5 tips for hard days

sunrise

Sometimes I have days where I feel really anxious about the future, directionless, and just really out of it. Stressing and overthinking about the future can feel necessary at times, especially if I’m trying to figure something out or make a decision. But it’s important to take care of yourself in the present. If you’re worrying and upset about the future or the goals you haven’t accomplished, you’re not allowing yourself to enjoy your life in the moment. Here are five tips for getting through hard days or moments like this:

1 – Get out of your head. This is the biggest issue for me. I get so caught up in my thoughts and the things upsetting me, and from there I just spiral downhill. Remembering to breathe and focus on the present moment helps me to distance myself from my problems. The grounding method of focusing on the things you can feel, see, hear, smell, and taste is also helpful here. This has also helped me out of mild panic attacks.

2 – Spend time in nature. Spending time in nature is so good for you. When I spend some time outdoors, especially in a beautiful place near water, trees, or flowers, it reminds me that life is about more than achieving everything and traditional concepts of “success.” Sometimes life is just about enjoying beautiful sunrises and seeing little baby birds fly about the trees. Waking up early enough to see the sunrise can also be a major mood booster.

3 – Play music you like and dance. Music can really help you to focus on the present. It can help you to de-stress, feel good, and feel less alone. Dancing is also a fun, no-pressure way to get some exercise. I find electronic dance music tends to make me feel happier, even if it’s just a few moments of focusing on the music and nothing else.

4 – Watch a tv show or read. Diving into a fictional world (or even nonfiction) can be a nice break from your worries in your own world. It’s a good way to remember that you don’t have to be productive all day, every day. I find watching a movie or binge-watching a show to be a good stress-reliever at times.

5 – Drink water and have a snack. Simple things like drinking water or eating a snack can give you a chance to relax and focus on what matters most — taking care of yourself and your body. Taking time to eat something I like without distractions is a good way to be present and practice mindfulness.

When I’m having a bad day, the thing that helps most is to focus on the present. It helps me to go back to the basics, often getting through it by doing the simplest things. Having bad days happens sometimes, and sometimes all you can do is let yourself feel the things you feel.

Naturally, if your struggles are persistent or interfering with your day to day life, be sure to talk to someone and seek help from a doctor or therapist.

We all struggle at times with the stresses of life. Keep some simple rituals in your toolbox so you can find balance again.

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Jack-O-Lantern

[This poem is taken from my book of nature poems.] 

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A jack-o-lantern rests

On wooden steps

Guarding the house

With its bright, carved smile

And triangle eyes.

A little flame flickers

Behind its rounded nose

Letting everyone know

That autumn has arrived.

When the sun sets

And the stars come alive

The jack-o-lantern’s light

Is three times as bright.

It illuminates

A familiar path

So that a family

Can always find its way

Back home.

Butterflies in the Garden

[This poem is taken from my book of nature poems.] 

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There’s butterflies in the garden

And plastic, pink flamingos

Standing tall above rows of tulips

As robins sing in the tree branches above

 

Bumble bees visit the daisies

Drinking nectar in the summer sun

And blades of grass

Tickle our bare feet

 

Cool water falls from the sprinklers

We drink lemonade and blow bubbles

Sometimes a day can be simple

And memorable all at once.

Cave

[This poem is taken from my book of nature poems.] 

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There’s a cave

Looking out at the ocean

It’s cool and dark

But sunlight pours into its mouth

Like honey.

Waves crash against the rocks

And the air smells like salt

As spiders spin webs

Between rows of stalactites.

There are secrets here

Drawings on walls

Of lovers’ hands

And an abandoned compass

With a broken needle.

And yet the cave feels

Completely unexplored

Like the ocean keeps all the memories

Hidden in its depths

Always making space

For a new heartbeat to come along

Disrupting the silence

Just by listening.

Sun Shower

[This poem is taken from my book of nature poems.] 

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Rain falls

And the cool drops

Pitter-patter on the sidewalk

 

Birds find shelter

In tall trees

As a gentle wind rustles the leaves

 

The sun shower kisses your hands

And your face

And everything smells like spring

 

Flowers drink up the water

And your worries are washed away

Today is a new day, a fresh start.

 

Dreams

Dreams aren’t always about winning the lottery, getting the promotion, or wearing a ring. Sometimes they’re about moments. Some they’re about seeing the ocean, going rock climbing, or trying a famous ice-cream shop. Sometimes they’re about watching old movies with a friend or dancing the night away. Sometimes they’re about playing with puppies or eating three different flavors of cake. Dreams can simple. Dreams can be fun. Dreams can be giving yourself a reason to smile.