Lifestyle self-growth

How to Stay Resilient During a Setback & Tough Times

Stay Resilient

… or in other words, let’s talk about staying sane when the shit hits the fan.

Sometimes you might find yourself feeling like your life is spinning out of your control.

It can be so hard to pick yourself up when experiencing a major setback. Even though most days I continue to feel inspired, there are also days when I feel almost as if I’m still trying to pick up the pieces.

It’s about a lot more than just feeling stuck. It’s about wanting to do things, to get things done, to move forward, but not being able to do so physically or emotionally. Sometimes both.

Experiencing a major setback is not only frustrating. There are days when you feel like you’ve actually lost a piece of the person you used to be, like you just can’t catch a break. One thing seems to go wrong after another.

Usually, when it comes to these things, you have two options; you can give in and give up, or you can push through, learn to be more resilient, and pick yourself up as many times as it takes.



Tough times- that’s when your emotions tend to take the best of you. Mastering your emotions is about being mindful, it’s about being self-aware and realizing that certain emotions are often misplaced. You might act out with anger, but what you’re really feeling are emotions like fear or uncertainty. You might lash out at someone you love when in reality you feel frustrated with yourself.

The moment you learn to properly label and recognize those misplaced emotions, you gain clarity- you become more aware. You begin to master your emotions.

To do this, you have to dig deep, you have to ask yourself: “what is it really that I’m feeling?”

How do I do this?

One of the easiest ways to master and identify your emotions is by journaling or “brain dumping.” Don’t worry about traditional writing standards when doing this. Even if you don’t think you like to write or doubt that it will help you, give it a try. Write, or “dump” it all out; every single thing that is on your mind at the present moment. Journaling is a great tool that can help you have an open communication with yourself.


When things don’t go according to plan, it’s easy to start feeling anxious about the future- this is why it’s so important to focus on the present moment.

Easier said than done.

Yup, I know.

For many of us, worrying is just in our nature. We think and obsess about all the things that could go wrong and we live in this mind-made prison, whenever facing an obstacle or a major setback. Worrying about tomorrow steals away the joy of today, so forget the things that are out of your control, right this very moment. Focus on things you can control.

How do I do this?

The simplest approach to practicing being present is asking yourself: “how/what am I doing right now, right this moment?” To read more about being present check out this post.

Stay Resilient


At times, when things get really hectic and I start feeling like I’m starting to lose control over everything, I take a mental health day. I turn off my phone, I put my laptop away and try not to worry about anything else, other than looking after myself. I meditate, go for a walk, prepare myself a nice meal, read a book.

It’s not about feeling sorry for yourself. Sometimes all you need is just a little break in order to see things from a different perspective. It’s like telling yourself “I’m not doing so great right now, and that is totally okay.” 

How do I do this?

If you can’t find time for yourself- schedule it in. When you feel like you can’t hold on any longer, take a few steps back- remember that resting doesn’t equal failure.

You’re not giving up, you’re just slowing down for a bit.

If you have to lock yourself in your laundry room with a cup of tea and a book to escape the noise for a few minutes, so be it. You need to remember that it’s okay to not be okay.


This is both one of the most important, yet difficult things to do when you experience a setback. It’s important because it’s one of the few things you can control when something unexpected happens to you, yet it’s difficult because your focus is on other things.

For me, keeping up with my routine was difficult. When my grief was still “fresh” I threw myself into work and tried to stay as busy as possible. When six months later I had my accident, there were days when I could barely walk, I couldn’t sleep for months. I wanted to continue to work, to stay active, but my body refused to cooperate.

I didn’t do any of the things that help me stay sane, happy and motivated- things like meditation, exercise, journaling. This is why keeping up with your regular routine as much as possible is very important during those tough times. Make sure that you’re not spending most of your time on the couch feeling sorry for yourself. Make sure that your sink is clean, your laundry is done- these are all things that will make you feel much better while you’re trying to work through your problems. Sure, some parts of your life might be a little messy and uncertain at the moment, but remember that there still are some things you can control- your daily routine being one of them.

How do I do this?

Keep at least the simple parts of your routine going. Make your bed in the morning; don’t let the dishes pile up in the sink. If you can’t bring yourself to go to the gym, go for a little walk. Adjust your routine if you have to, but keep it going.


Rather than sitting and worrying about what’s going to happen next, sit down with a piece of paper and a pen and make a plan. Whatever it is you might be going through; whether it be related to your finances, your job, school, your family, your health-  you need to create a plan on how to tackle your problem.

How do I do this?

The key is this: taking small steps. Make a plan that will help you not just get through today, but one that will help you get a handle on the situation in the long run.

What is one thing that you can do right now, that will help you get through the day? Keep in mind that you cannot solve your problems with the same mindset that created them (whether done intentionally or not). You have to do things differently; keep growing and remember that life isn’t what happens to you, but how you respond to the things that happen to you.

There is one more thing that is important to remember when it comes to being resilient: you have to think of the big picture. Will you let the things you’re going through right now stop you from getting where you want to be?

“As long as you keep fighting, consider yourself a winner.” These words got me through some pretty dark times in the past and it’s those words that always remind me that it doesn’t matter how many times you fall- as long as you pick yourself up. As many times as it takes.