How to Help Yourself When Times are Hard

Do you know how to help yourself when the going gets tough?

I don’t hide the fact that I’m having a hard time while I’m having it. Sharing my downs (as well as my ups) helps me get through them. I also get the odd piece of stellar advice that I might not have come across otherwise, because chances are I’m not the first or only person to be experiencing whatever it is that is causing me problems.

A very lovely lady commented on my Instagram recently that she found my openness really inspiring, because generally people are only comfortable with being so vulnerable after the hard time has passed. During the event we’re usually consumed by the trauma itself, along with the added complexity of wearing a mask so we can pretend that we’re okay. It adds up to overwhelm and burn out pretty damn quickly.

Just in case you need to hear these words today, here are some very effective ways to help yourself through life’s obstacle course…

Can we talk about the R word please? No not respite, although my fabulous husband took all three kids out today, so I did get some of that. The other r… Resilience! ♥️ People like to bandy the term around like it’s a good thing. Ooooh look at her they say, she’s so strong! So resilient! Always got a smile no matter what. I listened to a brilliant Ted talk the other day, about how putting on a brave face can actually do us more harm than good. I’m all for looking for the silver linings and being grateful but in the midst of a truly hard time it can be exceptionally difficult. ♥️ When life is relentlessly piling more shit on to your plate of steaming hot shit, the last thing you need is to be made to feel bad for not being as resilient as you once were. ♥️ The notion that anything can be solved by thinking positively and pretending we’re ok (when the opposite is true) is toxic and needs to change. If someone has honoured you with the title friend, earn it. Listen to them when they’re down. Offer your ear in an unconditional, unjudgemental way. Just be there, because it could make all the difference to them. ♥️ I’ve just spent the afternoon with one of my oldest friends. We ate delicious food, had a glass of vino and a damn good catch up. She said she didn’t know what to say to me, but the fact that she was there and she was listening says it all!

A post shared by Reneé Davis (@mummytries) on In the wise words of Oscar Wilde: “be yourself, everyone else is taken”

I made the decision long ago not to wear a mask. I am unapologetically me, and I absolutely refuse to be anyone else for anyone else. It means I’m 100% authentic, 100% of the time, which in theory is a great thing. It does have its downside though, and at points can feel like I’m a lone voice swimming against the tide. On my winning days, when I’ve had at least four hours sleep and am firing on all cylinders, I’m awesome at putting minor issues into perspective and not taking the knocks too personally. Dramas and drama llamas are water off this ducks back, and there is little that can beat me down.

On my darker days, where I feel lonely in a crowded room, it takes every ounce of my strength not to end up in the depths of despair. I start stewing on past failures and disagreements, and my thoughts can spiral downwards scarily fast. During these moments, alcohol and social media are not my friends. Both have the capacity to make my mood a hundred times worse, and I’ve learnt that it’s best to avoid them as much as I can. Yoga (if possible), deep breathing (if not) and video calls with a loved one are my medicine. Writing has also helped me massively. Getting raw emotions on paper/screen is a wonderful way of channeling the feelings and turning negatives into positives.

how to help yourselfKnow who your true friends are and do not doubt them. Ever.

They say that good friends are hard to find, tough to leave and impossible to forget. I feel beyond blessed to have had so many utterly incredible humans cross my path over the years. These days, with the children to consider, I’m exceptionally fussy about the people I allow into our lives. It would be madness to be estranged from my entire family yet fill our days with toxic influences. As blood isn’t always thicker than water, I consider my good friends to be my family. It pains me when I see my people in pain – I feel it deeply on their behalf. I might not be in a position to loan money, or look after more children (it’s good to acknowledge when our own hands are already full) but I can most definitely lend my ear.

I don’t judge, and I always try as best I can to remain open minded with what I’m being told. Practically I probably can’t do much more than pop over with a nice treat or be on the end of the phone, but I take pride in always being emotionally available for the people I love. Once I consider a person to be a good friend, they have to do something pretty awful for me to change my mind about them.

When the chips are properly down, it can be so tempting to completely shut the world out, but it’s rarely the right thing to do. (We all know what happened to Elsa when she followed this path.) Life is full of bumps and no-one ‘s journey is smooth running. It’s good to remember this.

It’s also vital to allow your friends to help you if they are in a position to do so. Last year, one of my neighbours knocked and said she’d been reading my blog and was concerned about me. She asked if she could take Polly with her on her school run once a week to give me a few hours breathing space. It might not seem like much, but it meant an awful lot and I hope to be able to return the favour to her in some way one day.

Steer as clear as you possibly can from other people’s squabbles  

Social media can be a wonderful tool. On a personal level it’s great for keeping in touch with faraway friends and family. On a business level it’s wonderful for spreading the word about worthy causes, fantastic products and fab services. On the not so bright side it can be a hot bed for petty arguments and vocalising ignorant opinions that folk might have just kept to themselves before the invention of Twitter.

It can be really easy to forget that everything on the internet is traceable and there forever. I am blown away by some of the dumb ass things people say, and share, and honestly don’t think they would be so free and easy with these beliefs if they were sitting in the pub having a chat with a group of mates. It feels like our world is becoming polarized, and how can it not when we live so much of our lives in online echo chambers? If there is something truly worth speaking up against then do it, otherwise help yourself by steering clear. You’ll thank yourself for it in the years to come.

Eat well, it really does make a difference  

I have been a huge advocate for eating to enhance wellness for over a decade now. My real food journey began with a PCOS diagnosis along with the news that I was (apparently) infertile. Eighteen months after coming away from refined sugars and processed carbs, and my eldest daughter was conceived by accident, then two more pregnancies within four years. I’m not a doctor or scientist, but I do believe that eating the right food has changed my life. I would urge anyone who is struggling to take a look at their diet to see where it can be cleaned up.

Some Days We Just Have to Acknowledge the Sadness 

acknowledging-the-sadnessI’ve read tons of books on how we should allow our children to have their feelings, whether they are good, bad or ugly, so why do many of us deny ourselves the right to have them? 

Are we ashamed of our sadness? Does it make us feel vulnerable? Or do we view it as being silly? Do we think we should just get over it, and pull ourselves together?

I feel sad today

Maybe it’s because I’ve got my period, or it’s down to the sh*t nights sleep I had (nothing new there). Perhaps it’s because a big anniversary is coming up, and birthdays of people from my past are looming. I’m a numbers person, and these dates are playing heavily on my mind. Long forgotten memories aren’t as far back as they usually are, and they’ve been creeping into my dreams and haunting me (never pleasant).

I’m also really worried about a handful of my close friends, who are going through hard times at the moment – damn you mid life crisis! The physical distance that separates us means I can’t just pop round and give them a hug. Or receive one for that matter. Distance can be such a curse.

Then there’s social media – which makes me sad and upsets me on various levels. Alas, it’s a necessary evil for a person whose soul income is derived from online activities.

Needless to say that on top of all this, there are the big scary thoughts running through my mind about the future, and what it holds. Some days the weight of responsibility feels like a noose around my neck, and I’m literally terrified about what might be on the cards.

It’s come to my attention that being a grown up is bloody hard work

Some days I ace it. Some days I wake up with a four on the clock, and can’t get back to sleep because my head is literally buzzing with ideas. Good ones at that. This is when my gold is usually is written. I don’t even crash and burn in the afternoon, because my brain is so alive. I’m an A* mama, the house is gleaming and hubby comes home to a restaurant worthy meal. 

Other days, days like today, I can barely focus on playing a simple game with my two year old. I’m distracted easily, and absentmindedly flit from one thing to another without finishing. I get annoyed at the mundane tasks, and resent loading the dishwasher for the second time.

On days like today, I want to swear loudly when I tread on Lego or almost slip on the flashcards that are scattered all over the living room floor. The noise is too much, and makes my head feel like it’s going to explode. I’m a crap mum, snappy partner and useless housewife. 

On days like today the sleep deprivation gets the better of me, and the stress of life’s challenges is just too much. I find it hard to not sweat the small stuff, and let the little things go, even though I know I should.

Today I just feel sad. So rather than fight it, I’m going to own this sadness, hope that it passes quickly, and cross my fingers for a brighter day tomorrow.

Sending a hug to anyone else feeling the sadness right now 💗

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