Monday, May 16, 2016

Here's how to FIGHT for your mental sanity

I've experienced some of the toughest curveballs that life can throw you. Here are 10 really dumb things to do when you're under duress. My latest via Divorced Moms column.

10 of the Dumbest Things You Can Do When Life Gets Tough
By Lizzy Smith

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May 16, 2016
Life can be really super tough at times. A friend of mine is going through some really horrible things in her life. She is struggling with just getting out of bed in the mornings. This is one of the worse things she can do right now-- become sedentary and isolated.
Last week, I was in the midst of anxiety myself. I wanted to find medication to make it go away. Instead, I went to the salon and bleached my hair. I looked at myself and I was a new person! The visual imagery was a huge ego boost. I felt more confident and some of my anxiety waned.
 lizzy before.jpglizzy after.jpg
Me before hair. After chemo, I lost all my hair and wore a wig. But I'm done with that and it's just me and the short, grey hair. I felt like an old lady. The next day, I got it bleached. I felt like a whole new person-- edgy, fun, strong and bad-ass.

The next day, I went for a walk/run. I am still very weak from some wicked chemo back in November and December and I am fighting to get stronger. On this run/walk, I felt fantastic. I pushed myself harder than I have in months and instead of wanting to whimper, I felt strong and empowered. Was it the new hair that gave me strength? Maybe.

Anyway, I sent my struggling friend an email pep talk with some tips on how I have coped with some really stressful events in my life, which include a horrific divorce and cancer. They work surprisingly well. Here are, according to Lizzy Smith, the 10 worse things you can do when life gets tough:

1 Get inadequate sleep
Getting the proper amount of sleep is essential for your mental and physical strength. If you’re getting too much or too little, that’s not good. Too much sleep can be a sign of depression or a whole host of physical ailments. Too little sleep can leave you irritated, sick, and prone to making really bad decisions. To aid in getting proper sleep, make your bedroom conducive to rest. This means make sure it gets dark enough (buy room-darkening shades if you must), and you have a comfortable place to sleep. Other ways to make your bedroom a peaceful place is to clean it up, put fresh linens on your bed, and diffuse essential oils that are calming to the senses (lavender is my favorite). I also love a good hot bath before bedtime because it helps make me sleepy.

2 Isolate yourself
It is tempting to throw a (solo) pity party when life goes awry. But the less you fall into this behavior, the better. Go out with friends, walk a dog, volunteer at your child’s school, join an exercise class (like yoga)... Whatever you do, get out of the house and interact with others.

3 Let yourself go (physically)
When I look awful, I feel awful, too. Make an effort to get out of bed, take a shower, put on clean clothes that are flattering, and do something with your hair. For a terrific pick-me-up, try a new hairstyle or color. Visit a makeup counter and learn some new makeup techniques. Buy a new perfume and use it. If it fits the budget, engage in some retail therapy. But a new outfit outside your comfort zone. Bright, bold colors lift the spirit so if you need to start with small steps, try a new color on your toenails and get braver from there.

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