How to love yourself through a tough time

When I’m feeling on top of life and the hours roll by smoothly, it feels so good to set aside time to take care of myself. Want to squeeze in a workout - sure do, I’m feeling great! A nutritious lunch, alone time, a face mask? Don’t mind if I do!

But on a day that was rougher than rough, it’s hard for me to even get dressed. My inner voice seems to ask “Why bother?” constantly. Clean clothes, anything good for my body, small acts of kindness - why does it even matter? A face mask doesn’t change any of the things that are going wrong. In those moments, I definitely don’t feel “worth it.”

Loving yourself through a tough time is a skill that must be cultivated and practiced. It takes conscious effort, time, and patience. But relying on your own love inside of yourself to buoy you up on difficult days is priceless. That kind of self-love is comforting, welcoming, and a gentle reminder that difficult times do not last forever. That kind of self-love will encourage you to learn and grow through the tough times, and help push you forward in positive and meaningful ways.

Here’s a brief list of daily practices that can help you learn to love yourself through difficult times:

  1. Acknowledge your feelings. At the end of the day, set aside quiet time for reflection - through thought, journaling, or talking with someone you trust. Try to identify the way you were feeling and the root of those feelings. If you can identify it, you can learn to cope with it. 
  2. Take positive action. Give yourself a compliment, workout even if you don’t feel like it, send an encouraging message to a friend, ask for forgiveness - just try to do one small positive/productive task. (One of our favorites - yoga for stress relief.)
  3. Mind your own business. Give yourself a break from scrolling through other’s highlights, from the comparison game, and from any gossip or drama. Be aware of where you’re spending your precious energy.
  4. Practice gratitude - out loud or on paper. Tell people when you’re feeling appreciative, make a list of the 3 things you’re grateful for at the end of the day, download an app to give you reminders - whatever way works for you make it a habit. You’ll start to look for the silver linings. 
  5. Learn how to change your perspective. This is perhaps one of the hardest things to do, but when you’re going through something difficult one of the greatest ways to show yourself love is to do the hard work of adjusting your perspective. This often requires us to pull ourselves from misery, guilt, shame and change our focus.

While self-love is definitely a long-term practice, sometimes we need extra help after all we can do. Seeing a therapist to help you navigate through seasons of difficulty can be incredibly helpful - and we encourage you to take that step if you think it could be right for you. For more from our blog on therapy, read How Therapy Changed My Life by founder/designer Emily.

And for another tool to aide you in your journey, check out our Designer’s Guide to Mindfulness below.

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