We all go through hard times and finding the strength to keep persevering when it feels like the whole world is against us is not always easy. If you’re looking for ways to learn how to stay strong when times are hard, I hope that you find this post helpful.
When I touched my rock bottom, I honestly believed that I wouldn’t be able to endure everything that was happening. Every day felt like I was constantly grasping for air, trying so hard to breathe, and yet every single time that I found a solution to one problem, three more seemed to take its place.
It honestly felt like a never-ending battle. One that regardless of how hard I tried, I just can’t seem to win. I know how hard it is to hold on to hope and to keep staying strong when everything around us just seems to keep falling apart.
It was during these difficult periods of my life that I learned that when all the problems, stress, and anxieties threaten to consume us and pull us under, one of the best things to do is to find an anchor, a set of habits and beliefs that’ll help keep us from spiraling and from being consumed by the negativity and help us stay strong even when everything around us seems to be falling apart.
In this post, I will be sharing with you the steps I took that have helped me stay strong when times are hard. While these steps did not change my situation overnight, they did help me cultivate a mindset and resilience that helped me cope with the challenges I was facing.
While in no way did these steps become a magical solution to all my problems, they did help empower me to keep moving forward and to keep pushing through. I’m hoping that by sharing these steps with you, you will find something that resonates with you and help you navigate through tough times.
How To Stay Strong When Times Are Hard
1. Focus On What You Can Control
When life gets hard, most of us have a tendency to control every little aspect of our lives just to gain a sense of stability and security even just a little. This is certainly what I felt.
I have always been guilty of relentlessly trying to control even the smallest detail of my life. When I was going through one of my lowest points, this only magnified my need for control.
I felt like everything in my life was just falling apart and I wanted so badly to prevent things from going wrong that I believed that by micromanaging every aspect of life, I could somehow shield myself from further pain and uncertainty.
But of course, that was not the case because the reality is regardless of how hard we try to control every little detail of our lives, there are still so many things that are just beyond our grasp. The truth is that relentlessly trying to control everything did not help me in any way.
It did not help better my situation and honestly, it just made me feel worse. Spending so much time and energy trying to control the uncontrollable was just so mentally and emotionally exhausting. It just caused me more stress and anxiety and when things didn’t go as planned, it just made me feel more defeated and hopeless.
This made me realize that the best thing we can do, especially when we are going through difficult times is to learn to accept the things that are beyond our control and focus all our attention and energy on the things that we can actually influence.
Doing this does not mean that we are giving up and that we are just wandering through life aimlessly. It means that we are finally freeing ourselves from the unnecessary burden, stress, and anxiety that come from trying to control everything.
Instead of feeling defeated and overwhelmed by the uncontrollable, we start to work on what we can actually do something about. It’s about finding the actions that we can actually take to help improve our situation, no matter how small, instead of getting stuck on what’s out of our hands.
Doing this does not only make us feel more hopeful but it also helps remind us that we have power in our choices and actions. This helps us feel stronger and more confident in navigating the challenges of life.
2. Avoid Harsh Self-Criticisms
Offering ourselves self compassion is a vital step in helping us learn how to stay strong when times are hard. I know that most of us are certainly guilty of being our harshest critics.
I certainly was and sometimes, I still find myself struggling with this from time to time. I have always been my worst critic and going through one of my lowest points only magnified this. At that time, I actually believed that being hard on myself was the way to ensure that I would bounce back right away and that I would remain focused and driven.
But what I didn’t realize is that by constantly beating myself up, I was also slowly diminishing my confidence and self worth. Constantly criticizing even my smallest mistake made me feel more defeated and honestly, it just made me start believing that maybe I didn’t have what it takes to turn my life around.
This made me feel hopeless and it just made it so much more difficult for me to cope with all the problems and struggles that I was facing. If you’re also guilty of constantly beating yourself up, please know that you deserve to give yourself the same amount of love, understanding, and kindness that you so freely give to other people.
Human as we all are, we are all bound to make mistakes and stumble but that doesn’t mean that you’re no longer worthy of love, kindness, and second chances. Let’s stop beating ourselves up and let’s start meeting our shortcomings with understanding and compassion.
I actually realized that when we give ourselves a safe space to make mistakes and fail, we empower ourselves to take risks and pursue our goals with confidence. We also become better equipped to handle whatever challenges and adversities life throws our way.
We have to keep reminding ourselves that self compassion is not about being self indulgent. It is about acknowledging our humanity and the fact that imperfection is a part of life. It is about constructively working through our faults and failures, instead of being stuck on a loop of guilt of self criticisms.
Let’s stop being our own worst enemy and actually start being our best friend. Learn how to start loving yourself more by taking this 30 day self love challenge now.
3. Give Yourself Credit For Making It Through Each Day
I know how easy it is to take our efforts for granted and overlook all our daily victories, especially when we are struggling in life. We tend to overlook everything that we are doing right when we are so fixated on what we feel is going wrong.
We brush off all our progress, especially if they are not big enough or if they don’t align with the high standards that we set for ourselves. If you’re guilty of this habit too, I want you to know that you deserve to give yourself credit for making it through it each day. For each day you persevere is a testament to your strength and determination.
I know it’s not easy to keep pushing and keep fighting, especially when it feels like life is just going against you, and yet you’re here, and you’re still going, that alone deserves to be acknowledged.
Every single day that you choose to get out of bed despite of how exhausted and drained you already feel is a direct testament to your resilience. Every single day that you choose to keep trying regardless of how many times you’ve faced setbacks and disappointments shows just how incredibly strong you are.
Please don’t hesitate to give yourself credit for all those things. Know that this practice is certainly not about inflating our ego, it’s simply about giving yourself the acknowledgment that you deserve. Doing this does not only help remind us of our capabilities but it also helps us stay strong even on the darkest days.
This practice helps remind us of our invaluable strength and resilience that’ll help us navigate whatever challenges we will face. Remember, you are doing a wonderful job! Don’t forget to give yourself a huge pat on the back for every small victory and every step that you take forward. Know that your progress, even if it feels slow, is still progress.
4. Practice Gratitude For The Small Joys And Wins
To be honest with you, I was never a big believer in practicing daily gratitude. I actually believed that this practice was nothing but toxic positivity.
I mean, I know how easy it is to be grateful when everything in our lives is going great but when everything in our lives is falling apart and when we are struggling to cope with the problems that we are facing every single day, finding something to be grateful for during that period practically feels impossible.
That is exactly what I felt when I was navigating my rock bottom. I was buried in so much debt. I was grieving the loss of a loved one and I was smacked with one problem after another every single day. How am I even going to find something to be grateful for during that period?
So, I chose to focus all my energy and attention on everything that was going wrong in my life. I thought that doing this would push me to be more determined and motivated. I thought that this would make me stronger.
But it was actually the opposite. By refusing to find even the smallest glimmer of positivity, I felt more defeated, and frankly, it just made me feel more hopeless. It didn’t motivate me, it actually made everything so overwhelming to a point that it paralyzed me. It kept me stuck and it kept me from taking any action needed to turn my life around.
This made me realize that practicing gratitude even for the smallest win and joy during this time is not only helpful but also crucial. I’ve learned that being grateful is not about pretending that everything is okay.
It’s not about minimizing the problems that we are going through or invalidating the pain that we are feeling. It is about finding the balance and allowing ourselves to acknowledge that while we are undoubtedly going through tough and painful moments, there are also aspects, no matter how small, that are worth appreciating.
It is about choosing to find hope and strength even in the smallest things. It is about recognizing that our capacity for joy and appreciation is not diminished by our struggles but can actually exist alongside them. Doing this doesn’t only help alleviate the emotional burden that we are carrying but it also gives us hope and reminds us that there is still beauty in the world and so much potential in ourselves, even in the midst of our struggles.
5. Establish A Routine
Establishing a routine can be extremely helpful in giving a sense of stability, especially during difficult and uncertain times. When we are going through a difficult period in our lives, everything might feel too overwhelming, chaotic and unpredictable.
This can often make us feel so mentally exhausted and debilitated to the point that even the smallest task seems impossible to do. This is certainly what I felt. Establishing a routine, especially during that period of my life was like a lifeline.
While it did not solve all my problems, it did give me a fighting chance against the paralyzing overwhelm that threatened to take over and consume me. Establishing a routine provided me with a framework and a purpose, it made every day feel less overwhelming and it gave me even a little sense of control.
Also, every time I was able to check off tasks in my daily routine, it gave me a sense of accomplishment and it helped fuel my strength and drive to keep going. One of the important things to do when we are creating our routine is to establish one that is perfect for you. One that is suited to our circumstances and everything that we are going through.
I actually made the mistake of following all the routines of successful people thinking that doing this would also help me overcome the challenges that I was facing. But it only led to more stress, and overwhelm and honestly, it just made me feel like a failure every time I wasn’t able to stick with their routines because it wasn’t really aligned with my reality.
That’s why it’s so important to establish a routine that is perfect for you. This will make it so much easier for you to actually stick with it. I’ve learned that the most effective routine is one that is custom-made, one that respects your journey and the specific challenges that you are facing.
- 10 Things To Do To Motivate Yourself In Difficult Times
- 10 Things To Do When Everything Goes Wrong
- 10 Small Ways To Make Your Life Better
6. Remember That It’s Okay To Ask For And Accept Help
Asking for and accepting help is vital in helping us stay strong when times are hard. This has never been my strong suit. I have always had a hard time asking for help and going through my lowest point just seemed to magnify my reluctance.
When I was navigating one of the most difficult seasons of my life, I wanted to fix everything on my own. I believed that since these were all my problems then naturally, I should be the one to find solutions for them.
So, regardless of how exhausted and drained I was feeling, I still pretended that I was perfectly okay even to the people closest to me. To be honest, one of the reasons why I find it so hard to ask for help is because I have always been afraid of burdening other people with what I was going through.
I know that they are also facing their own battles, and I didn’t want to burden them with mine. If you feel the same way too, please know this, one of the greatest lessons that I learned while I was navigating rock bottom is that, regardless of what you think, you will never be a burden to the people who truly love and care about you.
Not only will they be willing to help and listen to you but they also appreciate the trust that you have placed in them by opening up. I know that when we are going through challenges, most of us have this tendency to want to battle everything on our own.
But please know that there’s certainly nothing wrong with asking for help, especially when we are going through difficult times. Asking for help doesn’t mean that we are weak. It is not a direct testament to our capabilities.
I honestly believe that learning to ask for and accept help when needed takes great strength and courage. Life can be difficult and sometimes, everything may become too overwhelming for us to bear alone, in moments like these, please don’t hesitate to reach out to someone that you trust.
Know that it’s okay to not be okay, and it’s more than okay to let others lend you their strength when yours is faltering.
7. Acknowledge Your Emotions
Learning how to stay strong when times are hard is not only about taking the necessary steps needed to overcome the situation but also about recognizing and validating your emotions.
I have always had a hard time being vulnerable. When I was going through one of the lowest points of my life, regardless of how broken, defeated, and exhausted I felt, I refused to face what I was feeling head-on. Instead, I bottled all of them up.
At that time, I actually believed that this was the best thing to do. I thought that if I wanted to turn my life around and find solutions to my problems, I needed to put everything that I was feeling aside and just focus on everything that I had to do to fix my problems.
I thought that if I just continued to run away from everything that I was feeling, eventually, they would all just go away. But that is certainly not the case because the reality is that bottling up all our emotions does not make them disappear for good, what it only does is temporarily delay the inevitable confrontation with those feelings.
In my case, I didn’t realize that by suppressing what I was feeling, not only was I keeping myself from truly healing and moving forward but over time, the emotional baggage became too heavy to bear. My suppressed emotions started to manifest in my behavior.
I became bitter, angry, and easily irritated. It became more difficult for me to focus and to be more productive. This made me realize that finding the strength and resilience that we need to push through difficult times doesn’t come from avoidance but from the capacity to face and work through difficult feelings.
Please know that allowing ourselves to be vulnerable doesn’t make us weak nor does it make us a failure. Being honest about what we were feeling didn’t make my situation worse. Instead, it actually brought the clarity and relief that was badly needed.
We have to remind ourselves that vulnerability is a sign of great strength and courage. I’ve learned that true healing will only come if we finally allow ourselves to face everything that we are feeling head-on and embrace it with sincerity and compassion.
Please know that it’s okay to feel your feelings, to talk about your struggles, and to admit to others and even to ourselves that we are not okay. These are not signs of defeat but rather they are steps towards healing.
Here’s a post that’ll help you address your emotions from Psych Central.
8. Remember Past Challenges You’ve Overcome
It’s not always easy to keep believing in ourselves, especially when we are smacked with one disappointment after another. It’s not always easy to stay hopeful when it feels like the whole world is just going against you and when everything feels overwhelming.
This is certainly what I felt and this is what made me realize how crucial it is to remember everything that we have overcome when we are facing new challenges. Reflecting on our past challenges and acknowledging our strength and resilience in overcoming can be a powerful source of motivation.
Remember all the times when you thought you wouldn’t be able to make it through or surpass an adversity and yet here you are. You have proven yourself capable and resilient, time and time again. Please know that regardless of how exhausted and defeated you may feel right now, you have what it takes to turn your life around.
You have this invaluable strength within you that’ll help you push through whatever challenges that comes your way. Please know that you are so much stronger than you give yourself credit for. You are more resilient than you think.
Every time you start doubting yourself and your abilities, remember all those past challenges that you have overcome. You have not only survived but you’ve even thrived in circumstances you’ve once thought were insurmountable.
Let those memories fuel your strength and motivation to keep going even on those darkest days.
9. Set Healthy Boundaries
How many times have you overextended yourself? How many times have you said yes when every fiber of your being wanted to say no? I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times I’ve done this.
I’ve always had a hard time saying no, especially to the people that I love. Growing up, I was made to believe that my worth was tied to the acceptance and validation of other people. It was either I would compete for their approval or risk being disregarded.
This belief followed me as I got older, and I found myself overcommitting and stretching myself too thin in the desperate hope of being enough for everyone. When I was struggling in life, this belief just made everything more overwhelming and it just made me feel even more lost.
This made me realize how crucial it is to establish healthy boundaries in managing life’s challenges and stresses. If you’re also guilty of constantly over-extending yourself to everyone just to gain their validation or just to feel enough, please know that your worth and value are not based on other people’s opinions of you.
Regardless of what others might say, you are enough and worthy just as you are now. Recognize that when you’re facing struggles, what you’re already going through is overwhelming and difficult, continually stretching yourself too thin just to please other people will only add unnecessary stress and burden to yourself.
Please know that it’s okay to say no to the things that drain your energy. You don’t have to feel guilty. We have to keep reminding ourselves that setting healthy boundaries is not about being selfish, rude, or unkind. It’s not about shutting other people out entirely.
It is about recognizing your limits and communicating them respectfully. It is about understanding that you deserve to take care of yourself too, especially when you are navigating difficult seasons.
10. Take Things One Day At A Time
When we are trying to overcome difficult times and we are trying to turn our life around, most of us have a tendency to want to do it as quickly as we can. I certainly did.
When I was trying to dig myself out of rock bottom, I wanted to fix everything immediately. I wanted to have all the answers and find all the solutions. I set all these grand plans and deadlines for myself that were so unrealistic, believing that if I just pushed myself hard enough, then I would be able to improve my life right away.
But when I couldn’t meet all those unrealistic goals, it only made me feel like a total failure. It made me feel so defeated and hopeless to the point that it drained any motivation and strength that I had to keep trying.
I’ve learned how crucial it is to take things one day at a time, especially when we are going through difficult times. There is nothing wrong with taking small and manageable steps. Doing this doesn’t mean that we are not aiming high or that we are not serious about making changes.
It actually means that we want to make progress without overwhelming ourselves to the point that it paralyzes us or makes our situation even more difficult. Please don’t hesitate to take life day by day. It’s okay to not have all the answers. You don’t have to fix everything all at once.
It’s okay to give yourself the time you need to heal and figure things out. Take each day as it comes, don’t hesitate to take small steps, and remember that every step, no matter how small, is still progress.
Please know that learning how to stay strong when times are hard is not going to be straightforward. Some days will be better than others, and that’s completely normal. On days like these, please don’t beat yourself up.
Give yourself grace and remember that strength doesn’t come from never struggling, it comes from facing challenges and growing with them. Know that resilience is not built overnight, it is built one day at a time, so please remember to be patient with yourself.
Keep putting one foot in front of the other and know that you have within you the strength and courage that you need to surpass whatever challenges life throws your way. I know that right now you may feel so defeated, but please remember that this moment of difficulty is just a moment.
It’s not the entirety of your life’s story. Stay strong, keep the faith, believe in your ability to overcome, and know that I’m always always rooting for you!