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We’ve all had a really bad day…heck, weeks or months can stink too.  It could be anything – money problems, relationship problems, illness, etc.  How to you handle rough times?  Specifically, how do you spend your time?

Charity

Spending time on others while the rough times pass can be amazingly cathartic.  When I first graduated from college, I immediately got married, moved to a new apartment soon after, and all of our college friends moved on with their lives while we did the same.  My husband was my best friend, but spending all of our time together was driving us both a little nutty.

I decided to stop feeling lonely and started volunteering at the Houston SPCA.  I spent 3-4 evenings a week walking dogs and helping them get adopted.  It was way easier to put my own life into perspective while I was cuddling with the big dogs and picking up their poop.

Even after we moved away a year later, I kept up the charity work through fostering Pugs, that was followed by Meals on Wheels, and that has been followed by Big Brothers Big Sisters.  Volunteering your time can make a world of difference for you and the ones you help.

Hobbies and Play

Maybe you can keep your mind off of the rough times by spending your time doing other stuff.  I have friends that find hobbies to throw themselves into when things aren’t great.  You can consider anything – knitting, reading, video games, blogging, potlucks, movie nights, etc.  I’d suggest budgeting your fun money for whatever you choose so you don’t cause yourself any financial problems.  The activity itself should be something you enjoy that can keep you busy.

If the rough times can be worked through, then a hobby may allow you to focus better to achieve whatever it is you need to do.  If the rough times can only be healed with time, then the hobbies can help you pass that time quicker.

Work

You may be someone that can throw themselves into work.  In some ways, the extra time could help you succeed.  It can be used like a hobby to help you spend time concentrating on something else.  I would just warn you not to use work or anything as an avoidance method for too long.  If you just need some time, great.  But if you need to be handling an issue, avoidance won’t help.

My Combo

When I’m handling too much or am just waiting out a crappy period of life, I keep up with my commitments as necessary but throw more time into charity and hobbies/play.  Helping others makes me feel better quickly and friends help me put things into perspective.  I use reading, tv, and movies to help me feel in free time where I just need my brain to turn off a little.  That combo seems to work for me.

What works for you?