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Monday Moment: When Something’s Difficult…

Emma Grey

A close friend of mine is weighed down by some emotionally-difficult personal things and is also feeling overwhelmed in a busy role at work.

I told her of a time when I was going through something very big (marriage breakdown) and how relieved I was to have a job I could do with my “eyes shut”.

Sometimes, when you’re dealing with a relationship problem or a difficult family situation, or when you’re grieving or when someone close to you is very ill, or even when you’re moving house or changing jobs—there’s a need to simplify other areas.

When something is difficult, make something else easy

  • Do less or get help at home
  • Get take-away or have toast for dinner once in a while
  • Shift into a different role at work or ask about greater flexibility or reduced hours
  • Step down from extra-curricular committees and other volunteer roles
  • Accept help when it’s offered, and ask for help
  • Say ‘no’ to invitations that will genuinely complicate things (and ‘yes’ to nourishing invitations, like time with friends)

We can’t floor the accelerator indefinitely without applying the brake to help us get around obstacles or around tricky corners. We need to create buffer zones and ‘white space’.

If you’re feeling close to the edge or near your limit, it’s time to put in place some ‘First Aid’.

In your diary

  • Find one thing to cancel
  • Find one thing to postpone
  • Find one thing to delegate
  • Add in something special (coffee with friends, relaxation massage, movie night, weekend away)
  • Add in exercise

Look for short cuts. Find the easy way. Ditch some things. Go to bed earlier. Unplug.

If your big ‘YES’ at the moment is your mental health and self-care, say ‘no’ to things that will compromise that.

I watched an amazing speech last week by a school captain who demonstrates just how important it is to be open with others when we’re struggling emotionally or mentally. If you haven’t seen it, I encourage you to watch and share it.

Finally, tell someone. Friend, relative, boss, colleague, GP, stranger on the end of the phone at Lifeline. ANYONE.

You do not have to struggle with this alone.


Emma Grey

Emma Grey is the Canberra-based author of ‘Wits’ End Before Breakfast! Confessions of a Working Mum’ and ‘Unrequited: Girl Meets Boy Band’. She’s director of the life-balance consultancy, WorkLifeBliss and co-founder of a fresh approach to time-management, My 15 Minutes. She lives just over the ACT border with her two teen daughters and young son. More about the Author