START THE WEEK GOOD: Finding Strength in Difficult Times | Health, Medicine and Fitness

“It is in acceptance, struggle, certainty and overcoming that we reveal and develop our inner power. No matter what obstacle we face, the spiritual challenge remains the same – whether we” come with our days “, living each and every moment to find the light that exists in the darkness.

When there are difficulties, we often ask ourselves: “When will things get better?” “Are things going to change?” Perhaps you are currently going through something in which you cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ll be honest, I felt the same recently. The past two years have come with twists and turns. There were dark, lonely and hopeless times. I beat cancer – YAY! However, no one really prepares you for life after cancer and the consequences it has on your mental health.

I would get responses like, “You must feel SO happy!” And even though I wanted to feel happy, I reached some of the darkest moments of my life. There is what you MUST feel, and then there is what you REALLY feel.

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The reality was that I had medical bills and a list of other bills to pay. I was browsing the side effects of chemotherapy. We still live with my in-laws. I was wearing baggy clothes and, as one of my closest friends asked me, “Rumaisa, why do you dress like you’re 40 years older than you? Where is that lively Ru that I know and love?” She was right. I didn’t feel pretty, I hadn’t bought new clothes or anything for myself in over a year. The thing was, she didn’t need to tell me. I knew I was hiding. Trying to figure out, “Now what?” “Who am I today?”

However, what I’m learning is that we need those lows to be able to appreciate the highs. We need this contrast to be able to go deeper into what we don’t want in our lives. This hurt and pain is the roadmap that guides us to awareness. Shake the system. Rather than letting fear guide us, we can use that fear to propel us toward the light. Some may call it a wake up call

People often ask me, “What should I do? “I just want to feel better!” Maybe you just lost your job, or maybe you’re going through a divorce. Or maybe there are a lot of things going well in your life, but you just don’t know how to feel happy?

Here are 12 things that I keep integrating into my life that are helping me move from feeling helpless to hopeful.

1. Create light in the space around me. This includes: making my bed, opening the blinds, folding the laundry, adding flowers, and spraying refreshing light sprays to fill the air.

2. Embrace change and look back on how far you’ve come. How much you have grown from these challenges.

3. Relationships — abandon quantity and focus on quality.

4. Let go of the “how” or the “result” and find ways to feel good about today.

5. Allow myself to have my moments of sadness, learn to be more compassionate with myself, and show myself again and again.

6. Declutter my social media. (That’s a game changer!)

7. Blast my favorite show. Sometimes it’s nice to get lost in your favorite show. (Just be aware of what type of show it is! It can definitely steer you towards how you might be feeling!)

8. Put more effort into my appearance. Dress me, do my hair and do my make-up.

9. Open to new conversations with others. I contacted the mothers of my daughters’ friends to schedule mom-and-daughter play dates.

10. Writing — keep a journal every day for at least 10 minutes. I didn’t know what I was going to write. I just let the pen write whatever came to mind without altering it. I also make it a point to write down all the things that are going well in my life, paying attention to all the good that surrounds me.

11. I talked to my therapist. Sometimes I had no idea what I was going to talk about, but there were so many revelations opening up for me.

12. Do less and be more. I started taking time for myself again. Allow myself time and space to organically let new thoughts reveal themselves to me. In the Midwest, we don’t get much sun, so I tried to spend as much time outdoors as possible. Whether I’m walking around while my daughter is participating in one of her activities or wandering off to sit outside and listen to the birds chirping. Or sometimes I sat in a quiet car to escape the hectic world around me.

I hope some of these strategies bring you inner peace, love, and light.

Rumaisa Rahman Khawaja is a mindset and resilience coach, author, speaker and breast cancer fighter who can be reached at www.coachrumaisa.com. Khawaja helps people achieve dynamic and positive changes in their lives from self-doubt to self-love by providing them with meaningful tools they can implement day-to-day to maximize life and relationships .