They never said it would be easy, but they DID say it would be worth it, and, boy howdy, was everyone right! Adoption isn’t for the faint of heart. To be completely honest with you, adoption has brought the highest of highs and the lowest of lows to my life. Each time we’d hit a low point I’d struggle to pull myself back up and continue on the journey. Here are a handful of things to try when you have those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days.

1. Take time to pamper and really take care of yourself, whether it’s talking a long bath/shower with your favorite products (I’m a LUSH bath bomb addict) or taking a trip to the day spa or local beauty school for some pampering. I can’t tell you how many times I had clients come into the day spa I worked at for just a scalp massage and hairstyle on the days they felt they could barely get out of bed. Trust me, your stylist/barber/massage therapist/etc LOVES to help you feel better.

2. Talk. Talk about the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. Find that support group that allows you to reach out and say “today sucks and I can’t handle it” and let those people lift you up. There are even anonymous online blogger groups if you’re not yet comfortable voicing those feelings to people you may know in person.

3. EXERCISE! Even if all you have time for is a brisk walk around the park/house/block, do it! When we get our heart rates up and get physical, endorphins surge through our systems. If you can get your spouse/partner to go with you, even better!

4. Get away. Remove yourself from the situation temporarily (or completely, if it’s an unhealthy situation). Give yourself a break from focusing on what may or may not happen, why it happened, and what you have to do about it. Some of the hardest times for me were when we had failed placements. I was so caught up in fixing it and grieving that it consumed me. That led to even more of a strain on my relationships with family and friends. Maybe your getaway with your partner/spouse is just a night away in a hotel—or maybe it is a week-long camping trip. Either way, take that break.

5. Help others. As hard as it may sounds, use your pain, grief, and experience to help others. Not only can it allow you to see your situation from another’s eyes, but stepping back is often when we are able to see the bigger picture.

While this is a short list of suggestions on ways to cope with the awful days, there are countless more and that’s where you amazing people come in . . . What are some of your coping methods? How do you make it through the day? If you have favorite online support groups, will you share them?