Life’s many challenges can sometimes take us off course, leaving us to make a long journey back, or…perhaps to find a new path altogether! Bouncing back from adversity can be difficult, even when we have resources and supports in place. It also takes grit, self-confidence, and determination to help us along the way, which isn’t always easy to muster up when the chips are down. So, how DO we get back up on the proverbial horse and keep working towards our dreams and goals? Let’s explore how in this month’s blog series – which is all about bouncing back – from illness, addiction, toxic relationships, career or financial setbacks, as well as grief and loss.
How illness, ailments & addictions take their toll:
- Injuries & accidents
Every adult I know has had some kind of injury to deal with at some point in their lives, some more serious than others. I myself have struggled through various injuries – usually related to physical activity and outdoor pursuits. Some set me back for weeks, months or even years in the case of my Achilles tendon injury, while others simply slowed me down or forced me to do things differently. An accident, operation or injury doesn’t just bring about acute or chronic physical pain, it can snowball into personal, relational and financial problems.
- Illness & chronic ailments
We all know how a common cold or flu can take us down from time to time, causing us to miss work or other important events. For people who live with serious illnesses and ailments however, life is far more complicated. There are endless doctor’s visits, tests, medications, and a general interruption of daily life, not to mention the physical and emotional strain. Whether the diagnosis is cancer, depression, dementia, diabetes, HIV, cardiovascular disease, or any other of the hundreds of illnesses people endure, bouncing back and trying to regain some sense of normalcy is downright difficult.
Addiction is indeed an illness, but for this purpose, it gets its own heading. While more is being studied about our addictions to alcohol, drugs, and gambling – just to name a few – we still don’t understand as much as we could. There’s also a social stigma attached to addiction, and although there’s progress in this area, it can still impede a healthy recovery. While many people can function seemingly well while trying to manage or hide their addictions, others simply can’t, and things can spiral downwards quickly. The destructive nature of addictions doesn’t just harm families, relationships, careers, and finances, it causes deeper psychological and physical damage. The good news in all of this is that for those who can work to overcome their addictions, the prognosis is great – and life can return to normal, or even better than before.
Tips for bouncing back & moving forward
For all the difficult physical, mental and emotional challenges we endure, there are tried and trusted ways to help us recover so we can get back to being ourselves, or even a better version of ourselves! After all, when we get through a difficult time, it’s a learning and growth experience, shaping us into stronger, more resilient people. Here are some of the top ways to bounce back and keep moving forward:
1.Give yourself adequate time and attention
In other words, don’t rush your recovery. Your mind and body need time to heal. If you absolutely must go to work, ask for part-time or work-from-home options. It’s ok to feel upset or saddened about your situation, but keep the pity-party short.
2. Seek help in the process
There is so much out there to help you bounce back – you just have to invite it all in. Work with your medical, spiritual or other professionals and take an active part in learning all you can about your recovery. Go a step further and seek additional ways to bounce back, such as physiotherapy, massage therapy or counselling. Don’t be passive and just ‘wait it out’, do all you can. If you suffer a relapse, you’ll be in a better position to bounce back more quickly with resources and supports already in place.
3. Find a support group or spend more time with supportive family members or friends
Call on your friends and your family for help during your recovery process. They can and want to support you, but they need to know what it is you need. They can offer a hot meal, a listening ear, a drive to the doctor, or just for a fun visit to help you feel a sense of normalcy again. Support groups are another positive step; being with others in the same situation is comforting and inspiring, and they offer a safe space to talk about your struggles.
4. Nourish your mind and your body to maximize recovery
For goodness sakes, be good to yourself. This isn’t a time to beat yourself up or minimize your progress and efforts. Start a healthy routine: Get your rest, eat well, get fresh air, treat yourself to something nice and keep moving forward every day. Nourish your mind with positivity; stay away from negative social media for example and toxic people, and try not to wallow in self-pity. This is a time for good vibes only!
All of us have or will experience health issues of some sort, and some will be more significant or life-changing than others. For anyone struggling to get past it or at least learn how to manage it and live life more fully, have hope…in yourself, in your strengths and in your amazing ability to push forward, day by day.
“Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles.” – Alex Karras