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We all go through tough phases in our lives.
These difficult times can be planetary, circumstantial, or even environmental (like right now).
These phases can often feel like an uphill battle. Sometimes, each day feels like the same, slow day. It seems as if the good days are spent quickly, but the bad ones are never-ending.
Often, when we are going through a hard time, we feel like things are never going to change. Well, that’s not true.
We all know change is inevitable. And since I have become a pro at dealing with tough phases (universe, are you listening?), let me share with you how we can maintain joy and peace through these phases. After all, it is my Dharma to share how I did it and how I made use of whatever cards I was dealt with.
Here are nine things that can help you through any tough phase:
1. Help others.
You don’t have to become a social worker—just find ways to help. Make meals for others, feed animals, or seek people who are alone and talk to them. A small step toward being a better human will bring a lot of positive change in your life. Do anything you can.
2. Keep yourself engaged.
Make a to-do list. When you finish that list, you will feel accomplished. Remember: this is your list, so it can be as simple as brushing your hair or cleaning a drawer (and, no, Netflix is not productive). Do the things you’ve been putting off.
3. Do something creative.
You don’t have to be good at it, but try something like writing, making a gratitude journal, painting, or gardening. But do not put pressure on yourself just because others are doing it. My favorite hobby is to take a nap and my whole family laughs about how much I love sleeping. So, there is no need to race for accomplishment.
It might sound cliché, but self-care goes a long way. It can be anything from slowly sipping rose tea to giving yourself a pedicure at home. I, personally, have invented a series of face masks and ubtans for myself—most of them turned out disastrous.
However, I take self-care seriously. To me, yoga, stretching, napping, and long showers all fall under this category. Just relax. If you do not have time to do anything, just breathe. Breathing properly is also self-care. I recommend doing one self-care activity every day—put it on your to-do list.
5. Learn new things.
If you feel you have a lot of time on your hands, you can learn new things. Again, take baby steps and do it without any pressure. Do not do major goal-oriented things unless you can handle them. Start small.
6. Spend time with animals, children, and plants.
Animals are super healing and they can be great companions during any tough phase, but remember: owning a pet is a lifelong commitment, so make sure you are ready for that. As for me, I love animals a lot, so any time spent with them is good time for me.
I also recommend spending time with children or plants—they are born-healers.
7. Move your body.
It is important to move your body sufficiently during any tough phase. The more you move your body, the better you will feel. Any time you can exercise is a good time to exercise, so stop with the excuses and get moving. You need all those happy hormones!
8. Still your mind.
Try not to overthink or get hassled. Try meditation, pranayama, or anything to still your mind. It’s not necessary to meditate, but it is necessary to do something that is meditative for you. For me, it’s painting. For you, it might be music. It is important to give your mind a much-needed break, however you choose to do it.
9. Don’t forget to have fun.
We need to have fun. Talk to a friend, laugh, dance, or sing. Put at least half an hour of fun on your to-do list. Do not get overambitious and mistake work for fun. It is alright if eating Sour Patch Kids is your definition of fun (yes, that is me. I love Sour Patch Kids).
Most of you must be already doing these things and must be aware of them already. If this feels like a lot, only do one or two every day. I just wanted to share something that may be of benefit during this tough phase.
And always, spread a lot of love. Love is the opposite of fear.