How To Handle Things When Everything Is Hard

On the edge of Bryant Park on 42nd Street, behind the Fifth Avenue New York City Library with the resting lions in front, there’s a restaurant. An assistant editor from Glamour and I walked over from her office in the glittering Conde Nast building to have lunch. The last thing I wanted was to admit how dazzled I was by the Sex and the City vibe that was happening. I was a young-ish psychologist-aspiring-writer applying for a gig to write an advice column for the magazine. My ecosystem was hospitals, academia, the Upper West Side. This was something else.

Grayscale image of mountain range with the text that reads... "5 Essential Tips For Overcoming Life's Challenges"

Actually it was an interview. Once we were seated the at-least-ten-years-younger-than-me assistant editor began. “We’re looking for someone who will not give the usual advice. If I’m having a bad day I don’t want to read, ‘take a bath’.” I nodded knowingly; not easy to do while chewing on a caesar salad. “For instance,” she continued, “I commute from my house in New Jersey. I have two kids and a husband. This job is all consuming. This Friday my mother-in-law is coming to stay for a few weeks. The house is a mess. I have no time. She’s very exacting. I’m so stressed. What do I do?”

Here she paused, and stared at me. The world froze. Her fork stopped its journey to her mouth. All the servers, I swear, paused to turn and stare at me as well. And I blew it. I had nothing. I don’t even remember what I babbled after that. The lunch ended. I didn’t get the job.

The Hard Thoughts That Went Through My Head

On the subway back home, I thought, well fuck me! What I should have said was, “Why do you give a rats ass what your mother-in-law thinks? What if you didn’t care what she thought? Is your home safe for the kids? Is your husband a good partner? Does he participate as much as you do in the kids’ care? Then let him deal with his mother’s judginess! Plus, by the way, that’s your idea of hard? Really?!

I can’t even. 

Are you a single parent?

The primary caretaker for an aging, infirm parent, spouse, child? 

Do you have your own health issues? 

Stuck in a job with a horrible, abusive boss? 

Any abusive relationship!

 Or trying to launch your own business, a career? Burdened with student loans?

Not making enough to save anything? Dealing with the micro-aggressions from ignorant people? Broken promises. Lost opportunities. Betrayals. 

Everything all at once? 

Now that’s hard!

Dealing with difficult situations can be challenging, but there are five things you can try to help you handle things when everything feels hard:

5 Things To Help You Handle Life When Everything is Hard

  1. Take a break: It’s important to give yourself time to rest and recharge. Taking breaks can help you clear your mind and refocus your energy.
  2. Practice self-care: Make sure to take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Eat healthy, get enough sleep, and find activities that help you relax and destress.
  3. Seek support: Talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling. It can be helpful to share your thoughts and emotions with someone who can offer you perspective and support.
  4. Break tasks down into smaller pieces: If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a large task, try breaking it down into smaller, more manageable pieces. This can help you feel more in control and make progress more easily.
  5. Find ways to cope with stress: There are many different strategies you can try to cope with stress, such as deep breathing, exercise, or mindfulness. Find what works for you and try to incorporate it into your daily routine.

Remember, it’s okay to feel overwhelmed or stressed at times. It’s important to take care of yourself and seek support when you need it.

dr aletta