Tips for Tackling Life Challenges

women sitting on a sand dessert

The theme last week in the JMB Living Journal was The Gift of Challenges. Part of the experience of being human is working our way through the challenges that we either consciously decide to take on or that are thrown in our path along the way. Sometimes we fall flat on our faces or seemingly fail miserably in the process. Yet what is more important is how we pick ourselves back up to continue to rise to the challenge and tackle it head-on.  

I’m in a “picking myself back up phase” here at the moment – realizing that I totally missed finishing writing this and posting it to the blog last week. I’ve had a few family-focused weeks this month, and I’ll be honest that balancing this special time with loved ones while running a business has been really tough. When you are in the midst of a big challenge, sometimes things slide through the cracks – like this blog post being late. And me realizing this morning that my email newsletter last week (with high-level tips on tackling challenges) linked back to my last blog post about journaling instead of this one that never got posted…

If I hadn’t been using most of the tips I discuss below for the last few weeks, it’s highly likely that:

 a.) My body would have started throwing out signals that I was on “overload” and I may have ended up getting sick,

b.) I likely would have ended up in tears this morning when I realized I dropped the ball on the blog post last week (instead of giving myself the grace of being able to fall short of my expectations from time to time),

c.) I would have neglected or screwed up a good bit more than I did, and

d.) I may have come to the conclusion that I simply couldn’t handle everything I am trying to do and decided to call it quits on one or more things (even though that is not what I would want deep down).

 I know these would have been the likely end results, as I’ve experienced all of them before – multiple times in my life, before finding the tools to help me cope with challenging periods. So I offer the tips below in hopes that you may find one or more of them helpful now or to tuck away for a time when you need a little extra support and coping techniques yourself.

Overcoming challenges takes a lot of willpower and stamina, and while we are going through them they feel the farthest thing from a gift. Yet often after we have persevered, we can look back later recognizing the gifts of growth, new situations, and new perspectives that can later help us for the next big challenge that comes our way.

Tips for Tackling Life Challenges

Survival Tips while

Tackling Life Challenges

  1. Consider how the challenge is impacting you.

  • How is it impacting your physical health? Is there one small thing you could do that could help lessen the physical toll this situation is taking on your body.

    • Could you start and end your day with just 5 minutes of meditation or even simply just a period of quiet rest for yourself to simply stop, breathe and relax?

    • Are you getting sufficient rest? It is scientifically proven that sleep is so important. Make sure you are doing your very best to get enough of it. This alone will go a long way to helping you tackle your current challenge.

    • Are you finding time to move daily? You may not be able to get the quantity and quality of exercise you would like, but even 5-10 minutes can help immensely compared to nothing at all.

    • Are you nourishing your body? Good nutrition is also so important to provide your body what it needs to continue to perform for you when you are under stress. Try at a minimum to make sure that you at least have fruits and vegetables that you like easily accessible to you and keep the junk food out of easy reach.

  • Find a little time to sit quietly and consider the emotions that this challenge brings.

    • Allow yourself to be really curious about each emotion.

    • Can you describe each emotion to yourself?

    • Where do you feel it in your body?

    • Can you allow yourself to sit with these feelings from an attitude of curiosity?

    By allowing yourself to feel all the emotions, both positive and negative, you can let your whole being adjust and integrate to the challenge. This often can help you move through any pain and anxiety that may accompany the issue.

 2. Get grounded.

It is difficult to plan steps for overcoming a challenge if your mind is going a hundred different directions at once or is laser-focused on aspects of a problem that bring you pain. Yet planning a path forward can not only be helpful in possibly moving through the challenge, but it can also reduce stress. Get grounded before attempting to devise a plan.

  • Try this: Take a walk and intentionally focus on one thing you see in nature. Pause and thoroughly describe this one thing aloud or softly to yourself. Walk a little further until you notice something else you’d like to describe and do so. Keep describing different things in your surroundings until you feel calm, possibly have an increased sense of stability. By doing this you may even already begin to have possible insights into your challenge.

  • Or try this: Begin writing in your journal about your challenge without trying to structure your thoughts. Just write everything down that comes into your head.

  • Or write in your journal about what life looks like after the challenge has been met – this process may give you some ideas about how to tackle the issues.

3. Shift your perspective.

  • Try this: Take a walk and with each step state something that would be worse than this challenge. (This is also nice to do on a set of stairs.) Keep going until you sense a shift in how you feel. At this point take a few moments to feel gratitude for things you have or are happening in your life currently.

 4. Get curious about the challenge & write down a plan.

  • Can you break it up into different aspects or different phases so that you can tackle smaller pieces of the problem rather than trying to solve it all at once?

  • Consider if you know anyone or can research anyone that has already tackled this problem. Can they provide possible solutions that may also work for you.

  • Consider if you have already worked through a similar problem. How did you do it? Are there any insights that could apply to this challenge as well?

  • Recognize that this is your best effort at a plan for today. Your plan may change in the future, but having a direction to move toward today will help give you focus and reduce stress.

 5. Allow yourself to get help and/or accept support.

  • As we wrap up mental health awareness month, it is important to realize that there are times when issues are so intense or difficult that reaching out for help is the best and smartest thing we can do.

  • At times asking a friend or family member for help may make the most sense. Perhaps there are things that they can assist with to help alleviate the current stress or sometimes even just having someone that you can talk to can help you sort through your feelings and find solutions.

  • At other times a qualified mental health professional may be a better choice.

Whatever you are going through right now, choose to have the mindset, “I can do this!” You are so much stronger and resilient than you may feel in the midst of what you are currently tackling. Yet know with perseverance, you can get through this too, emerging even stronger and wiser on the other side. Yes, my friend, you CAN do this!!!

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