LEARNING HOW TO COPE WHEN THINGS SEEM TO BE GOING SOUTH
I grew up in a blue-collar family; we were poor; my dad was out of work quite a bit and mom stayed at home raising seven of us. We learned at a very young age to make do, go without, and not ask for anything we knew was never going to happen. Our circumstances forced us to recycle, re-purpose and re-use…long before it was the green thing to do. It was how we survived. Back in those days, there weren’t any government agencies to help the poor, or food stamps, or food pantries. Poor people coped, remained stoic, and never spoke about being poor. As long as our clothes were clean and pressed, and we were bathed and well behaved, that’s all that mattered; that’s how we fit in with the “haves”.
Fast forward. Like so many and given these difficult economic times, I’m struggling to make it. I’m almost grateful for having been born into a poor family, because the early lessons I learned from those experiences have proven invaluable in getting through each day and coping. Here are some lessons I’ve learned along the way and have reflected while coping. My experiences are lessons that have also enabled me to maintain hope and faith that things will eventually improve. And whether or not you draw a correlation between these experiences and one's well-being, how one copes does in fact impact one's state of wellness.
1. You’re better off than you think, since most in the world have far less than you’ve ever had.
Try taking stock of what you have ~ whether that’s in material possessions, food, money, education, creative talents, or personal qualities; doing so can be uplifting and good medicine for being “down”.
2. Make do with what you have. If your wardrobe is looking a bit old and tired, you don’t really need to buy the latest “fashions.” Update your outfits by changing around the pieces or how you accessorize them. If need be, go to a secondhand store; there’s no shame in doing that and you’ll save some money.
3. If you need to go to a food pantry, go; pride is the enemy of hunger. Consider organizing a neighborhood food drive and collect food staples and donating them to a food pantry.
4. Consider giving back to your community by volunteering your time at an agency, hospital, senior home, etc. Helping others is another way to uplift oneself from being “down”.
5. Always live within your own means and not those of others. Never over extend your debt or create new debt for yourself unless you know you’ll be able to pay it off. Unless something is a matter of life or death, chances are you don’t need it, so move on and away from the urge to splurge.
6. If you really need money and have limited liquid resources, consider selling some of your possessions, even if you have to sell them at a considerable loss of their value.
7. Admit it when you’re experiencing problems that seem to be overwhelming you. Be honest, even if it hurts. Don’t suffer in silence. Seek help from a family member, or friend, or go to a local social agency, free clinic, house of worship, etc. Pride can compromise your health.
8. Enjoy the simpler things in life…nature, laughter, happiness, your five senses and relatively good health. Consider re-reading a favorite book. Take a leisurely bath. Go for long walks.
9. Be spiritual and grateful for what you do have and thank whatever deity you believe in for the blessings you enjoy. Ask for courage and strength to cope and move forward. Be mindful that even a challenge can be a blessing, since it may create for you an opportunity to become a stronger, more humble person, and rise above a challenge.
10. You’re not the only one suffering, so don’t allow yourself the indulgence of feeling sorry or having regrets. Only worry about those things you can directly change or influence. Appreciate who you are, where you’ve been, where you’re at, and where you hope to be. Smile!
Coping varies from person to person, and while these tips may not totally resolve the difficulties one might be experiencing, maintaining hope and faith are critical to coping. Hope and faith are also important to the will to survive.
By Terry Herman
Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In addition to writing and reviewing, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker. She also serves on EXPERIENCE | PREMCHIT Journeys In Retreat To Wellness Advisory Board, which is comprised of ten international experts in various fields of wellness and spa. She also serves as a Group Manager for the popular LinkedIn group, The Spa Buzz. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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