7 Resilient Ways To Pick Yourself Up After Life Knocks You Down Hard

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Woman coming back into a routine post difficult time

Going through a hard time and feeling like a failure is never fun.

Whether you're going through a breakup, lost your job, or you've lost someone dear to you, and you’re still grieving, I hope to make things a little easier for you.

Remember, this too shall pass!

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Here are 7 resilient ways to pick yourself up after life knocks you down hard:

1. Develop a routine.

When it feels like your life is falling apart, a routine provides a structure that helps stave off total despair. Whether it's a regular morning workout or eating meals at certain times, take care of your life at the same time, the same way every day for a while. This way, even though you might not want to get out of bed, you have a structure to lean on.

You don’t have to get fancy and turn this into a goal-setting exercise (although you can). Just focus on the basics: eating, sleeping, exercising, and working. When you’re feeling better, you can incorporate more. For now, give yourself a break and rely on predictable consistency.

2. Focus on things you feel proud of.

Look for the silver lining (even in a difficult situation) and celebrate it ... even if the silver lining seems incredibly thin right now and you’re scared to death. Pick something to think about that you’re proud of.

Be proud of the fact you're holding yourself together. Feel proud of your strength. Be proud that you chose to change out of your pajamas today. You can even feel proud of the simple fact you’re awake. Just pick one thing and focus on it.

When negative things come up, return to the positive thoughts you've already picked out. There is always a positive, even in sad times.

3. Don’t worry about the future or the past, stay in the present moment.

Sometimes, it’s an effort to make it through the next five minutes. If you think about “what you’re going to do for the rest of your life in light of this crisis,” that thought process is guaranteed to keep the hurt and self-pity at a fevered pitch.

Stay in the present as much as you can. And now, dwelling on the past is just as bad as worrying about the future. You’ll tie yourself in knots thinking about what could have, should have, or would have been. Letting yourself dwell on the “shoulds” is an exercise in futility and another way to make yourself feel bad. Those realities are not at this moment. Only this moment is. Choose it.

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4. Set a daily time limit for feeling sorry for yourself.

Holding it together is tough, especially when you constantly feel on the verge of tears and must make it through work or not fall apart in front of your kids.

If you feel terrible and know you’re about to lose it, that's OK. Give yourself full permission to fall apart, wallow, cry — whatever you need to do — give yourself five to ten minutes to let yourself completely feel those emotions. Go to the restroom or shut your office and bawl your eyes out. Seriously. Get it all out. Don’t shame yourself over it.

However, once the five to ten minutes is up, move on and think about (or do) something else, even if you have to force it for a while. (Doing this will get easier.)

Saying you’ll never feel bad about this particular issue isn't realistic. The more that you attempt to pretend you're fine, the more repression will rear its ugly head in the long run. So, let it out, but don't dwell on it.

5. Lean on your family and friends

Let your family and friends support you in their imperfect ways. Allow them to provide emotional support while you’re going through this tough time. You might not want to talk about it. So don’t. If you let your friends and family know what you need, they're usually happy to help.

Remember, they might not know the right thing to do or say, so try to be as clear as possible. Usually, their silence isn’t because they don’t want to talk to you. They're just not sure of the right thing to say, or they're going through something of their own. Don’t compound your loss by driving people away or judging their reactions to you.

If you feel worse after speaking with any particular person, pause until things clear up. It’s easy to get emotional and cut people out right now, but grief makes people act awkwardly. I’d advise you to reach out to someone else. Later, you might see it differently.

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6. Try your best to take care of daily business.

You might not want to pay the bills, move out of the house, have a difficult conversation, or whatever. But those things still need to be handled. Just take them in small steps. You don’t have to do everything right now, but do something to make things better. (I promise, this will get easier, too.)

7. Try new things.

You're probably locked in survival mode right now and don't actively want to do anything (or have the cash on hand). It doesn’t matter. Do something new anyway.

If you’re at a loss for what to do, think about how you liked to spend your time when you were younger. Try a new hobby, meet new people, experiment with a new activity, do volunteer work, etc. Add novel things to your routine. You'll be amazed how much these infusions of novelty and energy help you feel better.

We all go through hard times in life.

If you’re going through a hard time right now, I understand. This challenging time will pass, so keep your head up!

Better days are right around the corner.

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Elizabeth Stone is a love coach and founder of Attract The One and Luxe Self. Her work has been featured in Zoosk, PopSugar, The Good Men Project, Bustle, Ravishly, SheKnows, Mind’s Journal, and more.