I think we can all agree that 2016 was one of the worst years to date. It's like the universe just wanted to take a giant dump on all of our lives, and let it sink in that:
1. Life isn't easy.
2. You're certainly not getting any special treatment.
3. This is just the beginning of a life that is unfair.
We've all gotten to the point where we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of 2017, an automatic world "refresh," and we need it. Well, that's what I think anyway.
2016 has been a hard year for me. To say the least, it's been a very humbling year. I thought I knew the way the world worked, but I was just scratching the surface. And then change hit me like a freight train, the rug was pulled out from underneath my feet, and I'm having a hard time getting my breath back. This year, I've tried to catch life's curveballs, but for those who don't know, I have horrible depth perception and hand-eye coordination. I sit here writing this, feeling exhausted and discouraged.
It's easy to focus on all the bad things happening in your life. Sometimes it's necessary in the process of healing. But one of the most important things you can do when life is hitting you hard is to never forget all the good you have in your life. I don't want to sound like a cheesy Hallmark card, but it's true. Your perspective on life can literally change your world.
1. Remember your loved ones will never leave you.
I think the people who love me and support have been my saving grace throughout my life. It is important to remember that we are not alone in our struggles, our sad thoughts, our hope diminishing during tough times. It's okay to rely on people every once in awhile, but do not mistake this for being dependent. You have to save yourself, but it doesn't have to be a one-person story.
2. Take some time and look at your life.
If you feel like nothing is going right in your life, take a moment, sit down if you have to, and try to understand why you are where you are currently. Have you been prioritizing your life correctly? Was it something out of your control? Can you take responsibility for something, and will you? Once you understand where you are at, or at least try to, it can ease some anxiety you may be feeling, and help you clear your head.
3. Pray (or don't.)
For some people, praying helps. For me, it's a way to help manage my anxiety, to keep my faith active and healthy, and ultimately help me reflect on my life. For others, praying does nothing, and that's okay. If you've tried to make it work, and it just isn't something that clicks, then try something else. Try a form of meditation, or try therapy (it's not as taboo as it once was.) If you want to try it again, I'd say go for it. I know it's not for everyone, but there's no harm in trying.
4. Dive into a book.
Escapism has been used throughout our history as a way to help people escape from the stress of everyday life; that's why the film industry took off during the World War periods. If movies work better for you, watch a movie that is going to challenge you in a positive way, or make you feel good in the end. Otherwise, reading has great benefits for you, and there are millions of good books out there just waiting to be discovered. It takes you out of your own mind for awhile, and sometimes that's all you need.
5. Spend time with people who lift you up.
Getting out in some fresh air with positive people is always a good idea. If you need an hour or two to go and explore somewhere with someone, go and take that time. If you want to go and check out a new restaurant, get a group of your favorite people together and go enjoy yourselves! Life is all about balance; sometimes we all need to just let loose and be with people who make us happy.
6. Make a plan for your future, even if it's a small one.
What I've noticed is that I often panic when I feel that I have too much going on in my life with no plan to get any of it done. So what I've learned, is I can look at life like a coloring page. In the beginning, you know you have to color the whole page, but don't know where to start. And there are all these colors you can choose from, and sometimes it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start first. And once you start, you're tempted to start in three other places, and you get discouraged because you feel as though you're not getting anything done.
You've got to stop and center yourself, and look at things rationally. If you start one thing, you have to finish it. And if you have three or four things you've already started, focus on finishing them one at a time. So whether you're applying for six grad schools or sixteen job applications, start with one, and then move on to another. Instant gratification doesn't work for everything, especially the really important things in life.