Lifestyle self-growth

How to Stay Resilient During a Setback & Tough Times

… 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. 


  • Reply
    Debbie Santiago-Keough
    April 13, 2018 at 10:20 am

    I needed this so much today. I am sitting here highlighting crucial points and journaling after reading this blog. My fave part is: “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?” Sometimes, desperation makes you think of the now and how you can quickly fix something but you don’t follow that decision all the way to the end. You forget about your promises to yourself and do things against your own beliefs and values because of anxiety or despondence. It is so good to just slow down and really think before engaging. There are so many things we think we will never get through and we do. Then we think those feelings will never happen again and they do and we get up again and again, true resilience. Never forget who you are at the core.

    • Reply
      Paula @
      April 18, 2018 at 11:20 pm

      Aww I hope you’re doing better, Debbie! There definitely isn’t a quick fix, as much as we all wish there was. The process of picking yourself up can be painful, but you are so right in saying that there are many things we go through, not knowing how we were able to get through them, until we actually do. I love what you said about remaining true to yourself and never forgetting who you are! Sending my love!

  • Reply
    Emma Sims
    April 13, 2018 at 11:15 am

    Thank you so mcuh I really needed these words today.

  • Reply
    April 13, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    I go through set backs every once in a while, and I’m so down that I don’t even know how to deal with myself. I know the steps on what to do, but at that time, it can be so hard to get into the mindset to make changes to stay strong. The last few months, I’ve been seriously been working on that. It’s extremely though, especially when you deal with certain things, but I am no longer a victim to my emotions, I am strong and resilient. Great post Paula xxx

    Melina |

    • Reply
      Paula @
      April 18, 2018 at 11:12 pm

      It definitely is tough sometimes, having to keep pushing yourself when all you want to do is just give up. On those days I always remind myself of the end goal, and how many other times I’ve been through things and thought to myself “there’s no way I’ll make it through it.” and yet I did. We tend to underestimate how strong we really are! x

  • Reply
    Jen Lawrence
    April 13, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    I so love your attitude. These are great tips for when the hard seasons arrive. And yes, as long as you keep fighting, you are so winning.

  • Reply
    Kelly Anne
    April 13, 2018 at 9:36 pm

    Keeping my routine is definitely important to me. It helps me cope through the chaos 100 times better! Thanks so much for this post!

    Kelly Anne xx

  • Reply
    Anika May
    April 14, 2018 at 7:33 am

    Loving the idea of staying present, definitely something I need to work on! Thanks for sharing these tips!

    Anika |

  • Reply
    Danielle Alexa
    April 14, 2018 at 11:31 am

    I love to take a break and just put everything into perspective for a moment and them I am good to go again!

    Danielle xx

  • Reply
    Julia Speaks
    April 14, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    I’ve had a really challenging week, and this post is exactly what I was looking for. Brain dumping and writing down what’s wrong is a great idea, which I’ve never thought about but I will try it out next time I feel the need to let go of negative emotions and thoughts. I definitely agree with keeping your routine and giving yourself a break – we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves and allow ourselves to feel upset sometimes, so long as we remember it won’t last forever!

    Julia x
    Last Post: Why You Should Do Things NOW |

    • Reply
      Paula @
      April 18, 2018 at 11:22 pm

      Hope this week was a lot better for you, Julia! Brain dumping helps out a lot, even if it does feel a bit uncomfortable at first. You really get to “see” the things you’re feeling and you’re able to name your emotions for what they truly are. Thank you for reading! x

  • Reply
    Gallantly, gal
    April 15, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    Thank you. I needed this a lot, you have no idea. I’ve been majorly depressed for a long time, and it’s been even worse lately, so your words have a healing effect.
    I appreciated this post<3

    • Reply
      Paula @
      April 18, 2018 at 11:13 pm

      Sorry to hear you’re struggling with depression, my Love. You’re definitely not alone. Never forget how strong you are!

      • Reply
        Gallantly, gal
        April 30, 2018 at 12:38 pm

        Thank you<3
        I think at least the better weather is helping but I know it's a tug-of-war sort of back-and-forth battle

  • Reply
    Natalie Redman
    April 16, 2018 at 9:13 am

    Taking a break and brain dumping are the best!

  • Reply
    April 17, 2018 at 10:28 am

    ” as long as you keep fighting consider yourself a winner” one of the best quotes I’ve read. I just come by to wish you an easy recovery, I saw that you got your surgery done :) you must’ve had a though year but I hope for you that things will slowly get better. Nothing is worse than not feeling at your best with your health. Feel better, in fact feel great and enjoy your recovery time, dziewczynka :)


    • Reply
      Paula @
      April 18, 2018 at 11:15 pm

      Oh it’s been so tough, thank you so much, Miha! Thank you for always putting a smile on my face, piekna dziewczyna!! ;) <3

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