I've had some personal challenges over the last couple of months and as you may have noticed, I gave myself permission to take a break from updating this site. I won't share the details of the challenges, as they're not important, but what I would like to share are some of the things that are helping me get through difficult days, just in case they might help you too:
Eat well. The food you put into your body directly affects your brain and how you feel. Eat three times a day and eat as healthy and as organic as you can. You'll be able to feel the difference after just a few days (and you'll drop a few pounds too!).
Have a right-proper bubble bath. On stressful days, get yourself some good bubble bath -- something with natural oils and relaxing scents, like lavender -- and take a bubble bath. If you do it before going to bed, the warmth of the water prepares your body for sleep. A hot tub also works, if you've got one.
Get a massage. If you can swing it, treat yourself to a massage. It can work wonders on both your mind and body! Boy or girl, it just feels good.
Get outside. As creatives, we're parked in front of the computer for a large portion of the day. Force yourself to take a break and get outside for a walk, weather permitting. Flowers are blooming this time of year, and seeing beautiful things grow can lift your spirits in a jiffy.
Don't forget to breathe. Some challenges are scary and can send you straight into full-on panic mode. When that happens, take several deep breaths in a row; it floods your veins with oxygen and helps calm you down so you can think more clearly.
Stretch. Another great way to calm yourself is by getting down into the floor and stretching. It feels good to your muscles and can distract you just enough to feel a little bit better.
Trust your true friends. Some challenges can bring out the worst in folks and cause them to lash out against you. Remember that people will believe what they want to believe, and nothing you can do will change that. If you lose a friend somewhere down the road during a challenge, then that person probably doesn't need to be in your life to begin with. Your true friends, however, will love you no matter what.
Be quiet. Talking incessantly about your challenge just keeps it fresh in your mind. Find something else pleasant to talk about or just don't say anything at all. It's okay to be silent during some challenges; your true friends will understand and support you no matter what. Even though we live in an Internet age, there's no law requiring you to blurt your personal business to the world. Remember, if you don't have anything good to say, it's best not to say anything at all.
Enjoy a daily treat. Each morning when you wake up, think about your day and create or find something to look forward to (anything in the above list works!). For example, if you're facing a tough day at work, plan to treat yourself with a trip to the book store, watching a DVD or eating your favorite food in the evening. If you have a difficult meeting or phone call, cancel it out by treating yourself to a meet-up or a phone call with a good friend or loved one later in the day. It helps wash away the bad with something good, so to speak.
There's obviously a lot more I could write, but I'll save it for my next book project -- which won't be about Photoshop! Until then, keep your head up, stay positive, and be happy; life's too short for anything less :)