Life's a bit challenging, isn't it?

by Amanda Fleet

I don't know about all of you, but right now, I'm looking at the world and thinking, "It's all just awful! Have the Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse actually arrived?"

Between wars, famine, the cost of living crisis, covid (nope, it hasn't gone away yet folks), and everything else that's going on, it's easy to look at the world and despair.

So, no review for you this week. Instead I'm going to share three things that help me when life gets difficult. None of them are miracle cures. None of them will make the world a less terrible place. But maybe some of them might help you find a little inner peace during these turbulent times. And great news... they're all free!

Happiness Journal/Gratitude Journal

This one is no invention of mine at all! But there's a lot to be said for spending a little time each day focusing on the things you are happy about or grateful for. Did you have a nice chat with a friend? Do you have a job and a roof over your head? Were you able to spend a few minutes in nature? What made you happy today? These small things can add up, and having a cup of tea/coffee/whatever at the end of a bad day/week and reading back over all the good things that have happened can be comforting, and reassuring that although the world can be awful, it can also be amazing. You don't have to write these things in a posh journal. Write them on the backs of receipts or any old bit of scrap paper and hold them together with a paperclip if you want.

Tidying up/decluttering

Most of us have too much stuff in our lives. I know I certainly do. Sometimes a good clear out can bring a great sense of ease and tranquillity. Maybe that's because you've managed to exert control over something, when generally life feels out of control. Giving away things you no longer want or need to someone who does need them can also bring a sense of well-being. Tidy, uncluttered spaces can also instil a feeling of calmness, too.

It might only be one drawer in your desk, or one corner of a room. You may not even get rid of anything, but just impose a bit of order on a kitchen cupboard or a drawer of clothes. Take things out, fold them neatly and put them back again, but colour-coded? It doesn't have to be anything major.

Getting outside

Get outside, even if it's only for a few minutes in a crowded day. Try to find three beautiful things around you and really appreciate them. A ladybird on a flower. A blackbird singing in a tree. The scent of a wild rose. Even in the middle of a city, there will be something. The iridescence of a pigeon's feathers. A tiny plant trying to grow in the crack of a wall. The feel of light rain on warm skin. It's the act of finding and appreciating something that's important, not what it is. 

These are just three things that help me when I feel overwhelmed. They allow me to breathe just a little and take control. Hopefully they might help some of you, too.