Have you ever liked doing a particular thing but after a long while the thing that you once loved seems to be at odds with you? Well if you have never experienced such, don’t seek to, but if you are familiar with the experience then your only alternative is to walk through it and remain intact as well.
While I am sure many of you may share my experience in some form or fashion, mine relates pointedly to academic life. I really liked studying once but as the years drifted on and I was sucked more and more into it, without having the ability to be able to leave when I wanted, I began to dread the thing I once loved. Sounds familiar? I hope not. Perhaps your stressor is not in academia but whatever it is, you must develop successful coping strategies so that at the end of it all, you emerge, healthier, emotionally strong, and wiser from the experience. I mean, who wants to go through life spiraling further downwards at every challenge? Not me! So how did I cope?
- I prayed. Yes! Some of us may frown at this and others may nod inS agreement, but this is not from a religious standpoint but simply from the fact that I felt that some divine intervention was absolutely necessary.
- I took time off to relax with family. These periodic breaks where I just put down the books and went out with family were really therapeutic.
- I surrounded myself with good supporting friends who genuinely cared about me. These friends had certain values and standards for living that kept me. They would not be involved in any activity that could bring disrepute to me or be harmful in any way. Believe me, when you feel pressured it is important to have these strong and good linkages to keep you anchored so that you remain whole.
- I looked for things that made me laugh. I looked at short amusing comedy clips usually on YouTube.
- I accepted that I had to work hard for what I wanted. I came to the conclusion that anything of substance required hard work to succeed so I put forward my best. This ensured that even if I did not achieve the level that I wanted, I had no regrets because I could not have given more. I had done my best so I was able to smile with contentment still.
- I had to be disciplined. I worked even in times when I didn’t want to. Everyone else was asleep and I was up. They were watching television and I was at my computer and I actually had to determine when I would be able to watch a show or whether I was only able to fit it in when I was too tired to work on my stuff. I had to practice deferred gratification. I couldn’t always have the best of both worlds. Some things that I loved had to be put on hold. Time/ event management was sacred.
- Feelings had to be managed and slotted into its appropriate hierarchical position. Many times it was not about how I felt but what had to be done. Disappointments and negative feeling were given a very limited time frame or none at all. These were counterproductive and often talking with wise, significant others helped greatly as well.
I am sure in reading you can make your own list or extend this list. Whatever you do, the main point is that nothing in life is really supposed to derail us. Instead, it should cause us to grow in wisdom, as we learn ethical and safe strategies to overcome our challenges.