No matter how expansive, joyful and rich our lives are, we all go through challenging times.
As life goes on, and we spend more time on the planet, we all encounter situations that challenge us, stretch us to our limits and cause us stress.
We can shift our mindset to minimize stresses in everyday life, practice gratitude, cultivate ease and create more joy in each moment—but life gets tough anyway!
Whether it’s a profound event like a divorce, a major illness or the loss of someone close—or a big transition like a move, a career change or retirement—sometimes we hit a patch where life is just more challenging than usual.
Even though we’ve been cultivating wisdom all these years, when we’re on a growth path, life keeps hitting us with new experiences. We don’t always know how to handle them!
When life gives us challenges, it’s even more important than usual to take exquisite care of ourselves... and yet, that’s usually the hardest time to remember to do that.
So what can you do? Here are a few things I’ve found useful for nurturing myself when life gets challenging.
Something is better than nothing.
If you're caring for a loved one who’s sick, or you’re in the upheaval of a move, or you’re facing another stressful life situation, you might not have time to maintain your usual self-care routines. You might skip daily exercise or meditation or simple quiet time to maintain your energy.
But keep in mind: Doing something is better than nothing. Maintaining a smaller, manageable version of those self-care routines is better than stopping altogether.
Say you ordinarily exercise for 40 minutes in the morning, four days a week, and that’s completely impossible right now. That doesn’t mean you have to give the whole thing up. Try leaving your house for a 15-minute walk or jog whenever you can squeeze it in. Even doing this a couple times a week will help support you.
Or if you crave quiet time (or just a mental break), make a point of leaving your house by yourself whenever you can. For example, shop for your groceries alone or drink your morning coffee at a coffeehouse instead of your home.
Call on the friends who’ve got your back.
When I’m in the middle of a storm, I tend to hunker down and focus on getting through. It seems like a luxury to take the time to call a friend.
But I find that when I do, it winds up energizing me. I have way more energy to take care of the challenging things I need to take care of—as long as I reach out to someone supportive.
Now is not the time for social obligations or trying to cultivate new friendships. It’s time to reach out and connect with the people who nourish you deeply and without complication.
Ask for what you need—whether that’s help with logistics, moral support, company or just laughs to lighten things up.
Don’t drop your skin and body care routines.
I know. That may sound ridiculous.
I’m going through a massive life change… why would I be thinking about my skin? Often, I find that skin care is the first to go when things get crazy.
But those quick skin routines—which take three to five minutes!—are some of the easiest ways to reconnect with self-care, even when things are totally nuts.
Taking the extra few minutes to do something manageable for yourself that feels good can lessen the pressure and help you ground yourself.
Even better, turn those few minutes into a mindful, on-purpose ritual of taking care of yourself. Instead of just swiping on the moisturizer, take an extra moment to pause, massage it in, and say something kind to yourself in the mirror. Just that little action can soften you up and help support you as you move through life’s challenges.
Tell us: Do you already do this when times get tough? Or are you inspired to try? As always, we’d love to hear from you!
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