Overcoming Hardship – 8 Tips to Getting Over that Mountain
Let’s start by asking what hardship is…how is it defined?
According to Merriam-Webster, hardship is defined as “something that causes or entails suffering or privation”. Yet, if we want to go deeper to specifically define “suffering” or “privation”, I think it’s unlikely we will come to a consensus.
How we view hardship is all relative to our personal existence. For one person, it might be facing a short term medical leave, and coming up short on funds to pay the mounting bills for a month or two. To someone else, hardship could be living with a chronic illness, such as Lyme’s Disease, and dealing with the challenges of functioning in everyday activities, including holding down a job. One could lose their job, home, and in some cases…even their family and friends. It all comes down to what we, as individuals, are accustomed to and what we can handle.
Regardless of our tolerance level, hardship is real, and it’s all around us.
My family is going through it right now, with a long term medical leave, and disability taking its sweet time in providing some relief. Just recently, we had a 72-hour period with hit after hit, punches to the gut type hits. But, towards the end of that cruel streak, we were walking into the pharmacy, when sirens screamed past us on the road. I paused, then said to my husband, “Someone is having a worse day than us.” And, it was then that I realized I wanted…no, needed to write about overcoming hardship, because I know we’re not alone.
Take Time to Breathe
I believe this is the first step when feeling overwhelmed. And, I try to do this every time it happens. I literally stop what I’m doing, close my eyes, and breathe in deeply, then out…and repeat until I can feel my heart rate slow down, and mind start to settle. Without getting control of our breathing, our minds and heart will continue to race, and diminish our ability to think rationally.
Invest in a Journal
Have you ever had a thought or idea, one that is worthy and encouraging? But, how many times does that thought abandon you when it comes time to putting it to use, because you didn’t get to it right away? It happened to me all the time. Now, I use a journal. Or, if I’m away from my journal, I quickly text myself with the thought. I use the journal to write down anything, from ideas that will help me, to personal thoughts that I just need to get out, but not verbally expose to anyone else. It’s therapeutic.
Honor the Battle
That might sound defeating, but it’s empowering. I originally denied that my husband was in kidney failure when he was first diagnosed. It wasn’t happening…nope, not to us. The problem with that mentality is that it’s hard to find answers and solutions when we don’t own up to our battle. Chronic illness often leads to hardship. And, if we don’t admit and own the reality of the illness, that hardship will most likely hit quicker and harder than it would if you are better prepared. You might have to take time off work, or even lose your job. The more open you are to those possibilities, the more prepared you will be to fight your battle.
No More Excuses
Making excuses is a colossal waste of time, as well as a deterrent in overcoming our hardships. There, I said it. It might be difficult to hear it, but all that time we spend on excuses, is time we could spend on being productive. Excuses are time consuming, limiting, and holding us back from the truth. And, if we don’t know what the truth even is, we will never learn how to handle it.
Accept Help When It’s Offered
One of my biggest faults in the hardship we have encountered is that I don’t take people up on their offers to help. I don’t know if it’s pride, or denial. But, I do know, that if you keep turning help down, the offers fade away. If a person reaches out to you, and you keep saying no, they might assume you don’t need help. Also, if there isn’t anyone offering help…ASK!
Swallow that pride, pick up the phone, and ask someone to take you to an appointment, mow your lawn, or run an errand. It’s amazing how something that is seemingly insignificant can make a significant difference in your day.
Take a Step Back
Many of us have a difficult time putting our hardship on a shelf for a temporary pause. But, it’s so beneficial to take a step back to do something completely unrelated to your crisis, even for a couple hours. Give your mind a chance to reset by going for a walk, sitting outside with the sun shining down on your face, or plug in a movie and unplug the phone. I’m not suggesting running from our problems, because that’s never a good idea. However, I am suggesting that you take a break to refresh the heart and soul.
Don’t Take “No” for an Answer
There are so many “no’s” in life. In fact, they are excessive when living with a chronic illness and seeking assistance. Compound all that rejection while feeling physically drained, and it seems insurmountable at times. Many people who have survived hardship have been rejected multiple times as well. However, their endurance overpowered their disappointment. If you have been turned down for a job, disability benefits, or if you have been emotionally beat down, don’t give up! Don’t let hardship define you. Defeat the “no’s” with perseverance.
Celebrate Each Success
It’s important to take each success…no matter how small, and celebrate it. Allow that positive moment to revitalize and empower you to push further. Haven’t had many successes lately? Go back to reread 1-7, because they WILL come to you eventually!
This is a guest post by KJ – she is working on a blog that I will post links to when she’s ready for her debut! If you like this article you will also like 8 Tips in Understanding Lyme Disease Patients. Contact me if you would like to share your story or tips on itsnotjustlyme.com.