Overcoming challenges: It's ok not to be ok

Everyone faces challenges in life. Whether that’s dealing with bereavement, having a disability, being bullied, lacking confidence or simply getting out of bed in the morning; the challenges we face, whether visible or not, can often feel scary and insurmountable.

Listen up as Will, Joanne, Fatima, Rosie and Olivia discuss the challenges they’ve faced and how they got to where they are today.

Let’s revisit those top tips.

Invest your time wisely

It’s good to take your mind off things. Find something that you enjoy and are passionate about, that will make you happy and help you cope with whatever it is you are going through.

Being creative is a great way to express yourself: try painting, drawing, singing or dancing. Will’s outlet is drama, whereas Fatima finds that writing poetry helps her:

"It allowed me to realise that, even if in life I want to be perfect and get everything right and have total control, that this is the space where I can make mistakes."

Be kind to yourself

When you’re faced with challenges, you may find yourself questioning who you are, what you’re doing and where you’re going in life. As Joanne says, be kind to yourself:

Know that it’s ok to not be ok.

Allow yourself time to develop, make mistakes, grow and change. Prioritise you. As Fatima explains:

"After a while I realised that there’s nothing wrong with trying. I don’t need to be perfect. I can make mistakes. I can take it one day at a time."

Know that it’s a process

Overcoming a personal challenge isn’t like getting to the end of a race – there might not always be a distinct finish line. More often than not, it’s more like a journey along a winding path, and while you’re always moving forward, there can still be ups and downs, highs and lows. The end might seem in sight and then you turn a corner to face a mountain.

As Rosie admits:

"I think I’m still dealing with my challenges. I think I’m still on that journey and every day is a bit of a struggle in itself but that’s OK."

Take each new challenge as a learning opportunity and every positive step as a victory. Keep going: you’ve got this!

Don’t do it alone

Rosie says that “no one size fits all in terms of mental health,” but you should always “seek help – tell somebody that you trust, that you know has your best interests at heart”.

Don’t bottle your feelings up. Talk to a friend, relative, teacher or counsellor about what you’re going through. Your GP will also be able to give you advice and refer you for professional support. Don’t deal with these things alone.

If you don’t feel that you can approach anyone in person, there are also organisations which can offer support and guidance, online or over the phone. For example, CALM, ChildLine or Young Minds.

What message would you give to others?

Understand that it’s ok not to be ok – live out and feel out the things you are going through because your first priority is yourself.

Seek help – tell someone you trust, that you know has your best interests at heart.

Stay positive, and in the mindset that whatever you are feeling now will get better.

Find something positive, a positive outlet – whatever you’re passionate about and that lights you up, and invest your time into that.

Where to go for more support

There’s lots more advice and guidance on the Bitesize Support pages. Have a look at our mental health collection to get started.

You could also explore the advice on Young Minds, ChildLine and The Mix.

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