7 Tips to Try When Life is Tough
“I can’t do this anymore. “
I’ve said this more times than I want to admit.
It’s how I feel when I’m overwhelmed. It’s how I feel when I am afraid of the next step. It’s how I feel when I don’t feel in control of my situation. It’s how I feel when I think I’m the only one in a certain situation.
Yet, somehow I still do. Why and how? Because to stay alive, that’s what you do. You keep going even when it’s tough.
Long before Simon Sinek gave us the value of “why,”( ) adults were getting up and managing their lives so their families could survive. If they didn’t get up and go to work, their families would suffer. Their Why was focusing on survival.
So, what does someone do who just can’t combine their Why with action anymore? How do they get through the storm—whether professionally or personally?
These seven tips for getting through tough times are what I practice when I start to mentally chant, “I can’t do this anymore.”
1. Stop asking why.
It is what it is, and for some reason it’s your time for chaos. Why is not important. Let it go and make a plan to overcome this challenge.
2. Hang on.
This is temporary. Whether for one day, one month or one year, the situation will change. This rough patch is just that—a patch—a portion of your life. Hang on and don’t give up when life gets tough.
3. Be kind to yourself.
When life gets tough, we mentally punish ourselves with negative thoughts. We treat ourselves in a way we would never treat someone else. Stop it. Get out of your own way. Be kind to yourself. Do something just for you—whether it’s take a bath, exercise, buy a small gift, —do something kind for yourself.
4. Change 15 minutes of your day.
“Carpe diem” or seize the day may be overwhelming. Instead, seize 15 minutes. Set a timer. Take a break. If you are constantly working, take 15 minutes and go for a walk. If you are piled up in the bed and have slept more than usual, get up and go take a shower. Get your blood pumping and your mind focused on something positive. That 15 minutes of doing something just for you may end up being 30 minutes which is even better. Take care of you can be one of the best ways to feel better when life is tough.
5. Stop thinking you are the only one.
Call a friend. Send an email to someone you’ve lost touch with. Text a colleague. Reach out to someone you can trust and share how you are feeling. When we “talk things out,” it can really help our mindset. We begin to see solutions we couldn’t previously imagine. Even if the situation does not immediately change, it feels good to talk about it and vent to a friend. We are never alone, we just believe we are. Find someone and connect.
6. Look for the lessons.
What are you learning? How can you apply the lessons for the future? Are you stronger because of these lessons? What would you change about your actions? There are always lessons. Look for them.
7. Make a gratitude list.
I used to think this step was stupid and pointless. That is, until I tried it. Once I started writing down what I was grateful for, and once I started a list of what was good in my life, I knew I could deal with and overcome what was wrong. Make a list of what you are grateful for and you may be surprised by what you find!
Implementing these simple strategies have helped me deal with the “I can’t do this anymore” times. Every positive step you take helps clear away negative thoughts and feelings.
Keep on, keeping on, and don’t give up on you.
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When things are hard and you’re feeling alone, you might tend to hide. This can stem from embarrassment, feeling too overwhelmed to know who to reach out to, or the belief that you don’t have anyone to reach out to. But most people have been through hard things, even if it’s not the same thing you are experiencing. Most people are kind and willing to do what they can.
If you’re feeling like everyone is too busy, and like you would be a burden, remember that we are all in different seasons of life. Keep reaching out and you’ll find the person who is in a great season of life to help, and later when you’re in that season, you’ll help them or someone else.
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Sometimes it’s as simple as asking, “Would I say this to someone I love?” when we’re thinking an unkind thought about ourselves. If the answer is no, reframe the thought to something more positive and then do something kind for yourself.
This can start with simply changing 15 minutes of your day.
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