I have been going through a bit of a rough patch lately. Nothing too serious, thankfully, but still, the past few months have not been ideal: stress at work, busy times, issues with some close people, and all in all a general feeling of uneasiness, uncertainty, and lack of control. This has meant that my routine is all over the place, and I haven't been able to train, lift, read, or create as much as I would've wanted.
I don't normally share much about my personal life in this blog, I know. And what I do share tends to be mostly positive. But I'm human, after all, flawed just as much as the next guy, and my life is far from perfect. But I have been thinking long and hard about what a man can do to succesfully navigate the not so glamorous periods of life, and I've found a couple of things that can help any man fight his own battle. That's what I want to share in this article.
TAKE A BREAK
What usually happens when life overwhelms us is that we start overthinking. We mentally jump from issue to issue, not knowing how to start getting our shit back in order. There seems to be trouble coming from every direction, and we fall victim to the onslaught of stress with seemingly no way to stop it.
Breathe, brother. You are in control.
"In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you." -Leo Tolstoy
You won't get anything fixed going while overstressing. Make a conscious choice to give yourself some free time to breathe, relax, and think about more pleasant stuff. Then you can break down and separate all of the things that are causing you to be preoccupied, so that you can solve them one at a time.
THIS TOO SHALL PASS
In the middle of the storm, I know it's hard to look at the big picture and remember the fleeting nature of most earthly problems. But I'd recommend you always keep in mind the mantra of "this too shall pass". No circumstance, however terrible, lasts forever. What you're losing sleep over right now will most likely be remembered in the near future as something unimportant, not worth stressing over. You might as well not subject your sanity, mental health, and often physical health as well, to something that won't mean a thing in the not too distant future.
THE BIG PICTURE
It's funny that the things that stress us the most are usually petty when viewed as part of the big picture: you're under pressure at work? That doesn't determine your professional future. You had an argument with your girlfriend? That doesn't determine the strength of your relationship. You haven't been able to find time to do the things you enjoy doing? That doesn't mean it will be that way forever. Visualize the future you're working towards, and evaluate if the troubles you're experiencing are not simply a natural part of a growth process. If they are not, and you find yourself stressing over things that add literally zero value to you or your life goals, you can always change your circumstances.
YOU ARE IN CONTROL
I mentioned lack of control as one of the reasons why I've been stressing out lately. And yet, come to think of it, I am in complete control of my life. So are you. I'll use an example: one of the things that have caused me a great deal of stress is that I have assumed some extra responsibilities at work, and due to my lack of experience in that particular field, results just aren't showing up. Because I feel responsible for something that is at the moment under my management, it not working properly makes me feel somewhat inadequate. And I feel as though I have no control. And yet, let's assume for a moment that the issue escalates and literally becomes too much for me to handle. I can always quit and find a different job. This doesn't mean that I will, but knowing that I have that choice inmediately liberates me from most of my work-related stress, which in turn allows me to do things better.
Always remember that you have a choice, and you are no slave to your circumstances. You are where you are because you chose to be there, so it's up to you to either endure the issues that come with that particular situation, or change that situation. It's completely up to you, and you alone.
GET SOME WINS
When things aren't going your way, one of the best ways to get your life back on track is to simply get back on the win column. Let me explain.
All of the areas of a man's life are interconnected, which means that usually they all either go up or down together. When one of them suffers, it tends to make the others suffer as well. In order to stop the vicious cycle of stress and failure, a good strategy is to get some wins. For example, I said I didn't feel as though things were going my way, at work, mostly. But I still have my personal creative project, which is this blog. So I worked and got some wins in this area: I reached 5 thousand followers on Instagram, ran a celebratory sale, and sold some ebooks as a result of that. That's a win. I also finished a book I was reading. That's another win. I called my grandma, who I'm blessed to still have around. That's another win. And all of a sudden, some of the L's I'd taken over the last couple of weeks didn't seem all that powerful. They just seemed like a normal part of life. The wins I mention don't have to be big wins, just small achievements that allow you to remember that you're doing good, that you are moving forward and becoming better, and that you have countless things to be thankful of.
I also realized that I had not been very close to God over the last couple of weeks. I don't think that's the only reason for the stormy weather, but it definitely did have an effect. Prayer also helps us remember the insignificance of our issues in the grand scheme of things. It minimizes their importance when we remember what Jesus Christ endured for us, and when we pray we remember that God, in His omnipotence, placed on our shoulders a burden that He knows we can carry. If you don't know where to start, start with Him. Surrender your intentions to Him, and He will surely answer.
Tough times come and go, and all they leave behind is a stronger man. Remember that you can always endure what you're going through, for you've been put on that path by the grace of God's infinite wisdom.
Also, we're all going to make it.
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