Photograph by Elodie Mosely
Life’s being really tough lately and I’m struggling to find joy in the simple pleasures of life, any tips on how to be happy and look forward to the coming day?
Hey! Thanks for writing in to us. I’m really sorry to hear that you’ve been having a hard time and struggling to be happy.
When I think about the times in my life that have been hard, knowing that I’m not alone has always made me feel better. I recently found myself in a prolonged period of unemployment. My self-esteem plummeted and there were many days where I struggled to get out of bed. I stopped enjoying the things I usually do–like hanging out with friends, reading, and cooking–and the thought that the next day would bring with it much of the same really got to me. It became difficult to see a way forward or anything changing for the better. Yet when I spoke to people in similar situations, those feelings seemed to evaporate.
My experience that I’ve described may be nothing like yours, but finding a common ground and connection with other people during a hard time can be helpful, particularly if they’re going through something similar. It can make you feel less lonely and isolated, it can help you feel more understood and accepted, and it can remind you that you don’t have to do this on your own. Support groups can be a great place to start; while they may be intimidating, they’re worth seeking out. With social media, finding these connections is easier than ever, and you might find that talking to someone new is free of the constraints that older relationships have. A professional youth counsellor is another option and they might have some great advice on local initiatives and groups you could join, if nothing else.
Support from friends and family can also never be underestimated. Sometimes we can be our own worst enemies and convince ourselves that those around us won’t care or understand, or that they haven’t noticed what we’re going through. However, no one is a mind reader and unless you start a conversation with someone about how you’re feeling, people might not realise what you’re going through. Not knowing what’s going on will also make it hard for them to offer you the right support, which might make you feel worse. Personally, knowing that I have someone by my side to help me through the coming day is one of the best remedies. Even if I don’t always feel like talking about a problem or how I’m feeling, sometimes all I need is the presence of another person. This is good because you can be in their company without feeling the need to pretend things are great when they’re not, but also without the emotional drain that can come with talking about problems. Plus, when you least expect it, they’ll manage to put a smile on your face.
While reaching out to others is a great place to start, don’t forget that the way you treat yourself during this time is equally important. We often forget to be kind to ourselves, and self-care and self-love can bring you those little moments of happiness and calm that you may feel be lacking in other areas of life. Write out a long list of activities that you enjoy–for example having a bubble bath, curling up with a book and cup of tea, or doing a face-mask (honey is great for a homemade one!). Set aside time for yourself every evening to do one of these things, even if it’s just for half an hour. That way you’ll give yourself something to look forward to at the end of the day.
Try and congratulate yourself for little achievements as well. When you’re having a hard time, even the smallest tasks (like getting out of bed or having a shower) can take an enormous amount of effort. Know that even if you manage to get the smallest thing done in the day, you are doing okay! And if you find yourself in a moment where you do feel happy, write it down so that you can revisit it and remind yourself that what you are going through and how you are feeling will pass. You could also try writing down things you are grateful for to try and refocus your mind.
At the end of the day happiness isn’t something that people can just “do,” but there are steps you can take to help yourself get through this rough patch. Be kind to and patient with yourself. I hope what I’ve said helps, even if just a little, and that things get better for you soon.
Lots of love,
Bella and the Ramona team xx[share]