How To Help Yourself When Dealing With a Difficult Situation
Updated on July 3, 2021 by Amber & The Team
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Hey there! Since you have landed on this article, you’re probably dealing with a difficult situation or even a few in your life right now. Times like these are hard and exhausting, I know. I’ve been through a lot of rough patches myself.
What these challenges taught me is that you have to take care of yourself, both in and out, in order to help yourself go through a difficult situation.
… But how do you do that when you’re so tired and anxious?
How do you find the strength to go forward?
To me, a few things helped more than others and I will share them right away. But first – let’s take a look at why you feel so exhausted when a difficult situation happens:
1) When we are faced with a difficult situation, our bodies are wired to release a stress hormone known as cortisol. This hormone can be beneficial because it helps to manage your fear, motivation, and even mood for better performance.
That’s why a little stress before an exam or job interview is ok. It helps you do your best.
2) But if a difficult situation lasts for a long time, it can lead to constantly elevated levels of cortisol. While optimal levels of cortisol are beneficial, too much of this stress hormone activates stress response systems in your body and drains your energy.
Being overstressed then impacts your ability to deal with a problem and can even lead to anxiety or depression.
Simply speaking, your body is busy dealing with these elevated cortisol levels instead of functioning at it’s best and helping you to deal with the problem.
This is why it is really important to learn how to deal with a difficult situation while also taking care of yourself.
Mental resilience, coupled with a good self care routine, can help you withstand any storm in your life.
How To Help Yourself When Dealing With a Difficult Situation
1. Stay Away From Caffeine
Out of instinct or reflex, dealing with a difficult situation can up your need for caffeine. Sure, it’s an irresistible taste and more importantly – the surge of energy you crave right now.
But, while it can help increase your performance for a while, this energy increase can quickly plummet – almost as fast as it shot up.
The decrease in adrenaline can cause you to crash abruptly and leave you feeling more exhausted – which is certainly not needed in a difficult situation.
Instead, opt for water with fruits or herbal tea and keep yourself hydrated. It will help your body function at it’s best.
2. Work on Staying Positive
Staying positive while dealing with a difficult situation can be hard, but it is possible. Try stepping back from the situation a bit, even if it means going for a walk or doing a 5-minute workout.
After clearing your head and getting a better mental perspective, you can deal with the problem at hand and you’re not trying to solve a problem while in a panic.
A great way to analyze your thoughts is a few minutes with a Thought Workbook. It’s a journal that you can use to take a look at your thoughts from a perspective.
Many times we are catastrophizing the situation instead of thinking rationally and guess what – it increases the cortisol levels even more because we’re adding fuel to the fire.
The Thought Workbook helps you to put out that fire or at least make it controllable.
It also has a 3-page Problem Solver which helps you find the best possible solutions to the problem. You know you have to deal with that difficult situation sooner or later, so taking a look at possible solutions is a first step to do that.
3. Reach Out
For some people, dealing with a difficult situation means laying on the bed and desperately wishing it will just pass.
How do I know? I was one of those people.
The problem here is that trying to hide or run away from a difficult situation just gets you further away from the possible solution.
But again, it’s hard. It’s scary. Your problems may even look unsolvable (which is rarely true).
This is why you should never be afraid to ask for advice from a trusted relative or friend.
A person who is unaffected by the dilemma can help you see things from a different perspective. Moreover, this person can help you come up with different approaches to solving the problem.
Or maybe this person can help you go through this difficult situation by offering you moral support. Anything that helps, right?
4. Develop a Plan
After you’ve calmed down, it’s time to come up with a plan. Once you have a plan, you stop dwelling on the problem and start focusing on the solution.
The plan should be quite detailed, each step leading towards your goal. Identify the different approaches by accessing their likelihood of success and failure before executing them.
The problem solver part in the Thought Workbook works great for that.
Having a plan in mind is one step towards making your difficult situation better and it will give you a sense of hope. Heck, it may even improve your mood a little.
Read more: How to use planning to relieve your anxiety
5. Try to Sleep
Yes, you’ve read that right. When dealing with a difficult situation, we tend to work around the clock to fix it.
In the process, we sleep less and that lack of sleep can impact your mental capabilities + increase the mental fog. Your ability to think clearly and solve the problem is also affected.
In other words, if you don’t sleep enough it may be harder for you to notice a possible solution.
So try to take a nap if you can, and follow a good sleep hygiene to help yourself fall asleep easier.
Read more: How to sleep well, even with anxiety
I’m also a fan of natural sleep supplements and things that help you relax before sleep. If your worries are constantly impacting your sleep, consider investing in a few relaxing items that promote sleepiness and keep them in your room for times like this. Here are a few of my faves:
Difficult situations are a part of life.
You’re not the only one having a hard time.
Yes, it sucks, but dealing with a difficult situation successfully could mean the difference between a life that is enjoyable and the one that seems grey.
Don’t forget to step back from the situation by engaging in fun activities to relax.
Take care of yourself with easy self care strategies.
These small things will help you clear your mind and bring in a better perspective.
Here are a few ideas to try:
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