How to Stay Positive Following a Setback

It’s fair to say that 2019 brought about some fairly challenging events, situations that could easily have knocked my confidence and left me in an unhappy place.

However, I’ve adopted a few things that have massively helped me to stay positive, grateful and hopeful for the future.

Losing a grandparent is always going to be tough, but follow that shortly by being made redundant and you’ve got the less-than-ideal circumstances I’ve found myself in over the last few weeks and months.

Instead of sinking into a negative space, I decided these challenges were an opportunity to recharge, connect with my family and find out more about myself.

If you’re dealing with a troubling time, whatever your potential struggles may be, here’s a few things that I’ve tried to do that have helped me to stay positive and keep moving forward. Hopefully they may help you too.

Give yourself time

Don’t put pressure on yourself to be happy or feel back to your ‘normal’ self.

Recognise that emotions such as sadness and disappointment, although not entirely fun, are natural and just part of being human. You’re allowed to feel sad, if that’s how you feel.

Give yourself the space to work through these feelings rather than trying to push them away or drown them out. Creating an internal struggle to squash how you’re really feeling will just drag out any potential suffering.

Surround yourself with people who are good for you

It can be easy, when you’re in a dark place, to push people away or want to spend lots of time alone. Although time to yourself is important, it’s equally vital that you find a way to connect with others during this time.

It can feel like you’re the only one dealing with a difficulties but spending time with friends and family can remind you that there’s a support network around you and that there’s still plenty of good in your life.

Set small, achievable tasks

Being productive and completing tasks, however big or small, always makes me feel better about myself and how I’ve spent my day.

Set yourself just a few manageable tasks each day to help keep you motivated and on track with things you want to achieve.

However, don’t overload yourself with a to-do list! The point of this it to feel a positive sense of accomplishment, not to distract yourself with endless chores.

Get outdoors

Whether it’s a short jog around the block, a walk by the beach or a wander through a park, getting outdoors is always a great idea and an easy way to feel energised.

Instead of getting stuck in your head about what’s happened or will happen, spend some time outside to clear your mind and focus on small things to be grateful for each day such as the trees, the tweeting birds or the rolling waves.

Remembering we’re all part of something much bigger than just ourselves is a simple way to get perspective on your challenges.

Plan for the future

Just like setting small tasks, thinking about what you’d like to do in the future can help start the feeling of moving forward, rather than getting stuck in your current situation.

For me, this usually involves planning where I’d like to visit next. Although you may not logistically be able to organise your goal just yet, it gives you something to keep working towards.

Try activities that quiet your mind

If you find yourself constantly fretting or ruminating on your troubles, try and find some healthy activities that settle your mind and help you to relax.

Having something you can turn to when you’re feeling down, that you know will help to boost your mood or even just give you a feeling of relief, is really useful.

Some of my favourites (and ones you might like to try!) include reading a book, working out, meditating, doing yoga, listening to a podcast, cuddling with the cat, going to a coffee shop and taking a walk with friends.

Learn from your challenges

Generally speaking, we can all learn something from every experience we have.

Not every route to learning a lesson will be an easy one, but a key way to stay positive during and after a challenge is to think about what you can learn from it.

I’ve learned, since losing my bampy, just how important my family are to me and have started to spend much more time with them and really appreciate them.

Being made redundant made me reevaluate what I need in my life to feel content – and it even surprised me a little.

It’s a process

By taking this approach to a difficult situation, you can learn to sit with any challenging feelings, discover how to beat work through them and then learn how this can help and guide you in the future.

What would your advice be for someone who’s trying to stay positive during a trying time?

Share your thoughts in the comments!

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