When Hard Times Hit, Part 3 of 3

Doing the little things to get through rough times

Happy zenThe final tether to which I clung when hard times hit was: the little things. You’ve probably found that when under stress, you don’t feel like doing the little things, such as making the bed, watering the plants or mowing the lawn. Under stress these little things might seem frivolous and unimportant – just a pest that seems more taxing to swat than to not. It is important to know what your “little things” that slip for you when you are stressed. These can serve as sign posts to watch for sneaking stress (as opposed to the acute variety). In her book, The How of Happiness, Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky beats the drum of “Happiness Habits”. It is very much these little things that matter so much. Think about it. When you don’t do those little things, there is a part of you that laments, “Oh, I really SHOULD have done that.” Or even worse, “I didn’t even do (such and such). I’m awful” (or other words to that effect). Doing the little things can help keep you afloat during rough waters. Sometimes the routine itself can feel like a buoy to hang onto. In therapy land, there is a life skill called “act opposite to emotion”. Those little things? I invite you to at least be aware of what you are doing (or not doing). If you choose to give yourself permission to not take out the trash or give your razor the day off, I hope you do so with compassion.

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