Life can be hard. No spoiler alert there folks! We all know this from experience. While the definition of hardship may vary from person to person, when life gets hard we all have to deal with problems. No one gets out unscathed. Everyone has challenges.
I am experiencing a whole life-gets-hard situation right now. At the beginning of 2022, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness and the last 18 months have been plagued by severe fatigue, dizziness, brain fog, pain, and other symptoms. Some days the fatigue is so bad I struggle to walk around my small apartment.
Due to the fatigue leaving the house can be challenging. Any physical exertion at all takes its toll on my energy levels. It’s a debilitating condition that has changed all aspects of my life. It has without a doubt been one of the hardest things I have ever had to deal with.
With that in mind, I thought I would put together a list of important things to remember when life gets hard.
Disclosure – This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Any compensation I receive does not affect the price you pay.
Let’s dive into 24 important things to remember when life gets hard (and believe me I am working on many of these myself right now).
1. You are stronger than you think
It’s important to remember how strong and capable you are. When life gets hard and we are struggling, we tend to overlook how strong we truly are.
When we talk about being strong, I don’t mean this in a pretending that nothing is wrong sort of way or pretending we don’t need help from anyone. It’s not about thinking strong is your armor and you can use it to stop feeling anything.
It’s important to understand that you can be strong and vulnerable at the same time. You are strong when you cry, strong when you rest, and strong when you take action.
When hardship hits us, we might think, ‘ But I don’t want to have to be strong. I’m sick of having to be strong all of the time.’ I hear you. I can understand that feeling. Despite those feelings, strong is what we still need to aim for.
You are stronger than you think. Even in your toughest moments. You are braver and more courageous than you give yourself credit for. It’s important to remember that.
Related post – 15 Characteristics of a Strong Woman
2. It’s okay to feel vulnerable
Vulnerability is not a weakness.
While none of us wants to be going through a hard time, it’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to be scared.
I’m waiting on some tests to come back (which seems to be a regular occurrence for me at the moment) and I won’t lie, I am worried. And you know what, being a bit nervous is normal. It’s human.
Don’t give yourself a hard time for feeling vulnerable.
It’s not a good idea to listen to people who criticize you for feeling vulnerable since they don’t know what you are going through. Let them think what they want (because let’s face it, they will anyway!) What is important is that you try not to take their criticism on board.
An excellent online course How to be Bold, Resilient and Better Than Ever is run by Tabatha Coffey on CreativeLive. This course can help you become more resilient, deal with disappointments, and examine the stories you tell yourself. I haven’t done this course myself but it’s a CreativeLive staff favorite and has been taken by over 29k happy students.
3. It’s okay to admit that things are difficult
I understand wanting to stay positive and putting on a brave face to the world. Being positive helps a lot of people cope with whatever problems they are dealing with.
I understand and respect a positive way of thinking but I also believe that we can benefit from owning our feelings (even the negative ones) and admitting to ourselves and to others that things are difficult.
It takes a lot of energy to pretend to be positive all of the time.
Sometimes we just have to admit we are struggling.
4. It’s important to take the time to process your feelings
Processing your feelings is important. Acknowledging the way you feel is essential if you want to move forward.
Different people process emotions in different ways. You might process your feelings by talking about your problems with your friends or family, working with a counselor, or writing in your journal.
Journaling is an excellent way to work through and express your feelings. There is power in writing your feelings down. Guided journals are an excellent way to take you step by step through what you are feeling.
Here are some popular journals that can help –
Just a word of warning, if you have a problem with swearing the books by Monica Sweeney and Mark Mason might not be the best fit for you.
Let That Sh*t Go: A Journal for Leaving Your Bulls*it Behind and Living a Happy Life by Monica Sweeney
Zen as Fu*k: A Journal for Practicing the Mindful Art of Not Giving a Sh*t by Monica Sweeney
Burn After Writing by Sharon Jones (I have a copy of this book and totally love it)
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck Journal by Mark Mason
Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration by Meera Lee Patel
5. You are enough
When we are going through a hard time it can be easy to struggle with self-doubt and insecurity. Being fired from a job for no apparent reason can leave us doubting about skills and abilities. Having issues with loved ones can leave us doubting ourselves.
When part of our world feels like it is falling apart, you may become self-critical. That is never the answer though. Now more than ever you have to believe that you are enough because that is what will help you move through this struggle.
If you ever feel not good enough, make sure you read 12 Important Things To Remember When You Feel Not Good Enough
6. Take one day at a time
When we are going through a difficult time, it can help to take one day at a time.
When our lives are filled with uncertainty, it might not help if we project too far into the future. What is happening now, might not be happening in six months, or even a year. It might not even be the same in one month.
Tomorrow may be a completely different day.
I know this one can be difficult. Particularly when it’s a health, money-related, or relationship problem where there can be so much uncertainty involved.
7. Take care of your physical health
When we are going through a hard time, one of the first things we neglect is our health. We may not do it purposely but with everything we have going on in our lives, it can be something that gets neglected.
The irony is that at this time we need our health more than ever because we need to have energy, focus, and clarity to do what needs to be done to find out way out of our hardship.
8. Know how to destress and unwind
People destress and relax in different ways. Your idea of winding down after a hard day might be going for a run. Someone else might like to curl up with a cup of tea and a good book.
Find what works for you and do it consistently.
It might be hard to get started, especially if you are feeling super stressed or struggling with fatigue. Start slow (even if it is 5 or 10 minutes a day) and be as consistent as possible. Miss a couple of days, no problem, simply start again. Don’t let a couple of days of inaction derail you completely.
9. Don’t dive into your vices
Unfortunately one of the mistakes we often make when we are going through a difficult time is that we dive head-first into our vices. We do this because, in the short term, it can make us feel better.
Some examples might be buying that item we want but can’t afford because we are already drowning in debt, eating junk food even though we are struggling with our health or weight, or drinking too much when drinking too much has already caused trouble in our lives.
Diving into your vices and bad habits is not a good way to comfort yourself. Sure you get the quick high but then you pay big time. Before you know it, your original problem is way worse. Instead, find healthy ways to comfort yourself.
10. Learn how to self-soothe
Self-soothing allows us to stay calm in stressful or chaotic situations.
Each of us needs to learn how to self-soothe as the people in our lives are not always available to help us. We must be able to soothe ourselves.
Do you know how to calm yourself when your heart is racing and your hands start shaking? Self-soothing strategies such as deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness can help.
Books you might like –
- Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor
- The Mindful Kind: A Meaningful Mindfulness Guide for Wellbeing in the Modern World by Rachel Kable
11. Have a comforting distraction
Chronic fatigue has been a constant struggle. Consequently, I spend a lot of time in bed or on the couch.
Being a passionate reader, I downloaded books onto my Kindle and read in bed. A lot. I read fiction that takes me into other worlds and away from my current problems.
I distract and comfort myself with stories. Your comfort may be different. Whatever it is find your comfort.
A non-fiction book that I bought and am currently making my way through is The Comfort Book by Matt Haig
12. Try looking at your situation from a different perspective
Sometimes shifting our focus can help us through a difficult time.
Whether it’s looking at a problem from a different angle or from another person’s point of view, taking the time to look at the problem from a different perspective could be helpful.
13. Always Have a Plan A, B, C, D etc (you get the picture)
You need to have a plan to work through your difficult situation. And if that plan fails, you need to come up with another one. If that fails, try something else.
This is all about NOT giving up.
When something doesn’t work we have to keep trying to work through our problem.
14. Find the joy in even the smallest things
When you are going through a difficult time, it’s important to find joy in your life. It’s even better if you can do this on a consistent, daily basis.
Finding joy, love, humor, and gratitude can all be the keys to making a rough time more manageable.
Seek out joy. Be grateful for the smallest wins and moments of happiness in your life.
I know this can be hard. When we are used to a particular lifestyle and suddenly all of that changes, we can struggle to get excited about things that we barely even noticed in the past. But now that our lives have changed, those small wins really matter. Those small wins slowly over time and lead to the bigger wins that we are looking for.
15. Ask for professional help if you need it
Asking for help is important. Never feel ashamed to reach out to a trained medical professional for support. A trained medical professional can offer you the objectivity that family and friends can’t.
Search for what online services are available in your area.
16. Remember you are not alone
When life gets hard, this can be one of the most difficult things to deal with, the feeling of being totally alone.
It’s an awful feeling. Emotional loneliness can rob us of happiness and leave us feeling lost, alone, and abandoned by loved ones.
Unfortunately, when we are at our lowest we sometimes tend to hide and isolate ourselves, which only makes matters worse.
Then there are other situations where you desperately want to be around your friends but can’t be due to illness. Covid demonstrated to many of us just how emotionally damaging isolation can be. Want many people don’t realize is that some invisible chronic illnesses can leave people permanently housebound or even bedbound.
Reaching out to people is the answer. It might be online, it might be in person. It might be connecting with people who are struggling with the same problem as you. It might be family and friends.
Reach out. That’s the first step in breaking through loneliness and isolation.
Make sure you are careful about WHO you reach out to when it comes to family and friends. One thing you learn about being sick is that some of the people you thought would support you, might not be the people you think. Choose wisely. Don’t rely on people who you know are not capable of providing support. That will just make you feel worse and increase your stress levels.
17. Find peace in things not going back to normal
When things get hard our lives can go through some cosmic shifts. Hardships (such as medical issues, divorce, and losing someone we love) will shake us to our core and turn our world upside down.
When tragedy and severe hardship strike the one thing we might crave more than anything is for things to go back to normal. The problem is that sometimes things will never go back to normal, no matter how much we want them to.
The truth is that you may be looking at your new normal which can be incredibly hard to deal with. When you have these life-changing moments, it’s important that you reach out for help from a trained professional counselor to deal with any pain, grief, and loss of self.
18. Let yourself grieve
Grieving isn’t just about someone dying. Though it may be the form of grief that shakes us to our core, there are other forms of grief as well.
We may also grieve when we lose a job we loved or get divorced, or when our health suddenly changes for the worse causing a cosmic shift in our lives.
Grief is a challenging beast. It isn’t linear. It doesn’t logically and methodically work through its 5 stages (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) in a timed, methodical approach. It’s completely the opposite of logical actually. One minute you might feel okay and the next moment, you are crying your eyes out.
Grief is definitely something that you should not try to rush. Working through grief takes time. There is no one size fits all formula when it comes to grief.
Related post – 10 Grief Quotes to Help You Through the Grieving Process
19. Know your worth
No matter what happens, you have to remember to know your worth.
Even when you have failed (or it feels like you have), even when you are starting over from scratch, you must remember to know your worth.
Knowing your worth means taking care of yourself. It means making sure that your self-care is a priority.
If you are struggling with self-doubt and a low sense of self-worth, CreativeLive has an excellent online course held by Mel Robbins. The course is How to Break the Habit of Self-Doubt and Build Real Confidence. I have taken this course myself and got a lot out of it. You can read my review of the course here.
20. Believe you can get through this difficult time
Sometimes we just have to believe that we will make it through this difficult time in our lives.
No matter how freaked out we might be feeling, we need to believe that we will find a way. That despite everything we are going through, we will find a way out of our despair.
We have to keep believing. Even when it’s hard.
21. Hold onto hope
It’s important to not lose hope. Even in our bleakest moments, it is important that we hold onto hope.
I know this one isn’t easy. I know there are times when we hit rock bottom when we feel that all hope is lost. At these times, we need to remember that these are just feelings and feelings are not facts.
Feelings pass. Tomorrow is a new day.
Related post – 10 Hope Quotes to Give You Hope During Hard Times
22. Take action
Sometimes when life is hard, what we really need is to take action.
This may involve making some tough decisions and making some hard calls but ultimately taking action is required.
23. Learn from your experience
We need to be able to learn from our experiences. Especially the hard ones.
If we are drowning in debt and we pay off that debt, we have to learn to not make the same financial mistakes that got us into debt in the first place.
If you are repeating the same mistakes over and over again, you are not learning the lesson. Granted some lessons are harder to learn than others, especially when other people are involved, but we still have to try.
24. Make sure you still have some fun
Years ago I went through a tough time in my life. I had returned from overseas heartbroken, broke, and unemployed. Then my Dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The next six months were terrible but there were a few precious moments of light and fun scattered throughout that horrible time.
No matter what you are going through you still have to find a way to have some fun in life. Even if it’s fleeting, even if it is not as often as you would like, even if it is you laughing at the television show you are watching on your own.
Seek out the little rays of sunshine when life gets hard. They are there. 🙂 They are waiting for you to create them or find them. String those happy moments together, and use them to power you forward through whatever you are dealing with.
Hard times are tough to get through. But when you believe in yourself, reach out for help, and find people that can support you, you will make it through and move on to your next adventure.
Read Next – How to Live for Yourself and Not for Others