This has been a hard year. Not so much for me (although I’ve had my fair share of bad news), but for a lot of my friends, and my family. Just last night at an event, Congresswoman Susan Brooks said herself that people are anxious. The world these days is uncertain. We’re living in chaos. We are tense.
Cortisol levels are definitely up.
Life is hard sometimes. We all fail. We get knocked down. We don’t get chosen. But here are a few of my suggestions to get back up, and keep on keeping on…
1. Remember, it can ALWAYS be worse. Right now, my front gutter is leaking, but at least I have the money to buy the trim to fix it. At least I can get up on the ladder to fix it (which I will be doing on Thanksgiving). At least I’ve got a roof that isn’t leaking elsewhere, and at least I have a house to live in. Some people aren’t lucky enough to have these first world problems. When you start thinking the world is conspiring against you, remember that whatever situation you’re in, it can always be worse. (And I’d personally like to thank law school for teaching me this lesson. While lawyers can go dark, REALLY dark on the worst situations, learning to think about how things can go wrong makes you also appreciate that no matter how bad it is, it can always go darker.)
2. Quit. When your mouth isn’t connecting to your brain, when the words aren’t connecting to your keyboard fingertip intersections, or when you can’t solve that nasty problem, do yourself a favor if you’ve been at it a while: quit. Do not quit indefinitely…but get yourself a break. Walk away. Go home, rest, get at least 8 hours of sleep, and you’ll be surprised how you can get back at that nasty quagmire once you’ve rested your body and brain for a few.
3. Get around your peeps. One more time: you are like the 5 people you hang around the most. Choose carefully. If you can’t physically get around your top 5, then there’s this awesome thing called Google+ Hangout. Get on it and talk to your friends. I’m prodding myself to form another mastermind in 2016 for this reason. I need some fresh perspectives from some amazing peeps, who don’t roll near me every day. So, I’m bringing them to me. And before this sounds selfish – I do hope to help them out as well with their challenges. It’s a two-way street.
4. Recall that time is finite. A student asked me today how I try to find balance between fixing problems and starting or creating new solutions. As a fumbled through my answer, one thing I forgot to mention is that the most precious commodity is time. (Some gurus say that it’s energy, but I actually think it’s time.) Life is a fatal disease. So, get stuff done, because you’re not going to be here forever. That includes cessation of moping and whining, and instead focusing your time on what you can change, what you can start, and what you can create, and ultimately, crafting whatever it is what you want to leave behind as your legacy.
5. The best trick of all: send out some gratitude. Not only will it make someone else’s day, but it will also remind you that all is not lost. In fact, just today, through the morass of spammy invites and garbage that hits my inbox, a kind note from a pharmacy student, who I’ve personally never met, at another pharmacy school, who was also hitting some brick walls. But, she shared that she was inspired by my work. That’s cool. So, I in turned paid that forward, and sent out a few thank you notes of my own today. Hey, at least I have stamps and notecards. At least my heat is on, and at least I can take a few minutes to time out and pay it forward. I also replied to her that it is always darkest before the dawn.
Just make sure you have batteries in the flashlight.
There – 5 methods I employ to recall that I have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. What’s your best tip for gratitude?