This topic may seem forced because there’s currently chaos in the world over the Ukraine/Russia war but it’s not, I simply want to shine some much needed light because I feel the sadness now too, and since I just went through my own personal hell when my lovely mom died a painful, lonely, and a very slow death. I know firsthand how I felt and what I had to do to not only push myself through the pain, but to find some measure of joy in each day. I started within, and at home.
I have a family and I’m self employed, so in spite of her illness and death, I still have to be a parent, wife, and a business owner. Bills still need paid, even with the boulder of despair that I carried for nearly two years, I have to smile and be a loving mom, I have to hold it together, you know? You may understand this feeling of “fake it ‘til you make it” that sets in during those dark times when you simply must put on your lipstick, pull back your hair, and smile at the school drop off each day even though you walk home with tears streaming down your face because all you feel is pain, sorrow, and fear for your own future.
Like you, I now read the same news, I know what’s going on in the Ukraine, and I have to stay positive no matter what because my family needs me, my work needs me, and I need me, too. I gave myself months after my mother died to grieve… But I learned after all of the crying that one simply must face life again and to do that, you must have a daily routine, a mindset of HOPE, and moments that distract you, along with things that you can actually look forward when you wake up each day.
During war, death, illness, whatever we are faced with, often with tears, we have to remember that like all of the pain we’ve endured before, we will grow beyond it and that something good will come from the bad just as it has time and time again before. We have to “keep our sh*t together” for lack of better words. It’s our job to dig for what is good, to consider what we can learn, to wonder how we can use this as a growth opportunity, and to dig into how we can help others through this. It’s our job to keep going, that’s what I learned from my very hard-working parents and grandparents. And I don’t think that’s foolish or “toxic positivity”, I believe it’s critical during hard times and can be the difference between whether we sink or swim. No matter what happens outside of our home, we still must go on. We all must. We still must be brave and forge forward because our light is the only light left in these instances and if we give up or allow fear to stop us from living, or guilt to keep living because others may be dying, or have died, then what is left?
That’s why I decided to write this today – not because I don’t feel the stress and weight of the world right now (I do), but because I know that based on my own hard times, that staying positive and having little moments of light was what sustained me and my family. Finding joy at home through small things. Playing board games with my son. It was the only way for me to make it through to the other side. Because there is always another side. And brighter days. Remember that.
In an attempt to share some light today, here are 10 ways that I make my home and my life feel better during hard times. These things don’t take away the pain, and I’m NOT down-playing the current war, Corona, or anything else troubling that’s happening in the world by posting this, but I do recognize and respect that mental health is fragile for many and we must protect it at all costs. If we have heart problems, we wouldn’t eat fried food, we’d switch to a healthy diet. I am fragile emotionally so I need to focus on feeding my mind with good things so I don’t break, and I imagine most of you feel this way at the moment to. So here goes.