Life is tough at times, seemingly more than ever these days. We are in the midst of political chaos, rising prices (seemingly across the board), the rising cost of bills, especially energy and mortgage costs, increasing strike activity, and a generally dismal environment everywhere we look. It’s as if someone took the very worst parts of day-to-day living in Britain over the past 50 years and tossed them all into one big 2022 pot to create a perfect storm of crappiness.
In addition to that, there are the ‘usual’ challenges we face in life, regardless of how everything else is progressing. Jobs can be difficult. Relationships / marriages have their ups and downs. There are things we worry about regarding our kids / parents / siblings. Life is rarely perfect for any of us.
Ultimately, our mental health suffers. There are times when we feel down. Depressed even. There are times when we worry more and anxiety becomes an issue. There are times when we feel under pressure and unable to cope. It’s during those times we try to find coping mechanisms. Some people turn to alcohol. Some take drugs. Some retreat into themselves and don’t socialise with others. Some ignore the issues and allow them to grow and worsen. Some try to switch off and sit in front of the TV every night in a desperate bid to forget everything else that is going on. We all try to cope in our own ways, trying to find methods we hope will get us through.
My frequent coping mechanism is procrastination. I’ll put off the important tasks and address easier and less meaningful ones instead. Why should I tackle this list of home improvements I need to address when I can sort my e-mail inbox instead? They’re both lines on my to-do list so surely crossing something off is a positive. Why should I sort new car insurance policies when the deadline is 4 weeks away and I can spend that time now sorting out a playlist or two? Why should I spend time on starting my new blog idea when the initial stages can be tricky and I can pick up a guitar and aimlessly strum for an hour or so instead? The blog idea can wait a while. Generally, I adopt a ‘bury my head in the sand’ approach.
It’s always a case of me putting off the things I need to do which I see as being slightly tricky to address. I tend to push them to one side and do something easier and more instantly gratifying instead. It’s easier to start a new Netflix show than trawl through my e-mails and take action on those which need addressing. It’s easier to blame tiredness after a long working day and listen to an album rather than spending my own time formulating ideas which will help me in my day job. It’s easier to fall into a YouTube black hole for a couple of hours than head into the garage and start that fitness routine I’ve been planning in my head for a few days now. It’s always the damned easier option, even though I know I’ll head to bed that night feeling resentful and disappointed that I’ve been so weak again and haven’t addressed anything truly meaningful.
To combat this, I try to remember to tell myself one thing every day which helps me cope with the difficult elements of life – I Am Fortunate. Some examples:
- Knowing I have a difficult day ahead of me at work? I tell myself I am fortunate to have a good job, working for a great organisation, and am in a privileged position to be able to try to find solutions to the many issuers I encounter.
- Worrying about the frequent price rises which are battering us all on a frequent basis now? I tell myself that I am fortunate enough to be able to weather the storm right now. If that gets difficult, I tell myself that I am fortunate enough to have alternative options if I need more money. I could go back to DJing – despite really not wanting to, it’s an option if I really do need a plan B. I can try to find writing work in my spare time. I could sign up to websites looking for musicians to deputise in bands who need a short-term band member. There are options and I am lucky to be able to consider those if I need to.
- There are times when I worry about things to do with my wife, daughter, parents, close family and friends. I tell myself that I am fortunate enough to have so many important people in my life. I am fortunate enough to be able to offer help and assistance when required and I am also fortunate enough to call on the help and support of a good number of trusted and valued others, should I need to.
- Feeling tired and lethargic every day? I tell myself I am fortunate enough to be in a position to address that. I, and only I, can control what I eat and drink, therefore I can do the right thing over time to lose weight and body fat and hopefully feel more energetic and alive. I am fortunate enough to be able to find some time daily to exercise, should I wish to. I have control of this. I can solve that problem if I really want to.
- Losing the impetus to continue with this blog and any other writing I’m working on? I tell myself I am fortunate enough to live in a time when sharing thoughts and opinions is easier than ever before. I tell myself that I am fortunate enough to have had quite a few people admit that they’ve benefited from reading the odd post or two. I tell myself that it isn’t a waste of time and even if these posts resonate with just a small number of people, they’re worth doing.
There are many other examples but I’ll leave it at these for now Ultimately, I find that practicing gratitude works for me. I’ve noted something which has made me smile on a daily basis for quite some time now – I really do need to add to that and note something which I’m grateful for every single day too. Practicing gratitude is a great habit to get into. It won’t solve all of life’s problems, but it will certainly help when trying to deal with them. Give it a go. Thinking about what you’re grateful for, and what you’re fortunate enough to be able to do in your life, might just make things a little easier.
As always, thanks for reading and take care.