered, nor have I been able to talk about or process how I feel. I have three siblings and I haven’t gotten to see any of them get married. Not one.
- My HOA (Home Owners Association) hates my wife and I for being renters and they continually try to force us out of the condo we rent. This month they decided that my Jeep was leaking oil (it wasn’t) and that they were having a meeting about how much they are specifically going to fine us because that “violates our agreement.”
This and about twelve other smaller and less significant things just happened to my wife and I. I’m going to be very real with you. These things have been weighing on me. Coupled with a lack of sleep from extended hours from the two jobs I’m working, I haven’t handled things well. I’m stressed out. I’m dropping responsibilities. I’m complaining too much.
I need to get my crap together and I need to quit being a baby.
When life is tough, you put a helmet on. My father was a tough man. When I was a child and I’d get hurt, he’d say, “I’ve had worse sores on my eye leashes.” Now, that makes zero sense, but the point is there, hidden in a strange southern colloquialism… You think that’s bad? Let’s trade scar stories.
Everyone has it hard (except the Kardashians). The measure of a man is not how hard he falls, but how fast he picks himself up. Everything you go through, everything you’ve seen, every cry you’ve had may be preparing you for the future. Are you going to crumble under the pressure or are you going to stand firm and allow the heat to transform you into the person you’re meant to be? Are you going to be the guy with the cool scar story? Because that’s who I want to be.
Now, I could leave this post with just that. A call to action. Be tough and don’t stand down. But instead I’ll leave you with the ways that I’m learning to handle the pressure.
1. Cut things out of your life.
When life gets hard and bad things start to happen, you’re going to be tempted to to keep trying to make everything work. Make a list of priorities. What’s at the bottom of the list? Can you cut something out? Do you need to cut something out? Try and drop a few things this week and get more sleep. No one is going to die if you have to miss a class, podcast, movie, etc. They’ll all still be there next week and getting more sleep will help you handle the stress better.
2. Eat and if you can, eat healthy.
I didn’t really eat much last week. When I have a fully belly, I take on tasks better and I’m in a better mood. If I eat healthy, it’s an added bonus because fast food negatively affects my mood, but when I eat well, I feel better.
I’m not asking you to run a marathon or join a gym. Maybe just take a walk. When you take a walk, go for a run, or hit the gym, it tends to make you happy. It ignites your brain and your body and you’ll find yourself being a more intuitive and creative person. It’s funny. Creative people tend to be good at working themselves out of jams.
4. Do something for someone else.
When you see others problems, you tend to forget your own. I know this sounds hard, but it’s essential to positive growth.
5. Listen to positive things.
Maybe find a podcast that inspires you and makes you laugh. The more positive it is the more positive you’ll find yourself becoming.
6. Talk to someone.
Go out. Hang out with a friend if you have the time. If not call someone and let out your problems. When you do, you’ll see how small they really are or at least you’ll get to blow off some steam.
7. On the other hand, talk about your problems less.
When you tell the first one to two of your closest friends, it’s a release. You feel better afterwards. If you complain to everyone, it causes you to focus on your problems and you can’t move on. That and if your problem is with someone else, it can turn into gossip which just makes you look like an ass.
8. Eat lunch outside.
The sun provides your skin with Vitamin D and it does something to your mood. Just try it. Trust me.
That’s how I handle stress. How do you handle stress? What makes you happy?
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/brazilnut72/3082913552/”>comingstobrazil</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>