How to Get Through Hard Times

woman making a heart with her hands; getting through hard times
man pushing over boxes that represent all of his stresses

What to Do When You’re Going Through Hard times

Most of us have gone through hard times in one way or another. Maybe we’ve lost a loved one, faced a big failure in school or at work, or found ourselves overwhelmed by everything happening around us. Truly, life doesn’t always go our way and sometimes it feels like the world is against us. But there’s many ways to get through these times.

Notably, no one step fits everyone’s personality, situation, or life. Some of us have family to lean on and others’ families are the cause of their issues. Our support systems and options differ due to finances, personal goals, location, and more.

However, below we have gathered six steps you can follow to get through a difficult moment in life, whether it lasts only a few days or spans a year.

6 Steps to Take to Get Through Hard Times

It’s important to be open to your options when you’re going through hard times. Some people may not want to involve loved ones or maybe think self-care is somehow silly or unnecessary. But our preconceptions and fears limit our potential to excel and heal. And we all need help sometimes, especially when everything seems to be going wrong.

When learning to take care of your needs, especially within a new situation, try not to write off new ideas simply because they make you uncomfortable.

spending time with loved ones to get through hard times

1. Lean On Your Friends and Family

One way to get through hard times is to lean on your friends and family. Now, this phrase doesn’t mean to put your issues onto them or, in some cases, fully explain what’s going on. It means to spend time with your loved ones, let them support you, and share what’s going on rather than holding it in. Indeed, you only need to say what you’re comfortable with, but your loved ones and good friends will want to know what’s going on with you.

Notably, emotional connections and support have a positive impact on our mental health. People with strong emotional relationships report fewer feelings of anxiety and depression. Better yet, these relationships appear to improve our physical health as well, as studies have shown lower levels of inflammation and stress hormones in individuals who report having healthy, happy relationships.

Whether your family is blood-related or found, simply spending time with them can help you get through almost any situation.

2. Focus on Self-Care

Self-care is a term that has been made popular by millennials and gen-z’ers and that is sometimes looked at with scorn by others. That is partially because the image that the media portrays of self-care is sometimes associated with splurging, excess, and poor financial decisions. But self-care is so much more than shopping sprees and coffees (though it can be that, too, as long as it’s not financially damaging).

Self-care can be as simple as a one-dollar face mask, an extra-long shower, and an early bedtime. It helps prevent burnout as we focus on tasks that aren’t inherently productive. During self-care hours, you don’t look at work emails, school assignments, or do tasks that cause mental or physical stress. Instead, you listen to your body and give yourself what you need.

Imagine getting to a job interview after several long, sleep nights in a row. You’re going to be exhausted, disheveled, and likely jittery. You might say the wrong thing or forget things that you know like the back of your hand. You appear sloppy, out-of-touch, and poorly prepared. As a result, you don’t get the job. A job that you were more than qualified for. Truly, self-care doesn’t just help you manage your mental health and emotions – it enables you to move forward and obtain your goals. It keeps us on track, healthy, and ready to face the next day.

Thus, when you’re going through hard times, you should double down on your self-care. Make sure you are ready to take on the troubles of tomorrow or else they’ll hit you a lot harder.

a mug that says "have a dream" next to a bouquet

3. Consider All Possible Routes Forward

Of course, part of getting through hard times is taking steps get yourself out. Unfortunately, no one can pull you completely out of a slump or a bad situation. Your loved ones can help, but it’s up to you to take the necessary steps to take care of yourself.

Once you’re in a place where you can think clearly, sit down and type out or write down the ways that you can improve your situation. If your issue is job-related, you might consider furthering your education, seeking promotions, finding a new job, or even switching fields entirely. For serious financial matters, you may need to consider serious and frightening possibilities like applying for bankruptcy.

When struggling with your mental health, you might seek out a psychologist and make a list of possible therapists near you. Similarly, physical health issues may require serious lifestyle changes that you may not feel ready for. Regardless, at some point, you need to get real with yourself and figure out what options you have to move forward.

Notably, you may need to make this list across a few sessions as you learn more and deal with strong emotions.

For most people, there will be no one correct path forward. And for some, your ideal path forward may simply be to focus on more self-care. Losing loved ones, facing life-changing diagnoses, and similar situations have no cure, no clear solution, no one-size-fits-all answer. You must figure out what’s right for you, and it may take some trial and error.

4. Focus on What You Can Control

When you’re figuring out your path forward, you must also remain realistic. If you put yourself on an impossible path, you’ll only wind up experiencing more pain and hurt. You cannot control other people, larger world events, the economy, etc. Thus, don’t create one plan that relies on the world behaving to succeed. You must be realistic and have contingencies in place in case things go wrong.

For example, if you want to create a business selling art, but no one wants to buy it at your local craft fair, don’t keep wasting hundreds buying booth space. Instead, try selling your pieces elsewhere or online where you can reach more people – there are going to people out there who have the same taste as you and will enjoy your work. You can’t force your neighbors to become your audience, but you can look elsewhere for people who appreciate your talent. Then, consider researching what people in your area prefer buying. You may need to cater to their tastes in order to make sales.

To make it through hard times, you can’t get caught up in the impossible. Obsessing over what you can’t change will only cause more pain.

woman contemplating her feelings, how to get through hard times

5. Feel Your Emotions

Another crucial step to getting through hard times is to sit down and feel your feelings. What this step looks like depends on the individual. Some people use rage rooms, others let themselves lay down and cry it out. You might rant and rave to a friend who’s prepared to handle your tirade. But what you don’t want to do is let it fester. This, of course, includes indulging in bad habits like drinking and overeating. These are harmful outlets that cause more harm than they solve. Letting everything boil over inside can impact your life in so many ways. It can cause burnout, a decline in mental health, and serious physical health problems.

Some individuals know how to let it out and manage their emotions on their own and with friends. However, many of us don’t. Therapy wouldn’t be so popular if we all knew what we were doing. Thus, if you don’t want to risk overburdening your loved ones, you may want to consider professional help. Truly, it takes a lot of strength to recognize you need assistance.

6. Find Good Where You Can

Finally, to get through hard times, make sure you find good wherever you can. Not every action you take needs to be a direct step towards the future. Enjoy your friends, family, and loved ones. Spend time with your dog and watch the bad tv show that you secretly enjoy. And don’t forget to eat your favorite foods, walk in the park, and buy that deliciously overpriced coffee from your local shop.

Basically, it can be easy to get sucked up into the doom and gloom of a situation. It’s hard to have fun with a heavy rain cloud over your head. But you should allow yourself to have fun and enjoy life. You can’t be productive every minute of every day, nor should you.

Life is full of good and bad times, but it’s way easier to get wrapped up in the bad. Afterall, why would we question or want to change our lives when everything is going our way?

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